Gary Taubes Is A Low-Carb Advocate. His Multimillion-Dollar Start-Up, NuSI, Found Low-Carb Diets Don’t Work.


Contrary to Taubes’ claim that eating fat does not make you fat, this study found that eating fat likely makes you fat. It may increase triglycerides, stimulate fat uptake into fat cells, and/or inhibit fat breakdown.

Here is publication of the first study that Gary Taubes’ multimillion dollar* start-up, NuSI, funded. (NuSI stands for Nutrition Science Initiative, born in 2012.)

Energy Expenditure And Body Composition Changes After An Isocaloric Ketogenic Diet In Overweight And Obese Men, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 6 July 2016

Taubes and other low-carb apologists say that low-carb diets result in more weight loss and fat loss than higher-carb, non-ketogenic diets. Here are bits from the abstract.

Background: The carbohydrate–insulin model of obesity posits that habitual consumption of a high-carbohydrate diet sequesters fat within adipose tissue because of hyperinsulinemia and results in adaptive suppression of energy expenditure (EE). Therefore, isocaloric exchange of dietary carbohydrate for fat is predicted to result in increased EE, increased fat oxidation, and loss of body fat. In contrast, a more conventional view that “a calorie is a calorie” predicts that isocaloric variations in dietary carbohydrate and fat will have no physiologically important effects on EE or body fat.

Design: Seventeen overweight or obese men were admitted to metabolic wards, where they consumed a high-carbohydrate baseline diet (BD) for 4 wk followed by 4 wk of an isocaloric KD with clamped protein.

Conclusion: The isocaloric [low-carb] ketogenic diet was not accompanied by increased body fat loss but was associated with relatively small increases in EE that were near the limits of detection with the use of state-of-the-art technology.

From the discussion:

Therefore, our data do not support the carbohydrate–insulin model predictions of physiologically relevant increases in EE or greater body fat loss in response to a [low-carb] isocaloric KD.

This next sentence should get your attention. It says, essentially, the fat you eat is the fat you wear:

We suspect that the increased dietary fat resulted in elevated circulating postprandial triglyceride concentrations throughout the day, which may have stimulated adipose tissue fat uptake (44) and/or inhibited adipocyte lipolysis (45, 46).

Take note that the men (why no women?) lost muscle mass while eating low-carb. Their bodies broke down protein in their muscles for energy. (Protein has a 4-carbon strand that can keep the Krebs cycle rolling, allowing the body to continue making ATP, a chemical form of energy.) This muscle loss doesn’t occur when you’re eating enough carbohydrate.

Remember, this study of 17 men (that did not include a control group) is “more rigorous than all of the nutrition research conducted to date,” and “most of the existing nutrition research amounts to junk science.” That’s right. All the studies I’ve discussed in the last 12 years are junk science. Only Taubes’ studies have any worth:

NuSI has set out to do in less than 10 years what the National Institutes of Health has been unable to do in more than 60 years — determine what we should and should not eat to be healthy,” LJAF President Denis Calabrese explained. “Most of the existing nutrition research amounts to junk science. This NAFLD study and the other NuSI-funded clinical trials will be more rigorous than all of the nutrition research conducted to date. NuSI’s well-designed, high-quality studies will help to produce reliable scientific evidence that is urgently needed in order for us to understand the cause or causes of our nation’s obesity crisis and the steps we can take to improve our health.
Laura And John Arnold Foundation To Fund Groundbreaking Study On A Possible Link Between Sugar And The Nation’s Most Prevalent Obesity-Related Disease, 13 April 2015

Nothing beats NuSI research. Remember that.

P.S. Everything on NuSI’s site and social media accounts went dead about a year ago, August 2015. I wonder what’s up? The president, Peter Attia, left in December 2015. There was no press release. No transparency. There is also no press release about this study. Yet, from the NuSI website:

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 has already raised more than $40 million in pledges and is in the midst of a $190 million, three-year campaign.” “The Laura and John Arnold Foundation gave NuSI a $4.7 million seed grant. An additional $35.5 million grant was announced last year.” – Wired, August 2014

8 thoughts on “Gary Taubes Is A Low-Carb Advocate. His Multimillion-Dollar Start-Up, NuSI, Found Low-Carb Diets Don’t Work.

  1. Evan Allen

    Don’t forget that Atkins, shortly before he died, promised to fund research showing that his diet reversed heart disease just as effectively as Ornish’s did. So far, nothing remotely like that has been shown, and of course Atkins is not around to hear about it.


    1. Bix Post author

      You just reminded me of a post I did on Atkins a few years back. In fact, Atkins had atherosclerosis that progressed during the last 3 years of his life. According to a statement from his wife after he died:

      “Robert did have some progression of his coronary artery disease in the last three years of his life including some new blockage of a secondary artery that was remedied during this admission.”


  2. Bix Post author

    If this study was conducted on 17 women, would men feel comfortable assuming it applied to them as well? To their physiology?

    By the way, the 17 men were comprised of: “10 black or African American, 5 white, 1 Asian, and 1 Hispanic”


  3. Bix Post author

    What does it mean to be, as NuSI’s members claim to be, “dedicated?” I don’t understand. Taubes is a writer by trade. Why didn’t he at least write a simple press release and put it on their site? Was this all a way to make money and garner attention? It worked. But why no follow through? Some of NuSI’s “values”:

    “Pursue answers like our lives and the health of our families depend on it”
    “An uncompromising quest for answers”
    “Embrace unpredictable outcomes”

    Were these just words? Was NuSI a lie from the beginning?


  4. Lloyd

    If the NuSI site and social media accounts went dead a year ago where is the transparency? Where is the dedication? The whole enterprise smells of fraud. Where did the money that was raised go? Is there transparency in their accounting of the pledged money?


  5. Pingback: Which Diet Results In More Body Fat Loss? Low-Carb Or Low-Fat? This (Metabolic Ward) Study Said … | Fanatic Cook

  6. Pingback: New: Energy Expenditure And Fat Loss Are Greater In Low-Fat Diets, Analysis of 32 Controlled Feeding Studies | Fanatic Cook

  7. Pingback: Virginia Messina, MPH, RD Said Low-Fat Diets Have No Advantage. That Is Patently False. | Fanatic Cook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s