Examining the evolution of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), a recent
Wired magazine article by Sam Apple explores how NuSI’s latest research
efforts seek to test long-standing assumptions about the health effects of
sugar and fat. Titled “Why Are We So Fat? The Multimillion-Dollar Scientific
Quest to Find Out,” the article highlights the work of NuSI founders Peter Attia,
a medical researcher, and Gary Taubes, a science journalist who has made a
career out of exposing the allegedly tenuous evidence linking dietary nutrients
to specific disease outcomes.

“Taubes and Attia are firmly in the sugar-bad, saturated-fat-good camp,”
reports Apple, pointing to an alternative hypothesis now popular in some
scientific circles that blames table sugar and refined carbohydrates—as
opposed to fats—for rising obesity rates. “But even they acknowledge they can’t be certain. That’s because, as Taubes eloquently argues, most of the
existing knowledge gathered in the past five decades of research comes from
studies marred by inadequate controls, faulty cause-and-effect reasoning, and
animal studies that are not applicable to humans.”

To overcome these limitations, NuSI has used more than $40 million granted
by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to support major research initiatives
“designed to answer a question you’d think we’d have answered long
ago: Do we get fat because we overeat or because of the types of food we
eat?” In particular, the studies funded by NuSI use human subjects in carefully
controlled environments to assess how the body actually metabolizes
carbohydrates, fats and proteins and measure the impact of dietary changes
on overall health and weight loss. “The NIH [National Institutes of Health] has
a very limited amount of money at a time when science requires increasingly
expensive research to answer much more sophisticated questions,” said New
Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Director David Ludwig, who
is co-principal investigator for one study taking place at Boston’s Children’s
Hospital. “One key study could be the hammer that dislodges the loose brick
in the prevailing paradigm.” Additional details about NuSI appear in Issue 465
of this Update.


Issue 536

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.