The China Study

The China Study

Credit Lisa Elaine Held at Well & Good

The China Study is worth knowing about, it is one of the largest comprehensive studies of human nutrition ever conducted, launched via a partnership between Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine, with data collected over a span of 20 years.

In The China Study, and the book by the same name, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, discuss and analyze the results from the study (and other influential nutrition research) and recommend their protocol for the best diet for long-term health.

Here is your 10-step cheat sheet to The China Study’s conclusions.

1) American health statistics are scary

As a whole the country of  America is, well, not so great. The researchers spend a lot of time citing frightening stats on obesity, diabetes and heart disease that point to the need for an American diet shake-up. Americans also pay more for health care than any other country—and don’t have better health to show for it.

2) The conclusions are based on a lot of data

They’re not talking about one small study on mice. This is a human being study (which included 367 variables, 65 counties in China, and 6,500 adults. “When we were done, we had more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet, and disease variables.” They also incorporated a wealth of additional research data from other sources.

3) Animal protein promotes the growth of cancer

The book’s author T. Colin Campbell, PhD., grew up on a dairy farm, so he regularly enjoyed a wholesome glass of milk. Not anymore. Dr. Campbell says that in multiple, peer-reviewed animal studies, researchers discovered that they could actually turn the growth of cancer cells on and off by raising and lowering doses of casein, the main protein found in cow’s milk.

4) You should be worried about poor nutrition more than pesticides

The food you eat affects the way your cells interact with carcinogens, making them more or less dangerous, the authors explain. “The results of these, and many other studies, showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen,” they state.
 
5) Heart disease can be reversed through nutrition
 
The authors share the work of other respected physicians that they say supports their own data’s conclusions, and some of the most interesting is on heart disease. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., a physician and researcher at the best cardiac center in the country, The Cleveland Clinic, treated 18 patients with established coronary disease with a whole foods, plant-based diet. Not only did the intervention stop the progression of the disease, but 70 percent of the patients saw an opening of their clogged arteries.
 
Dr. Dean Ornish, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, completed a similar study with consistent results. But hey, this is actually encouraging—heart disease can legit be reversed.
 
6)  Carbs are not (always) the enemy
 
Highly-processed, refined carbohydrates are bad for you, but plant foods are full of healthy carbs, the authors say. Research shows that diets like Atkins or South Beach can have dangerous side effects. While they may result in short-term weight loss, you’ll be sacrificing long-term health.
 
7) Cancer isn’t the only disease plants can ward off
It’s not just cancer and heart disease that respond to a whole foods, plant-based diet, the authors say. Their research showed it may also help protect you from diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, bone, kidney, eye, and brain diseases. Plants are the food your body has been craving for this whole time.

 

8) You don’t have to tailor your diet for specific health benefits

Eating healthy can seem segmented—broccoli will prevent breast cancer, carrots are good for eyes, and by the way, did you get enough vitamin C today? “Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board,” the authors explain.

9) Animal-based foods are not necessary

“There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants,” the authors say. Protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals—you name it, they’ve got it, along with major health benefits. Many elite athletes are turning to vegetarian and vegan food sources, for enhanced performance and recovery.

10) The takeaway is simple: Eat plants for health

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest,” the authors state. Whether you’re going to eat vegan or not, they suggest putting as many plants on your plate as possible, at every meal.

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