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Customer Review

2,180 of 2,318 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?, December 24, 2006
This review is from: The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health (Paperback)
I love juicy steaks, delicious cheese, and big bowls of ice cream. I love to eat out at nice restaurants. And I really like eating without thinking about the operations and consequences of our dietary industrial complex. But I don't get to enjoy these things any more because I read the China Study. Like Neo in the movie the Matrix, you have a choice, take the blue pill and believe what you want to believe, take the red pill and you will be exposed to the reality of the world we live in. The China Study is the red pill.

This is a fascinating book on the capitalism, politics, and human behavior that drives the food industry. It is also frighteningly insightful into the health consequences of an affluent societies' diet. I am not a scientist so I don't know if this is good science. But I did work ten years ago as a government attorney on the USDA dietary guidelines and was surprised by the political influence and acceptance of what the author would call scientific reductionism. I also worked for a man who lived and worked until he was 100 years old, and he had a dietary regime very similar to that recommended by the China Study: not vegan nor vegetarian, but largely based on plants and whole foods rather than animal based foods. So I found this book very persuasive - in fact, too persuasive. It scared me straight so I eat healthy now and that's good for the long term...but I don't enjoy it like I used to.
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Tracked by 16 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 24, 2006 2:21:09 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2007 9:07:05 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 24, 2006 2:33:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2006 2:44:44 PM PST
I appreciate this review, primarily because the writer is an attorney who worked with one of the main diet and health policy committees. He has seen how scientific evidence is sorted out to produce the pablum called public education and how that information is framed in order to please the food industry. Having been very much a part of the public policy process myself, I often wondered how well-meaning, honest scientists could believe that they were doing a good job. That wonder, among other experiences, is what catalyzed my further thinking about scientific reductionism that has for far too long corrupted the entire biomedical research and clinical communities. It is the reviewer's understanding of this issue that I most appreciate.

By the way, at the beginning of dietary change, new tastes for many people are not that exciting--and old preferences linger. But there is good scientific evidence that old tastes are largely driven by addictions to fat, salt and sugar and the good news is that, with some patience, these addictions can be reversed. In the meanwhile some new tastes come into play and, before long, many will begin to discover that they now actually prefer the new foods. It's all about taste adaptation, as well as about organic comfort.

Readers of this commentary need to know that JayY who submitted his comments while I was preparing my comments, refuses to identify himself even though he has been urged to do so. I believe that his identity is important because he has been routinely responding, often in a personally vicious and slanderous manner, to anyone who writes a positive review of our book. At least this was the case until his rather uncivil diatribes were recently removed (I think by Amazon). He is now back again, softening his language but nonetheless seriously misrepresenting facts.

JayY seems to be a great fan of 24-year old, scientifically inexperienced Chris Masterjohn who is the Internet writer that he cites and who works with an advocacy organization in Washington mainly supported by "farmers". JayY, incidentally, claims that he as never attended a single university lecture (and never did any experimental research or participate on policy development), but he still knows that the message in our book is garbage.

This advocacy group, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), supports the consumption of foods very high in cholesterol, fat and animal protein. They represent a mission that has the effect of supporting the powerful agribusiness industry. Although stating otherwise, WAPF staff have virtually no scientific qualifications.

I have been inclined to ignore JayY and his colleagues because it only brings attention to the WAPF cause. But a problem arises when they present their arguments in a way that appears to most readers to be qualified science. Coupled with JayY's refusal to identify himself and with his previously self-serving but slanderous comments, this apparent 'science' can be very misleading to many readers as being credible.

For those interested, I have offered a longer commentary at

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 24, 2006 4:08:06 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2007 9:06:43 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2006 1:45:43 PM PST
JayY continues to refuse to identify himself. Why is he so afraid? Is it because he knows that he could easily be successfully sued for his slander?

He continues to claim that I lie, that I have no integrity, that I have no evidence to support my views-especially on consuming animal protein above the level of protein that has long been considered adequate-and that I am nothing more than a vegan activist (because he suspects that many people therefore will discredit my views).

Wrong on all accounts. He dismisses my 300+ scientific publications (almost all with many colleagues), most of which were peer-reviewed multiple times for acquisition of research funding and for professional publication (JayY has ZERO publications and no professional experience to my knowledge).

He claims that I am a vegan activist and am only fronting for organizations like PCRM. Although I am happy to say that I am voluntarily serving, with pleasure, on the PCRM Science Advisory Board for their medical research endeavors, I have NEVER received a single dime from them for my advice. I simply admire the type of scientific research that Dr. Barnard and his colleagues are doing and are publishing. I am convinced, as many of my professional colleagues are, that the evidence on diet and health developed during the past few decades is becoming clear that consuming a whole foods plant based diet, with little or no added fat, sugar and salt, both prevents illness, maintains health AND now is being shown to reverse serious diseases.

Finally, another thought occurs to me as to why JayY refuses to tell who he is. With NO acceptable first hand research experience, NO professional training and NO peer-reviewed publications, JayY and his ilk must be getting quite frantic at the success of our book. It is receiving remarkably positive commentary, is gaining legions of converts, is now a national best seller (with no end of new readers in sight) and is now translated or is being translated in 10 foreign languages. All of this for my having NO financial gain from health gimmicks being marketed, almost no public relations campaigns, and no recipes and menus to use. It is apparently selling by word of mouth because readers are seeing the benefits for themselves. JayY, I doubt that your ranting will amount to much, no matter how much bile you and your friends can regurgitate.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2006 4:09:47 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2007 9:07:03 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2007 4:30:05 PM PST
Mr. Campbell do not waste your precious time arguing with imbecility. JayY sounds like an educated individual who is an extremely angry, frustrated man who has taken upon himself the mission of having the last word on this argument. He is not beyond meanness and verbal abuse to spew venom. One can't reasonably argue with a fool, or an violent person. These people need a wide berth. It is obvious to those of us who have read your book that it stands on its own merit and it will stand the test of time. I am personally grateful to you, and to all those individuals who contributed to your research. The information in The China Study has changed my life, my health, and the lifestyle of my family. As to JayY.... he will reap the fruits of his beliefs....sooner or later

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2007 8:40:01 AM PDT
Lilian is right about JayY... I think he feels he has to defend a family business..he may change as he grows older...and Mr. Pinkerton-you can enjoy a good vegan diet big time-an absolutely wonderfully delicious meal after meal is possible.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 6:29:24 AM PDT
M.K. Reiner says:
"This advocacy group, the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), supports the consumption of foods very high in cholesterol, fat and animal protein. They represent a mission that has the effect of supporting the powerful agribusiness industry."

Dr. Campbell, could you not resort to telling outight lies about WAPF? They represent small farmers, not agribusiness, especially with their support of grass-fed meat, raw milk and organic produce. It's pretty sad and pathetic that you have to resort to such lame suppositions.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2008 1:40:22 AM PDT
Orvan says:
Just fire up your Google engines and punch in "The China Study" along with the names Chris Masterhon and Anthony Colpo each and pretty soon you'll find online critiques that tear asunder most of the claims made in Campbell's pathetic pro-vegan book.

Campbell lies about the WAPF and uses his credentials to lie to the lay public about findings from published research, his own and others', in order to further his vegan agenda and ultimately the animal rights cause (heck, even highly academically educated persons have fallen for his chicanery). How could you trust such an author? his own complaints about his book's detractors should be dismissed as lame attempts to divert attention from the detractors' revelations about the weaknesses of his book which has more holes in its pro-vegan presentation and narration than Swiss cheese. I thank Lillian M. Matthews and John P. Kennedy for the laughs they provide in their amusing comments. People who've done independent research in a quest to find out both sides of the story about this book and its author may very well have been keeling over in laughter reading the mere statement that this book stands on its own merit and the suggestion it will stand the test of time. As to their dimestore psychobabble...? Puhhhleaze!!

Posted on Sep 30, 2008 5:05:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2008 5:47:36 PM PDT
Cate says:
I totally agree with R. Pinkerton's review. The China Study's recommendations (and Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD) may be the healthiest way to eat, but it does take some of the enjoyment out of food. It's such a scientific approach to eating. Taste and smell are two of the five senses. People don't normally get excited about eating broccoli or kale, but ice cream, sourdough bread, french fries, etc. are yummy. I get it that our culture has so overindulged in food heaven that we've made ourselves unhealthy, but there has to be some middle ground.

This kind of reminds me of people who practice calorie restriction and don't need to lose weight. Apparently they do it because they think it will extend their lives. But they eat like accountants, analyzing every calorie and nutrient. They're so focused on micromanaging their diet that they deny themselves pleasure and satiation. It's such an austere approach to eating.

Just to include my own bias, I've been vegetarian for 31+ years. I stopped eating animal corpse many, many years ago. I want to hear from someone who can balance the scientific approach of T Colin Campbell and Joel Fuhrman with the pleasure of eating found in many vegetarian/vegan cookbooks and restaurants.
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