The China Study–Every Doctor, Teacher and Parent Need to Read This Book

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Customer Review By Howard Jacobson, PhD

Every doctor, teacher and parent needs to read this book!

T. Colin Campbell has made a career of challenging the conventional wisdom around nutrition, and this book is the culmination of his work. His integrity, brilliance, and unflinching courage shine through every page.

The main point of this book is that most nutritional studies that we hear about in the media are poorly constructed because of what the author terms "scientific reductionism." That is, they attempt to pin down the effects of a single nutrient in isolation from all other aspects of diet and lifestyle.

While this is the "gold standard" for clinical trials in the pharmaceutical world, it just doesn't work when it comes to nutrition. Given that the Western diet is extremely high fat and high protein compared to most of the rest of the world, studies that examine slight variations in this diet (i.e., adding a few grams of fiber or substituting skim milk for full fat milk) are like comparing the mortality rates of people who smoke five packs of cigarettes a day vs. people who smoke only 97 cigarettes a day.

Campbell's research, which he describes in a very accessible and engaging fashion, has two tremendous advantages over the typical nutritional study. First, there is the China Study itself - a massive series of snapshots of the relationship between diet and disease in over 100 villages all over China. The rates of disease differ greatly from region to region, and Campbell and his research partners (including some of the most distinguished scholars and epidemiologists in the world) carefully correlated these differences with the varying diets of the communities.

It's not lazy "survey research" either - the researchers don't rely on their subjects' memory to determine what they ate and drank. The researchers also observed shopping patterns and took blood samples to cross-validate all the data.

The second amazing part of Campbell's research method is his refusal to accept any finding without taking it back to his lab and finding out how exactly it works. In other words, we discover in The China Study not only in what way, but precisely how, the foods we eat can either promote or compromise our health.

The book is part intellectual biography / hero's journey (although Campbell is always wonderfully humble - there's no trace of self-congratulation, just a deep gratitude for what he has experienced), part nutrition guide (the most honest and unflinching one you'll ever read), and part expose. The final section leaves no sacred cow standing, and names names! From the food industry, to the government, to academia, Campbell calmly reports on a coverup of nutritional truth so widespread and insidious that all citizens should be enraged.

I have a PhD in health education and a Masters in Public Health - and I can honestly say that no book has shaken my worldview like this one. Anyone interested in health - their own, or that of their family, friends, or community - must read this book and share it. Campbell has started a revolution. Skip this work at your own peril.

Book Description

Referred to as the "Grand Prix of epidemiology" by The New York Times, this study examines more than 350 variables of health and nutrition with surveys from 6,500 adults in more than 2,500 counties across China and Taiwan, and conclusively demonstrates the link between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While revealing that proper nutrition can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments as well as curbing obesity, this text calls into question the practices of many of the current dietary programs, such as the Atkins diet, that are widely popular in the West. The politics of nutrition and the impact of special interest groups in the creation and dissemination of public information are also discussed.

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Replies to This Discussion

Is this book good for vegans? I hope the book doens't tell you to eat meat,dairy and things like that!

Thanks for thr reply!

it recommends vegans life style. 

I think i´m gonna buy it.

I plan to buy this book! Largest nutritional study conducted to date, I believe? Will definitely give a full review. Will probably read it this January, during flights to friends. I'm a powerhouse reader on planes. Once during a family reunion I read 5* books including "Pillars of the Earth" during transit ;)

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