The China Study (T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. With Thamas M. Campbell II)
According to the authors, heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases of affluence can be linked to our diets. Similarly, and more importantly, the progress of these diseases can be slowed, halted, and even reversed by proper diet. The book presents numerous studies to support this. The most significant study referred to is the China Study, a massive study commissioned in the 1970’s by China’s premier, Chou Enlai, who was dying of cancer. The study was unparalleled in scope funding a survey of death rates for 12 different kinds of cancer for more than 2400 Chinese counties and 880 million citizens.
An international team was put together to analyze the data and the results were consistent with other findings of a variety of other studies presented in the book. Although there is yet much work to do, one finding was repeatedly stressed: there is no special diet that works just for one disease (i.e. cancer) or another (heart disease) but rather a general whole foods, plant-based diet is beneficial for both and for all.
It is worth noting that at the beginning of his career, Dr. Campbell was not a vegetarian. Nor did he change his diet for moral reasons. Rather, he followed where the science led him, and adopted a vegetarian diet for health reasons. He believes in the work he’s done, and is a passionate advocate for change, be it through education or other projects. As he says, scientists owe it to society to provide the best information possible- to observe, ask questions, to form and test hypotheses and to interpret without biases, not to kow tow to people’s perceived biases. According to him, Government is providing poor guidance in this critical area, even actively giving misinformation to satisfy industry interests.
According to the authors, they expect to find resistance every step of the way. The food industry has a lot to lose if we begin switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet, and the status quo of science is always a difficult thing to change.
Ultimately, I found the book well-written and clear, even to a layman like myself. It is well worth the read, especially for those interested in some of the science behind vegetarian diets.