Could a dramatic change to the national diet have stoked the obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease epidemics? Author Gary Taubes argues that it is possible, at least biochemically, citing the effects that dietary carbohydrate can have on the fat storage hormone, insulin. In Good Calories, Bad Calories, he writes: “insulin… is the one hormone that serves to coordinate and regulate everything having to do with the storage and use of nutrients and thus the maintenance of homeostasis and, in a word, life. It’s all these aspects of homeostatic regulatory systems – in particular, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and kidney and liver functions – that are malfunctioning in the cluster of metabolic abnormalities associated with metabolic syndrome and with the chronic diseases of civilization… It is possible that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and the other associated diseases of civilization have all independent causes, as the conventional wisdom suggests, but that they serve as risk factors for each other, because once we get one of these diseases, we become more susceptible to the others. It is also possible that refined carbohydrates and sugar, in particular, create such profound disturbances in blood sugar and insulin that they lead to disturbances in mechanisms of homeostatic regulation and growth throughout the entire body.”

Dr. Cleave’s and Taubes’ positions are obviously radical, as far as the conventional wisdom is concerned. However, given that modern medicine has struggled greatly to contain the virulent and recent epidemics of diabetes, obesity, ESRD and other Western diseases, perhaps it is time for fresh thinking. To that end, Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia — with the help of the John Arnold Foundation — recently founded a non-profit organization, the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), tasked with funding critical research to identify the root causes (and possible cures) of these diet and lifestyle diseases.

NuSI describes one of its critical missions here “For the past century there have been two competing explanations [about why we get fat and then sick] — one is that we get fat merely because we consume more calories than we expend. The other is that obesity is a hormonal problem, triggered by our dietary choices, which causes us to eat more than we expend.  The end results are the same – namely, the overweight people must necessarily consume more energy than they expend – but the cause is entirely different. Many assume that the first explanation has to be true and that the only meaningful advice to give people to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. There is copious evidence, though, that the latter explanation might be the correct one and that our understanding of the cause, cure and prevention of obesity needs to change significantly. NuSI will support science to address these two hypotheses and do what is necessary to unequivocally establish the truth.”

Learn more about NuSI’s mission at For help with your GranuFlo case, call Davis & Crump at 800-277-0300 for a confidential case evaluation.