"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Just the fact that NuSI has been created and funded with a superstar cast of advisors and board members is a real victory for the camp of relentless scientific inquiry over dogmatic belief. But overall, it is a tribute to people like Gary Taubes, a real soldier and pioneer in the idea that what we believe to be true about nutrition, health and obesity may be fundamentally flawed. To come out against the entire global medical community as a journalist takes some serious guts and overwhelming confidence that above all else, the scientific method will prevail.
Gary's ultra controversial New York Times article published 12 years ago summarized the problem nicely.
"After 20 years steeped in a low-fat paradigm, I find it hard to see the nutritional world any other way. I have learned that low-fat diets fail in clinical trials and in real life, and they certainly have failed in my life. I have read the papers suggesting that 20 years of low-fat recommendations have not managed to lower the incidence of heart disease in this country, and may have led instead to the steep increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes...I have even lost considerable weight with relative ease by giving up carbohydrates on my test diet, and yet I can look down at my eggs and sausage and still imagine the imminent onset of heart disease and obesity, the latter assuredly to be caused by some bizarre rebound phenomena the likes of which science has not yet begun to describe. The fact that Atkins himself has had heart trouble recently does not ease my anxiety, despite his assurance that it is not diet-related. This is the state of mind I imagine that mainstream nutritionists, researchers and physicians must inevitably take to the fat-versus-carbohydrate controversy. They may come around, but the evidence will have to be exceptionally compelling."
Among their other ongoing research is an effort to develop methods for collecting high quality data from free living people around the world. I had the chance to visit NuSI offices in San Diego to discuss how we are collecting data at AWLR, and how we could potentially collaborate. It was an honor to meet and brainstorm with Dr. Peter Attia about bringing dietary research into the 21st century, and how I've tried to do that either through PhotoCalorie or AWLR.
Should be interesting.