The China Study

Author: Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Thomas Campbell II, MD
Publisher: BenBella Books
Book Publication: 2005

The China Study is “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted. Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands on the shoulders of Dr. Colin Campbell who is one of the giants in the field. This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written – reading it may save your life.” (Dr. Dean Ornish, MD)

This book is the complete account of a study that was jointly funded by Cornell University, the University of Oxford, and the government of China. The China Study set out to explore the connection between nutrition, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in 1983. By the time it was completed, the research revealed such a strong connection between animal foods and disease that both study authors had switched over to a vegetarian diet.

The project’s intent was to survey a vast range of diseases afflicting humans by examining diet and lifestyle factors of people from many different countries. More than 8,000 statistically significant associations between food and human disease were discovered. Especially remarkable was the finding that people who ate the most animal-based foods including milk, eggs, cheese and other animal by-products, got the most chronic diseases. Conversely, people who ate the most plant-based whole foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid disease.

Surveys done across the world showed that diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, kidney and liver disease, bone disease, vision impairment, arthritis, auto-immune diseases, cataracts, and more could be turned on in test animals by feeding them animal-based products, and turned off by feeding these same animals a plant-based diet.  The study proved, without a doubt, that humans have evolved into herbivores, not carnivores as Julia Child once said during an interview.

Because these findings were so significant, comparisons were made with similar research done over the previous 50 years which showed that heart disease, diabetes, and obesity could be reversed by a healthy diet. Findings in the study were consistent with other studies, that is, the way to prevent most diseases is with plant-based diet whole foods, and some diseases can even be reversed by a simple change in diet.

In this book, the authors also point out the collusion occurring between government, industry, science, and medicine and the profit motive behind it all. Facts and figures relating to the billions spent in America on firstly promoting a disease-causing diet with products marketed to the public, then more billions spent by the medical establishment in unsuccessful attempts to cure disease through drugs and technology, are presented.

Researchers even found evidence in England’s medical libraries that Plato had warned citizens over 2,000 years ago that if humans ate animal food it was at their peril and would cause widespread inflammation. He condemned meat-eating and forecast what is happening today as it relates to illness. Plato said there would be much need for doctors and much loss of land to raise animals for food. Hippocrates advocated diet as the chief way to prevent and treat disease. Seneca, a Roman scholar, said that people who eat animals are already “anticipating death.” Even the best athletes in ancient Greece knew they had to eat a plant-based diet in order to ensure success at their sport.

I highly recommend reading The China Study as a pathway to better health. I read the book twice and have now turned vegetarian – an easy transition and much cheaper at the check-out counter.

Addendum: Since writing this review, I have been gifted with another book forwarded by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, entitled Forks Over Knives, which contains 125 vegetarian recipes. The knives referred to are surgeon’s knives. A documentary film has also been produced by Brian Wendel and others which was filmed over two years at locations all over the U.S., Canada, and China. This film, Forks Over Knives, opened in the U.S. and Canada in May 2011. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Meantime, eat well and enjoy.

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