233 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2008
The primary theme of this book is that animal based proteins affect the rate of cancer in any given population. He does also consider other things such as fiber, and has important findings in this area, but overall, the animal protein was the most startling.
In the introduction he explains how he worked in the Philippines when he was on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Their goal was to improve childhood malnutrition by making sure the children were getting as much protein as possible, in particular animal based protein. But, this led to a startling discovery, the children that consumed the most protein were also the most likely to develop liver cancer!
He then found a study from India, saying in essence, the same thing. They had fed two groups of rats a cancer causing agent, but one group was given 20% protein while the other was given only 5%. 100% of the rats fed a diet of 20% protein developed liver cancer, while none of the rats on the 5% diet developed cancer.
My initial thought was "What about vegetarians?" But many of them consume a large amount of animal based proteins in the form of milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs, which are all on his "avoid" list.
This blew away everything he had been taught about nutrition. He eventually goes on to study the subject in the laboratory for 27 years funded by sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
His research showed that they could virtually turn on and off cancer growth by changing the level of protein consumed. This was a shocking discovery to say the least, one that eventually ends him up on a watch list funded by those who profit from the sale of animal protein.
There were other interesting insights, such as peanuts are often contaminated with a fungus produced toxin called aflatoxin (AF). AF is said to be the most potent chemical carcinogen. Carcinogen simply means that the item has been found to cause cancer. He went on to get a grant to study the subject and found that peanut butter would have levels of AF as high as 300% above what was considered safe. Whereas the cocktail peanuts level of AF was within acceptable parameters. The conclusion was, the good peanuts were being sorted out at the factor to go in the jars of nuts, and the worst and moldiest nuts were made into peanut butter.
There is of course political intrigue, because whenever you shake a financial tree like the meat producers, watch out what falls on your head. I felt like he handled this difficult aspect of his career with dignity, and didn't become a "Everybody's out to get me!" person. Instead, he continued on with his important research.
It is a somewhat heavy read but provides many insights into today's illnesses of affluence.
72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2012
Having spent the last 70 odd years as an avid carnivore, I read the China study and have changed to a vegan diet.
The result has been a very significant reduction in my blood pressure, I have been trying to reduce it for several years without success. Another great result for the China Study!
431 of 454 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2006
The central message of this extraordinary book is: consume whole foods in the context of a plant-based diet. If you do you will greatly decrease the likelihood that you will die prematurely from the "diseases of affluence" that ravage our society, including cancer, heart failure and diabetes.
This is a diet that makes eminent sense and is in accord with what we may surmise was the natural diet of our ancestors in the prehistory before the rise of agriculture and animal husbandry. Campbell shows through intensive and wide-ranging studies, in particular through evidence from the "China Study: the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted," that it is a diet that will prevent and even reverse disease.
Campbell is no pie-in-the-sky visionary or nutritional quack with a bogus agenda, nor is he an animal rights activist trying to find justification for his concerns. He is a bonafide mainstream scientist with forty years of experience who is currently Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Furthermore, he grew up on a farm, and prior to his learning about the effect diet can have on human health, he ate a more or less traditional American diet heavy on the meat, milk, fat, refined sugars and starches.
I have been reading books on nutrition and diet for decades. I have seen food fads come and go, and I have seen the rise of the supersize in which McDonald's and other large corporations have seduced us into eating not only foods that are bad for us, but lured us into eating (and drinking) them in large quantities. As a result we have become among the fattest people on the planet with something like two-thirds of the population overweight and one-third obese. (p. 135) Part of this is due to lack of exercise, but a significant part is due to eating too much. But Campbell believes that it isn't just how much we are eating, it is what we are eating. He maintains that eating exclusively from a whole foods, plant-based diet and maintaining an otherwise healthy lifestyle, we can eat as much as we like and not only keep trim but avoid the terrible diseases of affluence that haunt our society.
What is different about Campbell's book is first the enormous about of scientific evidence he presents, and second the idea that eating not just fats and overly processed foods is bad for you, but that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, is correlated with the scourges of diabetes, cancer and heart failure. Animal protein consumption in conjunction with various carcinogens in the environment causes cancer, to put it bluntly, is his message. This surprising finding is supported by Campbell's discovery that the effect of the carcinogen aflatoxin is almost completely negated when a low protein diet is followed. In particular, his research targets casein, protein from cow's milk, as contributing to the formation of cancerous tumors. He believes that consuming diary products on a regular basis is dangerous to your health.
All told, this is without doubt the best book on nutrition, diet, and health that I have ever read, and believe me, I've read a few over the years. The arguments presented, over and above the very persuasive evidence, are compelling. One of the things I like to do when evaluating opposing views on what is good for human beings is to ask myself how was it in the prehistory? What sort of diet did humans become adapted to over the millennia? It was only about 10,000 years ago that animal husbandry began; in other words, it's only been about 10,000 years since any people have depended on milk as a food. Furthermore, although prehistoric humans were hunters and scavengers, it is clear that the bulk of their diet came from gathering plant sources. Even when they did slay an animal, that animal's flesh was lean, not fatty. This is not to say that prehistoric humans did not eat animal flesh. They did. In some cultures (the Inuit for example) animal flesh was the mainstay of the diet. But they are exceptions. Furthermore, the deleterious effects of a diet containing significant amounts of animal products would not have affected prehistoric peoples much since few lived long lives. Today most people (in the Western world at least) will live into their sixties, seventies and eighties. How free from pain and discomfort and how active and healthful they will be for how long will depend to some large measure on what they eat. This is Dr. Campbell's message.
Another, more sinister message is contained in "Part IV: Why Haven't You Heard This Before?" It is here that Campbell chastises the medical profession, the scientific establishment and the government for being in the pocket of the various corporate interests. He shows how we have been indoctrinated by the diary, meat, poultry and drug industries into eating an unhealthy diet and attempting to treat the symptoms of the chronic diseases of affluence caused in part by that diet with ineffective and expensive drugs and invasive and dangerous treatments. He shows how under the Bush administration the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) from the government's Food and Nutrition Board have been revised so that increased amounts of fatty, highly processed, sugared and protein-stuffed foods are now more okay than ever. (See pages 306-314 for the appalling details.)
Why is this happening? Because corporate vested interests have hoodwinked the medical profession and taken control of the government agencies and have bought off the politicians. Campbell writes: "...[W]hen it comes to health, government is not for the people; it is for the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of the people." (p. 318) He adds, "The whole system is paid for by the drug industry, from education to research. The drug industry has bought the minds of the medical profession." (p. 332) He concludes (in italics): "The health damage that results from doctors' ignorance of nutrition is astounding." (p. 329)
--Dennis Littrell, author of "The World Is Not as We Think It Is"
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2013
Excellent book with a huge amount of interesting information. I've also read his more recent book, and seen his interviews on Forks Over Knives, and his views are extremely convincing and make a lot of sense, especially when considering his pedigree.
For me when considering opinions on these matters a lot of it is about what does the messenger have to gain from their message, and likewise is their an agenda from those attacking the message. I don't believe the author has that much to gain, but quite the reverse is true of his detractors.
The evidence put forward in this and other books is quite over whelming, and also when you consider the incredible financial muscle of the big pharmaceutical companies, meat industry, dairy industry, supplement companies etc, it's not really a huge surprise that they are able to suppress this message and misdirect and mislead the media/public so effectively.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2015
Such a lot of evidence to support a whole food plant-based as beneficial to our own health, to animals, to the environment - in particular in reducing carbon emissions, to feeding the world, to reducing our dependence on long-term medication for lifestyle-affected diseases. I love to hear that improving my own health is something I can achieve, and am already enjoying a mainly whole-food, totally plant-based diet. My stamina is already improving, allowing me to dance energetically and even though I now have a senior citizen's bus-pass, I can, but don't need to run for the bus - recently running over 5 miles. Campbell has reinforced my belief in what I'm doing. The China Study is full of evidence meticulously studied and then made accessible for a non-scientist such as me. It has made me even more sure that I've changed my diet to one that's a win-win-win....
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2015
I first read this book four years ago, was hugely impressed and started to eat a low fat vegan diet - a regime which I stuck to for two years. I never felt that great on it and was constantly hungry. Literally, I would eat a massive plateful of brown rice, beans and vegetables for dinner and one hour later require a bowl of oatmeal to fill me up again. Hunger became an inconvenient annoyance, as it was simply too frequent.I also noticed that lack of fat in my diet seemed to cause skin rashes and an odd 'spaced-out' feeling, as if my brain wasn't getting what it needed. I have now read numerous other books, including those by Gary Taubes, Nina Teicholz and Tim Noakes, which put the opposite side of the argument, advocating high fat, low carbohydrate diets. What are we to believe? It is impossible for the the average person to delve deeply into the science in order to evaluate all the studies for themselves. How is it possible that science is delivering such ambiguous advice? .
To be honest I feel that although these scientists are sincere, science is letting us down. All I want is clear guidance to help me deal with my lifelong propensity to put on weight! Is this too much to ask in 2015, when spiraling obesity and diabetes is one of the biggest threats faced by mankind, in the mids't of an age totally dominated by scientific thinking!
At present I am eating a low-carb, high fat diet and though I haven't lost much weight, I have to say that I am feeling better than I have done in years. I'm full of energy and have no little aches and pains anywhere in my body - something that I had come to think of as completely normal. I have also noticed that I am able to go much longer without food, i.e. my hunger is switched off. I'm convinced this is the way to go. It is clear that for most of human history, we were not eating sugar or grains, as they simply didn't exist. However, I do worry about the fact that the meat based diet I now eat would probably not be viable, if the whole expanding World population suddenly decided to eat it.
For several years I followed the advice of Campbell, McDougall, Ornish and Esselstyn (yes I read all their books). Contrary to what these author's suggest - I did not lose weight and didn't feel good on a low fat vegan diet. This is just personal experience and may not be applicable to anyone else, but in the absence of any scientific consensus, what else is there to go by.
I have no idea if the diet I am now eating is truly healthy, as I don't have the time or money to keep getting all the diagnostic tests done that the authors of dietary books seem to think people should get done every few months. Also, who knows if the diagnostic tests are the correct ones anyway? These days it seems there is growing doubt about whether there is a causal link between LDL cholestrol and heart disease!
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2013
Just some random comments as there are so many reviews already...
I read this book after being recommended it by a friend. I was born and raised on a 'health farm' where all the food was home grown and organic. I therefore already knew a great deal on this subject. However I was interested to read more data and to see what other stats had come out of the China Study. In a way I was a bit disappointed as I already knew about the Gerson Therapy which had been around since the 1920's. The Gerson Therapy advocates low protein, along with vegetable juices and lots of fruit and vegetables, and coffee enemas to eradicate cancer.
I felt the same information was recycled over and over in every chapter. Interesting information, but repetitive.
It was refreshing to have someone tackle Reductionism V Holism. (which he talks more about in his follow up book - 'Whole') It's not the Pectin, it's the apple. It's not the beta carotine, it's the carrot. There are so many nutrients we are unaware of that for pectin to do it's magic we need to eat the (organic) apple, not take a pill that will probably not work anyway as it needs all the other micro nutrients in the apple to make it work.
I would like to see more information about fish. On one of the charts showing heart attacks I noticed (as I was already aware) that Japan and France were at the low end of the chart, with the USA and Australia at the top end. We all know the Japanese eat a lot of fish, and the French are not exactly vegan. So why then? Tell us please. I assume it is the type of food they are eating, freshly prepared with no simple carbs. I also wanted to know more about other proteins. Casein, casein, casein!!! There was a nod to soy, but what about whey? What about all the other proteins? What about the infamous rotten mottled teeth the chinese have? And their tendency to have thinning hair?? Were there studies on fish protein in China, or Tofu? Or does tofu count as a plant based protein.
I suit vegan. I can do it. But I do think some people thrive on a certain amount of meat. But the meat needs to be organic. I think if the world went back to 'Sunday Roast' and just ate meat on a sunday, and fancy sweet deserts at xmas and birthdays, then stuck to a wholefood plant based diet the remainder of the time we would all be a lot healthier.
I also read that the gut is the 'second brain'. The gut actually makes more serotonin than is made in the brain. Eating junk food destroys the serotonin which then can have an impact on health and mood. Eating a wholefood diet introduces the prebiotics that make probiotics - hence the great lift in mood when starting a wholefood diet. Certainly happened to me!!
75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2007
Since reading this book I have gained a good understanding of why we should not eat things such as: Dairy, Modified Fats, Refined Foods,
and Red meat.
The book also emphasises the benefit of eating whole foods from a plant based diet.
The book really is an excellent read and will open your eyes as to how you should consider eating to become healthier and to greatly reduce your risk from many western diseases. Since reading this book (and another book called 'Never be Sick again' by Raymond Francis and Kester Cotton) I have pretty much become a vegan, basing my diet mainly on raw whole plant based foods. Excess weight melted away and some long standing health problems are no where near as problematic.
If I could give my own one line comment to summarise the whole book it is this: Western food causes western diseases. T.Colin Campbell proves this and gives overwhelming evidence by comparing the disease rates of different communities with their diet. He also gives results of a study where he gave rats, that had tumours, different diets. Those that ate 20% milk protein all developed cancer, those that ate 6% or less didn't. He could start and stop tumour growth by starting and stopping the milk protein diet! (Another interesting read focusing on the cancer issue is, 'Life in Your Hands' by professor Jane Plant).
Who eats the most refined food, and consumes the most meat and dairy? We do in the UK, Europe and USA. Who has the most Osteoporosis, Heart disease and cancer? WE DO!!! Is there a link? Or course there is!, read this book and find out why. I am so convinced by this that in addition to my original purchase, I have since bought three additional copies to loan out to friends and relatives who have health problems and who might be willing to consider that they can actually do something to improve their situation rather than just being at the mercy of the doctors and hospitals.
Since talking about issues raised in this book; My wife and children no longer drink (dairy) milk, my parents have gone diary free, and several friends have gone pretty much vegan. Cutting out dairy alone helped excess weight to come off as we have stopped consuming all those hormones that come in it. Don't believe me?... Try it for yourself to find out.
The only thing I am disappointed about is that I didn't know about all this 20 years ago, but I am so grateful to T.Colin Campbell for sticking his neck out and publishing this controversial masterpiece. It has changed my life.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2012
This book should be compulsory reading for everyone in the medical profession. The magic bullet to fix healthcare. Dr Campbell is a brave warrior and has stated things that the modern medical professionals need to hear. It is beautifully simple and obvious but dare we listen?
Anything that involves people being proactive and changing life style is always a hard sell. I would love to see this book on the top of the nonfiction Bestseller list.
79 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2006
This is a very good book full of very useful, well researched information. A big volume dealing with extensive study of the way nutrition influences our health and longevity. It should be read by anyone who desires to be healthy, especially by all the followers of the many fad diets (Atkins, SouthBeach, low fat, low carb, you name it...)
China Study also unveils behind-the-scene manipulation of big food business with no regard for consumer health. The authors make a big step forward in honest consumer education, as their integrity and scientific approach is beyond any doubt. Another no-hype volume with down-to-earth, commonsense approach to health and longevity is "Can We Live 150 Year?" I strongly recommend both books for everyone. Get them, and keep them for later reference. Don't miss it.