The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) medical research organization dedicated to reducing the individual, economic, and social costs of obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic diseases by improving the quality of nutrition research.
The leadership and supporters of NuSI believe that people may suffer from poor health, diabetes and obesity, 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 may simply be incorrect. This is something we can change.
For the past fifty years, the seemingly simple question of what constitutes a healthy diet has been mired in endless controversy. While Americans have been told throughout that time how to eat “healthy,” the country has experienced epidemic increases in obesity and diabetes, driving a wave of obesity-related chronic diseases that may overwhelm our health care system. We believe this increased prevalence of obesity and related diseases is driven by several factors, but none more important than the change in our diets.
A primary driver of this change may have been incorrect dietary advice from disease advocacy groups, doctors, government institutions, and other health care providers. We do not suggest that Americans were deliberately misinformed; rather that these recommendations were not based on rigorous science and, as a result, may be misguided. We are looking forward for solutions, not looking back to assign blame.
NuSI believes that we have an obligation to definitively answer the question of what we should eat to live healthy lives, free from obesity and diabetes and the metabolic diseases — including heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and cancer — that associate with them. In doing so, NuSI has raised funds and assembled teams of scientists to facilitate top-quality research. NuSI is not invested in particular outcomes. We are invested in facilitating scientifically sound research that can provide reliable answers and solutions.
NuSI’s Approach and Strategy
At NuSI, we believe that the first step in finally reversing the obesity epidemic is to do rigorous science that tests the conventional hypotheses, challenges the conventional thinking, and establishes unequivocally the dietary and environmental triggers of the epidemic. To do so, this science should be directed to answer fundamental questions about the cause of obesity and the role of diet. For example:
- For weight gain and loss, is it the number of calories or the composition of the foods we eat that is important?
- If diet composition is important, how do the amounts and types of carbohydrates and fats affect weight gain and weight loss?
- Is obesity best understood and treated as a problem of energy balance – consuming more calories than we expend – or a problem rooted in the hormonal and biochemical mechanisms that control body fat storage and fat metabolism?
Our strategy is simple. Working with its Scientific Advisory Board, NuSI identifies specific areas of research that directly address these issues and controversies. We then assemble teams of top-level academic researchers, who along with NuSI, design and oversee the appropriate research trials. Given this process, NuSI does not accept unsolicited applications for funding.
NuSI sees itself as a catalyst and facilitator of research. From a practical point of view, this means we may raise funds for research projects or may build research teams and aid them in developing proposals for funding from third parties. NuSI may also provide assistance as a coordinating center to help ensure that research trials are implemented and conducted according to the highest operational standards.
NuSI accepts funding from foundations and other nonprofit organizations, private citizens, and government agencies. Under special circumstances, NuSI may accept funding from commercial enterprises that agree to refrain from any involvement in the design and operation of NuSI-initiated research, and the analysis and publication of study results. The money raised by NuSI is used only for charitable, educational, and/or scientific purposes.