Manhattan project to end the obesity epidemic

There is copious evidence that our understanding of the cause, cure, and prevention of obesity needs to change significantly. NuSI is dedicated to unequivocally establishing the truth.

NuSI’s Mission

The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reducing the individual, economic, and social costs of obesity, diabetes, and their related diseases by improving the quality of science in nutrition and obesity research.

Why NuSI

The leadership and supporters of Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) believe that Americans are unhealthy, diabetic, and obese—not because they are making conscious decisions to eat unhealthy foods—but because the information and guidance they receive about what to eat has been poorly tested and is quite likely incorrect. This is what we are testing and something we can change. With a strategic mindset, a strong business plan, and scientific excellence, we will lead the way to change within the next decade.

What everyone seems to agree on is that what the American people are doing when it comes to nutrition and diet isn’t working and we are committed to finding out why and rectifying it. We have pored over the nutrition related research of the last 100 years. We believe the increased prevalence in obesity related diseases during the past 40 years is driven by several factors, but none more important than the change in our diets. We believe a primary driver of this change has been the dietary recommendations given to the American public, disease advocacy groups, doctors, and other health care providers who give dietary advice. We do not suggest that misinformation has been provided deliberately, but believe that these recommendations were not based on rigorous science and, as a result, may be misguided.

We are looking forward for solutions, rather than looking back to assign blame. In doing so, NuSI is raising funds to support and facilitate meticulous, systematic scientific research that can escape the fundamental limitations that have beset nutrition science to date.

How NuSI came to be

Over the course of our lives, we’ve witnessed extraordinary progress in science, technology, and medicine. Yet these advances have been accompanied by disturbing, unprecedented increases in the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans. These conditions, in turn, increase the risk of virtually every major chronic disease, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. The seemingly simple question of what constitutes a healthy diet—what should we eat to live long and active lives?—has been mired in endless controversy. The conventional wisdom certainly doesn’t seem to be helping—perhaps because it is either incorrect or because few can follow it.

In April 2011, after a brief email correspondence, Gary Taubes and Peter Attia, NuSI’s co-founders, met in person for the first time. Sitting in a café in Oakland, California, they talked about their personal and professional obsessions with diet and health, and about this national failure to successfully address the ongoing epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

They agreed that the medical research establishment has not provided definitive, unambiguous answers to these unresolved questions of diet and health. Despite billions of dollars spent on medical research, the experiments necessary had never been done, having been perceived as either too expensive, too difficult, or simply not worth the effort. Their solution was to create an organization that would finally provide the full resources—regardless of cost or technical risk—necessary for independent medical investigators from top research hospitals in the U.S. to do the demanding science that can indeed answer these controversial but critical questions, once and for all. With that specific objective, they founded Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) in 2012.

NuSI is not invested in particular outcomes. We are invested in finding scientifically sound solutions. We are also fully committed to communicating the results of this research to scientists, policy makers, advocacy groups, the media, and the general public. We look forward to the day when NuSI is no longer necessary, when—with the full support of rigorous science—we can choose with informed confidence what we and our families need to eat to be healthy

NuSI’s Strategy

Our strategy is simple. NuSI builds teams of the best scientists in health and human nutrition and provides them with an unparalleled level of funding and the scientific freedom to study the most vexing health and metabolic questions plaguing us today. And all of this is done within an overarching strategy that systematically tackles the most critical questions asked by those struggling with the burden of metabolic illness —are all calories really equal with respect to weight gain? Does saturated fat cause heart disease? Why do some people get obese while seemingly eating so little? What role do the bacteria in our gut play in obesity and related disease? Only when these questions are answered, unambiguously, can we communicate broadly what we need to eat for maximum health.


NuSI is entirely funded by private citizens, foundations, and other nonprofit organizations. The money raised by NuSI is used only for charitable, educational, and/or scientific purposes. NuSI does not pay overhead (indirect costs) on the grants it awards.

Action Plan

NuSI performs medical research by working in collaboration with, and coordinating the work of external medical researchers associated with a university medical school and hospital or hospital system. In our first full year of operation, we funded and launched three landmark human trials with some of the best research hospitals across the country. NuSI collaborated in conducting research in conjunction with the research faculty at hospitals associated with: Stanford University School of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital (Harvard Medical School), Columbia University Medical Center, and the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes—and this is only the beginning. As mentioned above, the secret ingredient to our strategy is to recruit the best scientists in nutrition and obesity research and have them work collectively on the necessary experiments. These are researchers who may not share the same hypotheses for what’s driving the obesity and diabetes epidemics, but do agree on our strategy to resolve them. We invite you to join us, give us your input, be part of our team and help us look forward as we seek to find the answer to the question, “What do we need to eat to be healthy?”

Many people are in need of these answers—our families, friends, neighbors, and community are starved for information they can trust.


NuSI does not provide dietary recommendations at this time. Rather, NuSI works to answer with scientific certainty—and through the best possible research— what we need to eat to be healthy. NuSI is also dedicated to communicating with the public about the findings of its research programs, so we may all know the answer to this question. This information will be disseminated on the NuSI website as it becomes available.

NuSI does not select test subjects for the research programs. As our teams of independent scientists design their studies, they will be using novel recruiting tools to select the best possible candidates in order to find accurate answers. If an opportunity for study participation becomes available, information will be listed on the NuSI website directing you to the centers conducting the research.

Working with its Scientific Advisory Board, NuSI identifies research areas to fulfill its mission and develops appropriate research trials along with selected investigators at hospitals associated with medical schools, universities, and other nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations which have the specific and necessary expertise and hospital facilities to collaborate with NuSI in conducting the research.

NuSI does not accept unsolicited applications for funding.