If you asked me to name someone I expect to see on some big magazine’s list of the year’s most influential people, I would say Peter Attia.
I first connected with Peter when I began to read his blog, The Eating Academy, formerly known as War on Insulin. Fascinated and impressed with Peter’s high fat diet and unconventional thoughts on nutrition, Mike and I interviewed him for ASweetLife. One of the most inspiring things Peter said, when we asked him if he believed most people could maintain a strict diet like he does, was “I absolutely do.”
But maybe you’re thinking, why would I want to eat like Peter Attia? He eats fat, and fat is bad for me.
That, he says, is what we’ve been led to believe. And so Americans have been working harder than ever to eat well and be healthy, but keep getting heavier. Type 2 diabetes rates are soaring. One possible explanation is that everything we’ve been told to eat is the wrong.
Peter points out, as did Gary Taubes in his books Why We Get Fat and Good Calories Bad Calories, official dietary guidelines are not based on rigorous science. They may be contributing to obesity and diabetes epidemics and and doing far more harm than good.
To address this, Peter and Gary have been working tirelessly to found a non-profit organization called the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI). The mission of NuSI, which launched this week, is to reduce the economic and social burden of obesity and obesity-related disease by improving the quality of science in nutrition and obesity research.
NuSI’s purpose is to facilitate and fund rigorous, well-controlled experiments targeted at resolving unambiguously many of the outstanding nutrition controversies — to answer the question definitively of what constitutes a healthy diet.
“Our conventional dietary wisdom,” Gary says, “is based on science that was simply not adequate to the task of establishing reliable knowledge — poorly-controlled human experiments, observational studies incapable of establishing cause and effect, and animal studies that may or may not say anything meaningful about what happens in humans. NuSI was founded to address this issue and by doing so, we hope, reduce the social and economic burden of obesity and its related diseases.”
You may have your doubts about whether eating fat is good for you. But one thing you shouldn’t doubt is the need for the scientific method to be introduced to the field of nutrition. No one needs to know the scientific truth about how food impacts our bodies more than the people with diabetes.