Obesity is a real problem in this country, and an almost endless list of scientists, nutritionists, politicians and even TV personalities have weighed in on the issue. Their proposed solutions to our swelling waistlines are diverse, some better than others. Who do you trust? Based on their knowledge of science and communication skills, here are the 5 people doing the most to help Americans shed their excess weight and live healthier lives. Please note that these criteria necessarily eliminate people like Jillian Michaels and Oprah.
(1) Gary Taubes - Taubes is a popular science writer and the author of two important books, Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. In 2002, Taubes stirred up controversy in public health circles with a New York Times Magazine article critiquing the efficacy of low-fat diets, and he's hasn't stopped since. Among his most controversial ideas, Taubes argues that saturated fat is healthy and there is more to losing weight than counting calories and exercising. Because of his willingness to expose the public to ideas they otherwise would have missed, Taubes is one of the most important figures in the obesity debate today.
(3) Mark Sisson is a former Ironman competitor, health blogger, and the author of The Primal Blueprint. Sisson is a prominent advocate of Primal Living, which is designed to emulate the dietary and exercise habits of our evolutionary ancestors. He has helped many thousands of people change their lives for the better, and is widely disliked by vegetarians and vegans.
(4) Loren Cordain - Scientists have a reputation for being incapable of communicating with regular people. Loren Cordain is one of the few who doesn't have that problem. Cordain is a professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and authored several books for the general public, including The Paleo Diet.