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Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
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409 of 427 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
The gist of T. Colin Campbell's new book, Whole, is this. After publishing his radical landmark The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health in 2005, let's suppose what he reported there is true. Eight years later, why hasn't that information and perspective broken through to more widespread awareness? Why hasn't your doctor or dietitian told you about it, or heard of it, or given it serious consideration? Why haven't school lunches changed across the board? Whole gives answers.

Three p-words permeate Campbell's thesis here: profits, power, and paradigms. Power and profits drive the big businesses of livestock and processed food, Campbell argues. For elaboration on how the processed food industry influences people's eating habits against public health while in pursuit of sales and profits, I recommend Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (2013) or The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (2009). More controversially perhaps, Campbell also argues that profit motives fuel the chase for pills, patents, and procedures in "health care" or as Campbell calls it, the "disease care" industries of pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and medical practitioners. Registered dietitians may be compromised too, as their influential trade association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, receives major funding from the junk food business including Coca-Cola, Hershey, PepsiCo, Mars, and Unilever (that covers several major ice cream brands), as well as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Dairy Council, among others. (p. 271) The food and health care industries also buy power and influence by funding, in part, the careers of politicians, food regulators, and media outlets (including both popular media and some scientific journals) (p. 181-262). That's a big argument, and Campbell states it earnestly. He looks at, "all the political maneuvering and financial pressure...a version of reality shaped more by the profit agendas of Big Pharma, supplement makers, hospitals, surgeons, and suppliers of processed food and industrial meat and dairy than the truth." (p. 261)

But what about science? Don't the health sciences uphold an objective space where research like Campbell's can get a proper hearing among fair-minded truth seekers? Here Campbell covers a lot of ground. Whole unpacks Campbell's frustration with food sciences that drive for answers in small elements of biochemistry, often dismissing or putting up stiff resistance to studies at the level of major dietary patterns, lifestyles, and community-level differences in health outcomes (p. 45-164). Campbell knows from personal experience. He has contributed to food science both at the minute level of biochemistry, and also at the lifestyle and community levels like a medical sociologist would do, as The China Study makes clear.

Campbell's account in Whole may serve as vivid material for science studies. This is a field where sociologists and philosophers grapple with questions of how human foibles, careerism, and powerful interests sometimes distort and inhibit the advancement of science, and how new theories occasionally burst through to scientific acceptance despite formidable resistance. Campbell deploys the concept of scientific "paradigms" in food studies. Scientists cluster their investigations and share basic assumptions within a broad current of thought, or paradigm, the thinking goes, for as long as the prevailing paradigm seems productive, until one day the paradigm runs out of answers and gives way to challengers. In our time, Campbell suggests, the paradigm in nutrition is that animal foods are healthy sources of key nutrients that call for microbiological research; and the paradigm in medicine is that disease is to be cured through pills and procedures that call for biochemistry in pharmaceuticals, biotechnological engineering, and surgical protocols. The notion that medical and nutritional sciences, or any science, organizes into theoretical paradigms that hold sway during periods of "normal science" springs from Thomas Kuhn's launching pad for the field of science studies, first published in 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition. T. Colin Campbell goes further, intimating that scientific grant makers should promote a more appropriate distribution of financial resources in health-related studies, in order to breed a research environment that would admit a variety of approaches, even if they contradict the main thrust (p. 214-217). His thinking comports well with some recent, socially minded philosophers of science, especially Miriam Solomon's excellent brief, Social Empiricism (Bradford Books) (2001).

If you haven't read The China Study, I would recommend that first (and The China Study may be all you want or need). The China Study spells out the many health benefits of whole foods, plant-based eating in Campbell's view; and what is the research that brought him to believe that; and what's wrong with animal foods. Or, for a captivating show of it on your tv screen, you can see T. Colin Campbell speaking prominently in the outstanding documentary film, Forks Over Knives.

If you want to know how exactly to go about eating a whole foods plant-based diet, then Whole is not the place to turn. But I can recommend some very good books for that: The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!,Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year, and Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. Isa Chandra Moskowitz also comes pretty close to Campbell's way of eating in the reduced-fat version of her super-tasty chef's recipes (though she adds very small quantities of oil that you can cut out if you want to stay true to Campbell's way) -- in Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.

If you're curious and you want to come to grips with the clash in food science between Campbell's minority viewpoint and mainstream theories, then you've come to the right book. Further, if you'd like to hold your own in discussions with people who may want to know how you can be so confident as you shrug off the mainstream opposition and lean into the radical health promise of whole-foods plant-based eating, read this. If you simply want to know why whole foods, plant-based eating has not become more widely accepted, then Whole is a very fine book for you. Thank you, T. Colin Campbell for turning it out.
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180 of 191 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2013
"History is a race between education and catastrophe" -HG Wells, quoted in Whole.

As T. Colin Campbell writes, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is built on two basic insights: "First, nutrition is the master key to human health. Second, what most of us think of as proper nutrition--isn't." While for many (though, alas, still the minority) this isn't news, showing why this is the case with a carefully crafted, well-researched thoroughness is what makes this a signature T. Colin Campbell book. As anyone who has read The China Study knows, this MIT-trained, 50-plus year veteran of nutritional research and politics packs a crisp and well-trained punch. His power comes from his clarity of expression and the thoroughness of his research. Campbell builds his thesis with tight reasoning, backed by solid research that considers the big picture. That's why, even if you feel like you don't need convincing, it's great to have the data and clear rationale beyond what may feel intuitive to you; that is, that a whole foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest diet there is and our current nutritional-medical complex is harming millions and millions by disguising that nutritional fact (did you know that pharmaceutical companies spend considerably more on political lobbying than defense contractors?).

If you've read The China Study, Campbell's important bestseller, you'll be familiar with themes in Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. But the focus is different. As Campbell writes, "The China Study focused on the evidence that tells us the whole foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest human diet. Whole focuses on why it's been so hard to bring that evidence to light -- and on what still needs to happen for real change to take place."

Much of the book lies in the difference between reductionism and holism. "If you are a reductionist," writes Campbell (p. 49), "you believe that everything in the world can be understood if you understand all its component parts. A wholist, on the other hand, believes that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. That's it: the entire debate in a nutshell." Much of the confusion the public has about the basic healthy way to eat is based on small studies that highlight a little something, but miss the bigger picture. Campbell has the research experience and brain power to tie it all together.

If there is one issue I have with the book, it is that Campbell doesn't really look at our individual tendency to rationalize and how that dovetails with the confusion created by the food and medical industries. That is, while it's true that a plethora of confusing and overwhelming information makes it difficult to hear loud and clear the truth about a whole foods plant-based diet, even many who are convinced it is the best way to eat, don't end up eating that way. Why? Because sugar, fat, meat, and junk food taste yummy (at least they do until you break the habit/s, and then they usually taste too much). In fact, they taste so good that most people end up kinda, sorta downplaying the consequence of indulging and are only too happy (unconsciously) to be bolstered by noisy and confusing nutritional headlines. Or, to twist the classic expression a bit: "the spirit is weak because the flesh is willing." For that reason, this is an important book: it helps bolster the resolve of anyone who kind of knows a whole foods approach is the way to go. And for those that don't, this book is a clear and easy to read education. This is definitely an valuable book that I hope is widely read.
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110 of 119 people found the following review helpful
I loved the China Study. Now this just adds to it, explaining the reductionist thinking that passes for research nowadays. I have been plant-based for many years. unfortunately, it has been tough to convert my family to this way of eating.
I feel so healthy and good on this diet. At my age, (59) my mother started on high blood pressure medication. When I gave blood recently, mine was 108/80.
It is a tough sell for the people I know. This book highlights how hard it is to change age-old thinking. (Especially when there's money involved). The only person in my family who read the China Study, my daughter, eats healthily like I do. The rest of them won't read it. (Heads in the sand?)
Thank you, Dr. Campbell, for another great book.
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90 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
Every once in a while someone comes along who changes the world. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Guglielmo Marconi, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Jack Lalane, Steve Jobs and so many more people who dared to change the world for the better. You can add T Colin Campbell to that illustrious list for daring to challenge modern medical theories and practices and to question why cancer rates were so high in the United States while nearly non existent in eastern cultures. His 20 year study of the western vs eastern diet has proven beyond doubt that diet is the critical factor in preventing and reversing tumor growth. While the medical community continues to pour trillions of dollars into finding cures for a long list of chronic diseases, Campbell insists it will not be found in pills, surgical procedures or treatments and convinced that simply changing to a healthier plant based diet is the answer. Everyone should be reading this book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
This one book on health and diet and lifetyle and the effects of diet on health as well as the dangers of reductionist pseudo science stands as the top of my list of hundreds of
health books I have read. it is a critical book for everyone's eduction in real health and verifiable research .
Uncovering the blatant lies by the medical and research industry and the paid for research that characterizes our national programs and beleifs "Whole" is an important book for you and your familyt and your community and anyone you know who is in ill health
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2013
A must read for everyone. It will simplify your life. We've been so brainwashed for so long about what to eat we've been getting it wrong because of confusion. This will clear it up. In addition, your eyes will be opened to the inner workings of the medical profession.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2013
T. Colin Campbell follows up his groundbreaking book "The China Study" that examined the impact of nutrition on cancer with "Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition" which explains why there has been so much resistance by our health care system and government to examine nutrition's impact on our health. Campbell gives an overview of his research and the reasons why his work continues to be challenged. He provides insight into the medical community, pharmaceutical industry, supplement industry, media and government. He backs up his ideas and statements with examples and research making this book a rich source of information (much like "The China Study") that everyone should read. Since his first book is such a large reason why this book was written I would recommend reading "The China Study" before this book, but you don't have to read that book before this one to understand the issues. When I finished reading this book I was disgusted and discouraged by our health care system and inspired to do what I can to change it. I highly recommend this book to everyone because American's can't afford to ignore this research.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
Whole by T. Colin Campbell is a provocative book that reveals why the whole foods plant based diet lifestyle is not publicized on every street corner for the lightning speed cure for diseases that ails you! It connects the dots on why the typical animal based diet sets us all up for these diseases. It's not our genes it our food choices.

Way to go Dr. T. Colin Campbell for your tireless courageous research on unveiling the miraculous benefits a whole food plant based lifestyle provides! Your WFPB lifestyle changed my health destiny and reversed my husband's heart disease, my sister's diabetes and my son's chronic pulmonary disease!!

Dr. T. Colin Campbell is the KING of nutrition science and wrote the best-selling book The China Study; the most in depth study of diet, lifestyle and nutrition every conducted. Over a forty year period his peer-reviewed research proved without a shadow of doubt that a whole food, plant based eating lifestyle guarantees radiant health and cures an array of diseases that plague the world.

In Whole, Dr. Campbell's reveals the miraculous food pill that cures "eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, raw nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains. Avoid heavily processed foods and animal products. Stay away from added salt, oil, and sugar. Aim to get 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent from fat, and 10 percent from protein." In fact in 1978 Dr. T. Colin Campbell coined the phrase "Whole food, plant based diet". He refers to is as a whole food, plant based lifestyle because in his mind diet means labor and punishment and this way of eating is a lifestyle that he and his entire family enjoys immensely and you will to!! Our most valuable asset is our health.

His calling and research placed him as a leader in the grass roots movement that stomps out the scourge of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. inspired me to take the food cure and become a good news messenger, health advocate, author and educator on empowering individuals to be masters of their health destiny all by learning how to eat delicious high flavored foodie quality meals!

Dr. T. Colin Campbell states the fact that "nutrition is the master key to human health". "The remarkable health effects of this delicious eating lifestyle prevents 95% of all cancers, including those "caused" by environmental toxins, prevents nearly all heart attacks and strokes, reverses even severe heart disease, prevents and reverses type 2 diabetes so quickly and profoundly that, after three days eating whole plant foods, it's dangerous for users to continue to use insulin."

In Whole Dr. Campbell answers in detail these questions. Why this life changing news is not advertised on every bill board? Why are America's heroic doctors and scientists i.e. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. John McDougall research not on the front page of every newspaper across the nation? Prior to confronting serious health issues of my own it was hard for me to fathom that this food cure would be hidden from public view. Don't be naive read Whole with an open mind. Education unlocks motivation and willingness. Embracing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle becomes the best gift you can ever give your self.

It's sad but 100% true that we live in a culture where money rules and the powers that be actually suppress, ignore and systematically dismiss the truth about this nutrition based therapy. Our government is allied with the economic interests of the medical and agriculture establishments that want to keep this truth from public knowledge. Heart disease and cancer alone add up to 500 BILLION in revenue annually. In Whole Dr. Campbell creatively describes what would occur if these industries could invent a WFPB pill that would cure all these diseases. You can be sure that it would be publicized nonstop!

Oh and before I go let's sing together with Dr. Campbell all the side effects of eating delicious whole plant-based cuisine. "Unwanted pounds drop off, energy sky rockets, migraines, acne, cold and flu, chronic pain, arthritis and intestinal distress disappears and erectile dysfunction is cured"!! Order your copy of Whole today and celebrate with the multitudes of people who are falling in love with food that loves them back!!

Linda Berson
Author of Green Scene Diet
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
Whole is not a how to manual. It has no meal plans or recipes. It is a thoughtful, well-researched argument for a scientific and medical paradigm shift away from focusing on single nutrients and towards a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Dr. Campbell has spent his career in the field of nutritional research and references many studies he and his colleagues have undertaken. In spite of my non-scientific background, I found the material fascinating and not too cumbersome to make reading difficult.

I have followed a whole-foods, plant-based diet with amazing results for just over two years. I like to read new literature on the topic when it comes out both to motivate myself and to have intelligent information to present when others ask me about my dietary choices. To someone contemplating making a lifestyle change to plant-based eating, I would recommend reading The China Study first for scientific background. The Engine 2 Diet and The Starch Solution are both good introductions with some science, case studies, meal plans, and recipes. The Happy Herbivore and The China Study Cookbook are full of easy to prepare recipes that fit my dietary guidelines.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2013
After reading The China Study and totally remaking my diet to 100 % plant based, I could not wait to read Whole. The book is written in not only very easy to understand information while not being condescending to the reader. After the last page it would almost impossible for anyone to continue the SAD (standard American diet) way of life. This book is not only transforming but essential for living a long and healthy life! Thank you SO much, T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson for your knowledge and hard work that went into this gem. I am so grateful that I have changed the course of my life with your help.
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