The China Study: Book Review

I finished a book called, The China Study, this past week. It was very interesting. It’s the most comprehensive study that’s ever been done on diet and health. Reading and learning about the results was enlightening. The author has listed over 750 references in his book, many of which are primary sources from scientific publications.

For those of you who don’t want to read the 300 page book, I’ll give you a brief summary. First I want to give you a short background on the author. Dr. Colin Campbell,who has also authored over 300 research papers, grew up on a dairy farm and did his graduate studies in animal nutrition, wanting to learn how to make cows and chickens get bigger faster. During that time, he conducted lots of research, read lots of research and began to realize the error in his ways and what nutrition and diet really meant to our health. He significantly changed his views on food.

Dr Campbell says we need to be eating a more plant-based, whole foods diet. After conducting studies on rats over a long period of time and then going into areas all over China and doing lots of human blood and urine samples, watching diets etc, he found that if you eat about a 5% animal protein diet, you will be healthier and more disease free. If you eat closer to a 20% animal protein diet (which most American’s do), you’ll most likely end up having all sorts of health problems when you get into your middle and late years. Things like diabetes, cancer(breast, prostate and all the others), obesity, kidney stones, heart disease and many, many others can be prevented and fixed by a diet that is low in animal protein. They in fact injected Aflatoxin, a carcinogen, into a group of rats and then divided the rats into 2 groups. Group 1 they fed a diet with 5% animal protein. They were healthy and strong. Group 2 they fed a diet with 20% animal protein. They got fat, stopped running on their wheels and developed tumors and cancer. Then they went in and switched their diets. The rats who were dying with tumors, once they switched to the 5% animal protein diet, got rid of the tumors. They got slim and started running on their wheels again. And the opposite happened with the healthy ones. Once they changed their diet to 20% animal protein, they all got fat and developed tumors and cancer.

When they say ‘animal protein’ they mean not only meat but also cheese, ice cream, milk etc. In the study they conducted on the rats, they experimented with Casein, which is cows milk protein. I’m going to quote a little piece that sums up the main point:

“These findings demonstrate that a good diet is the most powerful weapon we have against disease and sickness….

“By any number of measures, America’s health is failing. We spend far more, per capita, on health care than any other society in the world, and yet two thirds of Americans are overweight, and over 15 million Americans have diabetes, a number that has been rising rapidly. We fall prey to heart disease as often as we did thirty years ago, and the War on Cancer, launched in the 1970’s, has been a miserable failure. Half of Americans have a health problem that requires taking a prescription drug every week, and over 100 million Americans have high cholesterol.

“To make matters worse, we are leading our youth down a path of disease earlier and earlier in their lives. One third of the young people in this country are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Increasingly, they are falling prey to a form of diabetes that used to be seen only in adults, and these young people now take more prescription drugs than ever before. “These issues all come down to three things: breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Good book. After reading it I decided I’d cook meat in one meal a week (which wasn’t much different than before anyway), and that we’ll cut back on dairy. We’d already switched to Almond milk so that’s not a big deal, but cheese is going to be hard for us because we typically eat it every day. Eventually I’d like to get to doing 2 meals a week with dairy…but we’re not quite there yet. Soon hopefully. I just need to test out some more recipes. I’m not going to include yogurt in with the typical dairy for several reasons which I won’t take the time to list now. The book had some really good information. Though I’m sure it’s also a book that would make people mad; you’ll have to read it yourself if you want to know what I’m talking about. You should be able to find this book at your local library.

A couple of other random thoughts on nutrition: 1. I went to a whole foods class this past weekend at our local health food store. Robyn Openshaw, the Green Smoothie Girl, taught the class. I loved it. She pointed out that just because someone isn’t overweight, doesn’t mean they’re healthy. It’s important for even the naturally skinny ones to eat healthy so they can prevent developing different health problems in the future.

2. I like Billy Blanks. He’s the Tae Bo guy. In one of his exercise dvd’s called Insane Abs, he lists three things you need to do if you want to see your abs: the first two had to do with strengthening and toning muscles, but the third caught my attention. He says you have to eat to see your abs. Several times during that dvd he mentions how important it is to eat good foods if you want to see results. I was glad he said this because there are many people out there who say, “I ____(fill in the blank with run, play sports, swim etc), so I can eat whatever I want.” I used to say that myself, but now it bugs me. I get what they’re saying, but I also think there’s more to health than just your size. I don’t know about you, but I would still like to be healthy in my 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and so forth. Slowing down, yes. But still healthy.

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