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China Study, The: The Most Comprehensive…
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China Study, The: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted… (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Colin Campbell

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Title:China Study, The: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health
Authors:Colin Campbell
Info:Ben Bella (2006), Edition: 1st BenBella Books Ed, Hardcover, 417 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Non-fiction, Vegan, Health

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The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell (2005)

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What Is the China Study?: The actual China Study actually makes up only a small part of this book, although the implications of the study permeate everything else in it. This is how Campbell explains the China Study: In the 1970s the Premier Chou of China initiated a vast survey to collect information on cancer in the country. Involving 650,000 people, it is considered the most ambitious biomedical research project ever undertaken. This study showed that types of cancers were localized. Back in the US, Campbell works with a leading Chinese scientist, and fast forward . . . their team gathers 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet, and disease.

The Rest of the Book: Fast forward some more and Campbell concludes that the diseases of affluence (colon, lung, breast, stomach cancers, etc., diabetes, coronary heart disease) are caused by the Western diet, specifically, linked to animal protein. From the study, the Chinese with the lowest rates of these diseases ate a plant-based diet. Based on his many years of research on diet, Campbell advises a vegan diet of whole foods (one can eat an unhealthy vegan diet too—white flour, sugar, processed foods). This reminds me of Michael Pollan’s advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” (although Pollan is not vegan)

Why I Read This Now : Last autumn, my husband and I met with a friend and her husband for dinner. He had recently dropped 40 lbs over a few months, and could not stop talking about the China Study and how much better he felt. He was raised on a farm in Alberta and played semi-pro ball for years—as close to a “good ol’ boy” as you’re going to find in Canada. We found his finding religion (veganism) rather amusing. He harassed my husband to read the book, and Mr Skeptical was surprised at how credible it actually was, so I had to read it too.

I actually didn’t find that much new in it though—over the past 30 years I’ve read a lot about nutrition. For a time I followed the Pritikin program, which is very similar (except Pritikin names the culprit to be fat instead of animal protein). That wasn’t an easy program to follow, but wow did I feel fabulous! I’ve always wanted to return to it. There is also an extensive section on science, the food industry, consumerism, and government that is important, but again, not new as I’ve read about these problems elsewhere (most recently in Marion Nestle What to Eat). After several hours of hearing him preach about the China Study, I turned to his wife and asked her what she thought, and she rolled her eyes and said, “I’ve always had healthy eating habits.” Exactly.

Credibility: Campbell is a biochemist specializing in nutrition. He has written over 300 research papers on the subject. His list of credentials and experience is too long to list here, but I have to say that I can’t remember reading a book by an author with so bona fide a track record in his or her field. I did some searching on the internet, and came across a few claims that this study has been “debunked,” but none of the links had an iota of the credibility that he has. Also, his findings are not in the interests of the gajillion dollar a year food industry, so I can see that he attracts naysayers who find him threatening. Put it this way: What’s the downside of following his dietary recommendations?

Recommended for: If you too have read a lot about nutrition, this isn’t going to surprise you all that much. If reading about nutrition is a new thing for you, or you’re concerned about diseases of affluence, this may be exactly what you need. Campbell writes in a conversational way that makes all the science understandable, so you don’t need a biology degree to read this book. ( )
4 vote Nickelini | May 20, 2014 |
This book totally changed my way of eating, it is even better than vegan, no processed food and fats, simple healthy food. And I feel great in many ways.
Yes it is a little bit repetitive, but he goes through all the modern diseases and this told me more with every chapter how important it is to eat right to stay healthy and feel good without eating bland food and counting calories. ( )
  brigitte64 | May 18, 2014 |
This book really is comprehensive and makes a no-brainer argument for not eating animal products and adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. I'm glad I was already vegan before I read it or I'm sure I would have been freaked out. This should be required reading for anyone working in the medical field and anyone who cares about their health. ( )
1 vote bookmagic | Mar 7, 2014 |
A lot of data with very few tangible suggestions or examples of the kinds of diets they were studying. ( )
  marti.booker | Dec 2, 2013 |
To use one of the author's favorite adjectives, the book was 'provocative.' I actually find this quite credible and I will change the way I eat, somewhat. ( )
  Jeremy_Palmer | Oct 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
T. Colin Campbellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, Thomas M., IImain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To Karen Campbell, whose incredible love and caring made this book possible.

And to Thomas IcIlwain Campbell and Betty DeMott Campbell for their incredible gifts.
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On a golden morning in 1946, when summer was all tuckered out and fall wanted to be let in, all you could hear on my family's dairy farm was quiet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This study examines more than 350 variables of health and nutrition with surveys from 6,500 adults in 65 counties, representing 2,500 counties across rural China and Taiwan. While revealing that proper nutrition can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments as well as obesity, this text calls into question the practices of many of the current dietary programs, such as the Atkins diet, that enjoy widespread popularity in the West. The impact of the politics of nutrition and the efforts of special interest groups on the creation and dissemination of public information on nutrition are also discussed. [from Publisher description].… (more)

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