Learn From the Best: 10 Health/Nutrition Scientists You Should Follow

10-great-scientistsThese days, you don’t have to look far and wide to find information about nutrition, health, and medicine. The internet is filled to the brink with it. If you do a quick Google search you immediately have thousands, if not millions, of articles, e-books, and videos at your fingertips. On the internet, everybody gets a voice. You don’t need to have a degree, certification, or any other form of formal qualification to speak your mind online; all you need is a computer, blog or social media account, and an opinion or idea you’d like to share. There is no system in place that filters the information or checks that articles stand up to scientific scrutiny. This can be both a good and a bad thing.

To an untrained eye, finding high-quality, credible information on health and medicine online is like finding a needle in a haystack

The good thing about giving everybody an opportunity to get their ideas and opinions out to large numbers of people is that new and sometimes brilliant ideas surface and spread quickly. The bad thing is that all information, whether good or bad, gets spread around. The average Joe who’s surfing the internet for information on a topic he doesn’t know much about doesn’t know how to distinguish what’s trustworthy information from what’s not, and he may quickly fall into the trap of thinking that the website or author that has the most followers or the coolest image/brand/message is the one he should listen to. Or, he may just end up getting his information from the first site he stumbles onto.

Nutrition, fitness, and medicine are fields that are particularly susceptible to become infected with bad, scientifically inaccurate information, due to the fact that a lot of people are interested in diet and health and have an opinion about what we should and shouldn’t eat, what constitutes a good exercise program, and so forth. The vast, vast majority of information on health, nutrition, and medicine you’ll find online is of poor quality. It lacks substance and hasn’t got a solid scientific foundation to stand on.

The process of sharing information via the scientific route differs markedly from the process that goes into sharing information via non-scientific outlets, in the sense that the former route is filled with obstacles in the form of publishing rules and peer-review processes. These obstacles help lower the risk that poor, biased science gets published. That said, the scientific process is not perfect – far from it. A lot of papers that probably shouldn’t have gotten through the filters do get through. This is particularly true in health sciences, fitness, and medicine, because evolutionary theories and concepts have not yet been fully incorporated into these fields, and the science therefore isn’t guided by a sound conceptual model.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

I certainly don’t claim that everything I share here on the blog is perfect in its shape and form. My beliefs evolve over time, which means that the opinions and ideas I voice and share also change over time. That said, the foundation upon which I build my theories and work has stayed fairly rigid over time. This structure was built in my own mind, but not solely by me. I had help in building it, particularly from scientists. Not all scientists though. The ones I listen to are the ones I feel are good at what they do and who base their work on a conceptual model that’s built up of evolutionary/biological theories. Over the years, as I’ve journeyed through the scientific literature, I’ve located some researchers that fit these criteria.

In today’s post I thought I’d list some of these scientists, in the hopes that more people get to discover their work. I obviously don’t agree with everything these researchers say and write; however, I do agree with the basic, underlying premise of their ideas and work.

Okay, let’s get to it… (The names are in no particular order).

1. Graham Rook

graham-rook-smallThis guy is a genius. I’ve read many of his papers and thoroughly enjoyed them. I haven’t yet gotten around to reading his book, entitled The Hygiene Hypothesis and Darwinian Medicine, but it’s on my to-do list. His research primarily revolves around the interaction between microbes and humans and the implications of the recent loss of biodiversity from humans’ environment.

I highly recommend that you check out his work!

Can urban greenspace & biodiversity reverse increases in chronic inflammatory disorders?

2. Loren Cordain

loren-cordain-smallIf you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know who Loren Cordain is. In my opinion, no other man has contributed as much to the ancestral health movement as he has. I think the only people who’ll doubt this statement are the ones who haven’t taken the time to read his scientific papers. His ideas lie at the very root of the ancestral health movement as we know it today.

Some people may feel that his ideas are now outdated. I disagree. Obviously, not all of the concepts he presented in his scientific papers 10, 15, 20 years ago have stood the test of time; however, most of them have. In my opinion, Dr. Cordain is one of the great health/nutrition scientists of our time and deserves a lot more credit than he gets.

Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century

3. Alan C. Logan

alan-logan-smallI think the first time I came across Alan Logan’s work was when I was doing research on acne vulgaris 5-10 years ago. In his excellent review paper on acne and the gut-brain-axis, entitled Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future?, I found solid scientific data supporting my hypothesis that gut dysbiosis is at the root of acne vulgaris; a hypothesis that had been circulating in my head for a long time. Since that time, I’ve followed his research, which primarily revolves around the human microbiota, ancestral health, and how exposure to nature shapes human health and well-being.

Fermented Foods with Dr. Alan Logan

4. Leo Pruimboom

leo-pruimboom-smallI don’t know much about this guy other than that he is a co-author on some great scientific papers on evolutionary health promotion, including a review paper entitled Lifestyle and nutritional imbalances associated with Western diseases: causes and consequences of chronic systemic low-grade inflammation in an evolutionary context, which is among my top 3 favorite scientific articles on health/medicine. Many of his regular co-authors have also published papers on ancestral health, which to me implies that he’s part of larger group of European researchers who’ve recognized the power of Darwinian medicine.

5. Staffan Lindeberg

staffan-lindeberg-smallStaffan was one of the leading scientists in the Paleo/ancestral health field and helped spearhead the research on evolutionary nutrition. I consider him to be one of the founding fathers of the ancestral health movement. He possessed many of the traits that characterize a great scientist. Among other things, he was cautious and smart. He gradually built his knowledge base via science and didn’t make grand statements unless they were supported by solid evidence. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you check out his work and read the article I wrote about him here on the blog after he passed away.

Are Western Diseases Normal?

6. James H. O’Keefe

o'keefe-smallI was introduced to James O’Keefe through his research on Paleolithic nutrition and Organic Fitness. Over the years, I’ve read several of his papers and seen some of his lectures. This guy knows his stuff.

I highly recommend that you check out his work, particularly if you’re interested in learning more about the link between aerobic exercise and health.

Run for your life! At a comfortable pace, and not too far

7. Tore Midvedt

tore-midtvedt-smallTore Midvedt is a Norwegian scientist who has done research on the human microbiome for about half a century (!!). He was one of the first scientists in the world to recognize the important role microbes play in human health and disease. He’s written dozens of papers on the microbiome, epigenetics, and other similar topics, and is also responsible for developing and maintaining the anaerobic microbiota culture ACHIM, which was derived from a human donor more than a decade ago and is today used to treat a variety of human diseases.

HOLY SHIT! – can intestinal bugs really cause Parkinson´s?

8. Art Ayers

art-ayers-smallArt Ayers is one of my heroes in the world of health & medicine. I do disagree with him on saturated fat, but other than that, I think he hits the nail on the head pretty much all the time. He possesses unique knowledge about molecular biology, health, and medicine, and has been an irreplaceable source of inspiration for me – and probably many others. He hasn’t got any papers listed in PubMed (that I know of) and he’s never published a book, but he has a great website that is filled with tons of valuable information. I would argue that if you read – and understand – all of his articles, you know more about the underlying causes of modern illness than the vast majority of medical doctors.

9. Patrice D. Cani

patrice-cani-smallPatrice Cani has carried out some groundbreaking research on the human microbiome. I was introduced to his work through his papers on the microbe-produced toxin Lipopolysaccharide (LPS). His research has helped shed light on the role human-associated microbes play in various health disorders, in particular diabetes and obesity.

Most of his research is done in animals, not humans, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

The vicious cycle of gut permeability and inflammation

10. Tommy Jönsson

tommy-jonsson-smallTommy Jönsson is a Swedish scientist who’s part of the research group at Lund University that was spearheaded by Staffan Lindeberg. I was introduced to his work a couple of years ago through his papers on evolutionary nutrition and has followed his research since then. Together with other like-minded scientists he’s conducted several clinical trials on Paleolithic diets and written review papers on a variety of health topics. I’m really looking forward to see what his research group will come out with in the coming years.

Neolithic Diet and Leptin Resistance

Comments

  1. Couldn’t find a single woman to include?

    • 🙂 I knew somebody was going to mention that.

      It’s not on purpose that I didn’t include any women on this list. It’s just that I’ve never come across a female health/nutrition scientist whose work I think is as good as that of the guys I mention in the post. I’m not going to include a woman on the list just to try to balance the scales or seem less misogynistic.

      If you know of any great female scientists who write about similar topics as the guys in this post, then please point me in their direction.

  2. Glad my review is one of your top 3…

    • Hi Begoña,

      Your paper is fantastic!

      I also really like the rest of your work, in particular the Study of Origin and your recent paper investigating the relation of saturated fatty acids with low-grade inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what you and your research team will come out with next.

    • I didn’t know that Begoña is a woman’s name. I see now (from searching online) that it is.

      Some people seemed to be upset that I didn’t include any women on the list.

      Good to know that I now have another female researcher on my radar, in case I decide to make such a list again.

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  1. […] Learn From the Best: 10 Health/Nutrition Scientists You Should Follow […]

  2. […] also seems to be the case for the rest of our medical system. Different doctors, nutritionists, and health/nutrition scientists often have widely different opinions about health and disease: how disease should be treated, what […]

  3. […] also seems to be the case for the rest of our medical system. Different doctors, nutritionists, and health/nutrition scientists often have widely different opinions about health and disease: how disease should be treated, what […]

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