The China Study

Just short of one hundred years ago, the Lord gave us this plain instruction regarding diet: “It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning.” The Ministry of Healing, 316. Now we see that science is catching up with Inspiration. In 1983 Dr. T. Colin Campbell surveyed 6,500 adults who were living in rural Chinese villages. In this survey he collected 367 items of information regarding each person's diet, lifestyle, and cause of death. 1 This “China Study,” along with the follow-up study in 1989-1990, is probably the most comprehensive, large-scale human study ever done of the connections between diet, lifestyle, and disease. In the United States , cancer and heart disease are common throughout the country. In China , some areas have no cancer or heart disease; in other areas, they reflect up to a 100-fold increase. Most Americans eat an animal-based diet, whereas diets in China range from animal-based to entirely plant-based, depending on the location. China's wide localized variations in diet and disease provide an ideal study basis leading to very reliable data and conclusions.


Just short of one hundred years ago, the Lord gave us this plain instruction regarding diet: “It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning.” The Ministry of Healing, 316.

 

Now we see that science is catching up with Inspiration. In 1983 Dr. T. Colin Campbell surveyed 6,500 adults who were living in rural Chinese villages. In this survey he collected 367 items of information regarding each person's diet, lifestyle, and cause of death. 1 This “China Study,” along with the follow-up study in 1989-1990, is probably the most comprehensive, large-scale human study ever done of the connections between diet, lifestyle, and disease. In the United States , cancer and heart disease are common throughout the country. In China , some areas have no cancer or heart disease; in other areas, they reflect up to a 100-fold increase. Most Americans eat an animal-based diet, whereas diets in China range from animal-based to entirely plant-based, depending on the location. China's wide localized variations in diet and disease provide an ideal study basis leading to very reliable data and conclusions.

About 48 different diseases were analyzed in the study, including 12 different cancers and 4 different types of heart disease. Two questions drove the data analysis: Why did chronic degenerative diseases occur in some parts of the country but not in others? What are the multiple relationships between diet and disease? A few of the findings of this massive international study (sponsored by organizations in America , England , China , and Taiwan ) are summarized and sometimes quoted below in the words of Chairperson T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

1: In China , cancer is a local disease, confined to specific areas.

2: People tend to get the diseases of the regions to which they move because they adopt the diets of the culture around them. Not more than 2-3% of disease can be attributed to genetics. When diseases run in families, the causes tend to be the families' diets rather than genes.

3: As consumption of animal-based foods increases, so does disease. “On average, the concentration of animal protein in their [Chinese people's] diet is one-tenth of what it is here [in the U.S. ]. We found that as people approach a 100 percent plant-based diet, they get continuous improvement in health. Even having as much as ten to twenty percent animal protein in the diet could be a problem. ”2

By “animal protein,” Dr. Campbell meant both meat and dairy. “In fact, the higher the dairy intake, the higher the risk of osteoporosis, not the other way around. And prostate cancer is pretty tightly coupled with the consumption of milk. Skim milk, even.”3

4: Americans get 36 percent of their calories from fat; the Chinese, 14 percent. Americans eat ten times more animal-flesh protein than do the Chinese – a major difference. The Chinese eat three times more fiber than Americans. The Chinese diet is rich in plant foods; the American diet, in animal-based foods. The Chinese “high” blood cholesterol level is near the American “low” blood cholesterol level. In China , the average cholesterol level is 127. Heart disease is virtually unknown in regions where it's under 150. There's almost no obesity; the Chinese have 25-35 percent less body mass than Americans, although they consume 30 percent more calories. This study, by the way, compared similar physical exertion levels in the two countries. A plant-based diet plus moderate exercise resulted in rare obesity – unless the individual was loading up on poor calorie sources such as pastas and sugar-laden sweets.

5: “The richer the diet is in the kinds and amounts of nutrients provided by foods of plant origin, it lowers the risk of chronic degenerative diseases.”4

6: Breast cancer is related to age of menarche (age of first menstrual period). The average age of menarche in China is 17. In the U.S. , the average is now 10-11 years old. Many studies show that the earlier the menarche, the higher the risk of breast cancer. The age of menarche has dropped in this country because growth rates are speeded up by making sure children get plenty of protein for healthy bodies and milk for strong bones. These are false ideas, and bigger is not necessarily better. Began children (vegetarian without even milk or cheese or eggs) grow almost as fast. If the growth rate is almost slowed, there will be later menarche and less breast cancer.

7: The higher the level of antioxidants in the blood (obtainable only from plants), the less disease there was.

8: Not only is a plant-based diet effective for heart disease, but for cancer, too.

9: China Study's leader, Dr. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., of Cornell University , researched a plant-based diet's effect on athletic ability. From present studies to literature going back to Plato, Socrates, and Pythagorus, it was written that if competitors wanted to be in top condition, they should eat plant-based diets. Many world-class athletes are vegetarian: Dave Scott, Iron Man triathalon champion for several years; Chris Campbell, 4-year world champion wrestler; and Martina Navratilova multiple times world champion women's tennis player.

11: Dr. Campbell recommends a rethinking of the medical paradigm, specifically, a need to switch from disease cure (emphasizing diet and lifestyle). He calls the present system a “system gone wrong.”

He quoted from an article by Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH of Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 5 He stated that by printing the article, the American Medical Association is admitting that “American medicine is the third leading cause of death in the United States .” “They're not even counting the diseases that could have been prevented if, in fact, the doctors told them [their patients] how to do it. If we included those diseases [which could have been prevented], it [American medicine] is the leading cause of death.”

Dr. Campbell's conclusion: “Is it not possible that nutrition, if properly investigated, interpreted, and practiced, could be, should be, and will be the premier biological science for the future? Because if we do it that way and stop being so concerned about genes – just do for ourselves what we can… without spending a lot of money, …and figuring out basically how to cook these kinds of foods, I think …we could actually prevent… somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% or more of all the cancers, heart disease, and diabetes in this country.

…The scientific evidence is very impressive, is almost overwhelming.” “If we look at the whole picture instead of each individual piece of it, that's when we get the evidence that really counts.”

According to Dr. Campbell, “In the next ten to fifteen years, … [what] you're bound to hear is that animal protein… is one of the most toxic nutrients of all that can be considered. Risk for disease goes up drastically when even a little animal protein is added to the diet.”

In an interview in 2000, he agreed we need some protein in our diets, but states we eat too much of it, primarily because most Americans eat animal-based foods. As we increase the percentage of animal-based foods we eat, we decrease plant-based foods we eat. We “decrease the very foods that repress the disease process. Animal-based foods have no nutrients that are not better obtained from plant-based foods [including protein].”

Even if we choose skim milk, low fat cheeses, and lean cuts of meat, Campbell considers such actions an “almost meaningless thing to do.” Although the fat intake decreases, we still eat too much protein! In the 1970's it was found that as animal fat intake increases, so does breast cancer and heart disease. The conclusion drawn was that fat was the problem, but the conclusion focused too narrowly on fats alone. The role of protein was completely overlooked. The China Study6 shows that breast cancer and heart disease are virtually nonexistent in parts of the world where animal-based foods are not in the diet. Necessary protein can come entirely from plants.

Originally from "Our Firm Foundation" Magazine
written by Jean Handwerk.

Notes:
Information for this article was gleaned from Click Here and tapes of Dr. T. Colin Campbell's lectures at PCRM's Summit on the Dietary Guidelines 2000.

Copies of the tapes are available at Click Here.

“Chinese diet study has lessons for us all,” by Vance Lehmkuhl, Philadelphia Daily News, Click Here, November 14, 2001 , 70.

“Is U.S. Health Really the Best in the World?” JAMA , July 26, 2000 , vol. 284, no. 4, 483-485.

For more information on the China Study, see Dr. Campbell's upcoming book, The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, Benbella Books, 2005.



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