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
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.