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2,143 of 2,519 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Best FICTION Book of The Year, November 23, 2010
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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)
If Dr Campbell promotes moral or environmental reasons for going vegan, I'd congratulate him. But he is promoting it as the ultimate diet for humans.

Unfortunately, his advice that we should go vegan is not backed by his own study.

After reading this book, I went to find the actual study (the monograph "Diet, Life-style and Mortality in China") and there were many holes in his hypothesis. There was no correlation between animal protein and disease! I also found conflicting evidence in science journals. He ignored contrary results and left out data that did not support his view.

What I find disturbing is, this book is for the general public and will affect the dietary choices of many people. Most people don't have the time to research these facts for themselves so he takes advantage of that (but if you do, PLEASE go check the information for yourselves before making a decision on removing meat entirely for health reasons). Critical thinking is important.

Anyway, here are the problems with the information in this book:
- This study was an observational study. Problems with studies like these, it doesn't prove causality. Even with that, the results showed no correlation. In fact, it revealed that wheat had a stronger correlation than animal protein intake - which of couse, he left out of the book.

- Casein in milk, he demonstrated, causes cancer. But he also left out feeding SUGAR along with the protein. Sugar has been shown to promote tumor growth. He also didn't mention that casein is not consumed isolated in nature (human breast milk has casein too, should we ban that too?)

- He cited an Indian study that showed rats taking 20% casein with the toxin aflatoxin will develop cancer whereas rats taking 5% casein did not. He just forgot to mention that the rats on the low casein diet died after 6 months. While the 20% casein rats lived for 2 years.

- Protein from plants can also be "complete proteins" if you eat a wide variety of plant foods, based on Campbell's conclusions that complete protein like animal proteins can cause cancer, that must apply to plant proteins as well.

- He says "..there is a mountain of scientific evidence to show that the healthiest diet you can possibly consume is a high-carbohydrate diet". Actually, clinical studies show the opposite - that high carb diets (particularly refined carbs) are bad for diabetics, those who are obese, those with metabolic syndrome and some even show that it's bad for people with heart disease.

- He links total cholesterol with cancer mortality rates. Researchers still have trouble proving high cholesterol is associated with heart disease let alone cancer! (high triglycerides, with high VLDL and low HDL are better indicators than cholesterol. In fact, 50% of people who develop heart disease have mid to LOW cholesterol levels).

- He says overall, the more meat the Chinese consume, the higher the cancer rates. But unfortunately, he left out the county of Tuoli (as demonstrated by Denise Minger) a county with high consumption of meat AND dairy enjoyed ironically low incidences of cancer. The Masai, the Eskimos and even the French with their diets of high fat or dairy and animal protein have good health (low rates of heart disease, low cancer rates, low obesity).

- He believes that the lower rates of cancer among the Chinese compared to Americans must be due to their diet of low animal protein. It is well known that calorie restriction in animals and even in humans can improve health and longevity. This was shown during the world wars when food was rationed, rates of cancer and other diesases fell! The China study was done in the mid 1970's to 1980s - the tailend of the mass starvation of the Chinese before the Mao government loosened its grip on capitalism in the late 80s. For decades prior to the China Study, many counties had little food to eat. Ask any Chinese baby boomer from China and they can tell you how poor they were as children. I've heard stories of people eating roots and bark from trees out of desperation. Meat was highly valued and hard to come by. So the whole notion that the Chinese CHOSE to be vegans is insulting.

- Campbell makes it out as though we should all eat like the Chinese, for disease-free long life. Go find the statistics for longevity of the Chinese and you'll find the average life expectancy of the Chinese is lower than Americans. Yes, you heard right. You can check this yourself online. In fact, the countries with the highest life expectancy are the ones who consume the highest intake of fat and meat. It is a myth that the Japanese centenarians in Okinawa eat a low fat diet. They eat plenty of fish and seafood and their dishes are greasy.

There are more inconsistencies with the information. But you get the point. Before anyone accuses me of being a Campbell basher, think about this: he is SELLING a book, he has his reputation to defend, I don't sell anything, I'm not associated with the meat industry (I dislike them in fact), I bought this book (verified by Amazon) and giving an honest review without vegan-rose-colored-glasses on. I read it with an open mind and came out disappointed and mildly disgusted. Why? Because his suggestions may cause harm to his readers.

I'm not suggesting we go and eat as much factory farmed meat as we want. But free range, organic grass fed meat is healthy - high in omega3, low in omega6, low e.coli count, higher vitamin A and vitamin D in organs.

My review is not an attack on Dr Campbell as a person. I have not made any personal remarks about him. Nor am I attacking veganism or vegetarianism. I think they're morally valid ways to eat that work for some people. What I am attacking is the information, the content and what adverse affects it could have on people's health.

If you're hell bent on giving veganism a go, please take out sugar, refined wheat and Western tofu products from your diet.

I highly recommend this book - read it, check the facts and judge it for yourself.
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Showing 1-10 of 228 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 25, 2010 9:14:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2010 9:23:52 AM PST
P. Henderson says:
I read this book 4 years ago. I have reviewed every study (daily) on health in the google/news/health and the vast majority of the studies concur with Dr. Campbell. From personal experience I would also like to note that following his approach resulted in me loosing 50lbs and having my all important numbers drop dramatically. How could that be? On a primarily carbohydrate diet? I am gonna eat a little turkey today (as a tradition) and Sunday I am gonna go to church and wear the same sport coat I did when I graduated college 30 years ago, because it still fits. Thanks Dr. Campbell. The message can be picked apart a little around the edges but it is basically true.

Posted on Nov 25, 2010 3:43:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2010 7:29:19 PM PST
D.M. says:

It depends on how you look at the data. In the the China study data the average person had an intake of 12.9 grams of saturated fat and 6.4 grams of animal protein per day.

The average American has an estimated intake of about 24 grams of saturated fat and over 50 grams of animal protein per day.

Our rates of heart disease, colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer are very high and during the China study their rates were very low, as low as 1/17 the rate of heart disease in men.

Americans on a high-meat diet ate 41 grams of saturated fat and 81 grams of animal protein and had even more heart disease and cancer than average Americans (while eating less omega-6, sugar and white flour.)

Zoe said, "The Masai, the Eskimos and even the French with their diets of high fat or dairy and animal protein have good health (low rates of heart disease, low cancer rates, low obesity)."

The French (141.6) have a higher rate of cancer than the US (134.4) according to the World Health Organization. The French have less heart disease, because they drink wine with meals which raises HDL, plus they get more vitamin K2 from cheese and goose live and they ride bikes more the Americans. The Masai eat cholesterol lowering saponins. The Eskimos are genetically different because of 1000s of years of geographic isolation.

Saponins and phenolic content in plant dietary additives

Zoe said, "The China study was done in the mid 1970's to 1980s - the tailend of the mass starvation of the Chinese before the Mao government loosened its grip on capitalism in the late 80s."

During the China Study, the rural Chinese were eating more calories than Americans. In the rat experiments, the protein restricted rats ate more calories and more starch and sucrose, had less cancer and lived longer. However, pregnant rats that were protein restricted had offspring that lived shorter lives. And protein restriction stunts the growth of children. Low protein is only healthy for adults who aren't pregnant.

Zoe said, "It is a myth that the Japanese centenarians in Okinawa eat a low fat diet. They eat plenty of fish and seafood and their dishes are greasy."

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study:

Okinawan Elders

Meat/poultry/eggs - about 1 ounce per day
Fish - about 2 ounces per day
Dairy - very little
Grains - 32% of diet by weight
Vegetables - 34% of diet by weight


Meat/poultry/eggs - About 10 times as much
Fish - a fraction of an ounce
Dairy - Over 10 times as much
Grains - About a third as much
Vegetables - About half as much

Based on page 71 of The Okinawa Program : How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health--And How You Can Too, a book written by the scientists involved in the study. You can search the book online and read page 71 for yourself.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2010 10:01:33 PM PST
I'm glad you have good results Henderson, like I said, I reviewed the book based on what I found. I didn't say that it is THE way to eat for everyone.

Some studies concur because of the lipid hypothesis. Even then, I still haven't seen any government recommendations for everyone to become vegans or vegetarians.

Not all diets work for everyone, whether it's Atkins or vegan.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2010 10:23:16 PM PST
Firstly, the Okinawans are NOT the world's longest lived. It's actually the French.

Secondly, the idea that the Okinawan diet provides longevity if you follow it no longer applies because it seems to only work on women not men:
So something else must be the factor here if they eat the same.

Thirdly, Japanese people consume more fish fat than Americans. The food table you provided does not include amount of calories consumed as macro nutrients such as protein (plant or animal), fat (saturated vs mono vs poly) and carbohydrates (simple vs complex). Saying they eat more fish but less meat does not imply they eat "low fat".

People say the Chinese eat low fat diets and I laugh. This morning I asked all the Chinese people in my office if they eat low fat, they said only the Caucasians eat low fat because they're always on diets. My aunt married into a Japanese family, they eat kilograms of seafood every week. Fatty fish with skin and fish roe. So does my uncle's family in Japan.

If you're going to make a point, please don't use Wikipedia references. Show me a study that says the Eskimos have a unique variant in their genes that make them different in terms of being able to enjoy an all meat, high fat diet.

Oh and the French have a higher incidence of cancer because they have a higher rate of smoking compared to the US. The World Health Organization has never pointed to their diet of high fat being the cause of cancer. In fact go have a look at their lung cancer rates.

And the rural Chinese eating more calories only applied to the tailend of the 1970s and beginning of the 80s. I even said "For decades PRIOR to the China Study, many counties had little food to eat. Ask any Chinese baby boomer from China and they can tell you how poor they were as children." Don't twist my words. Are you going to suggest that the millions of Chinese people who starved in the decades prior were making it up?

You should go learn a little bit about history and interview people affected rather than sit on your high horse to criticise someone's opinion on a book. You don't have to agree with me.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2010 11:17:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2010 10:09:50 AM PST
D.M. says:

The longest lived group in the world isn't the French. It's the vegetarian Adventists who live an average of 10 years longer than Americans.

According the United Nations in Japan they eat more carbs (about 59% versus 49%) and less fat (about 28% versus 38%) than the U.S.

The rats that ate less protein had less cancer in spite of eating more calories, starch and sucrose. Dr. Esselsyns patients were able to reverse heart disease on a low saturated fat diet, and they didn't have to count calories or exercise to do it. Dr. Ornish has enrolled at least 3800 patients in demonstration projects (to demonstrate savings on surgery) which has resulted in over 40 insurance companies including Medicare, paying doctors to teach his diet and lifestyle to heart patients because it saves them money on expensive operations. And according to Dr. Ornish, "In brief, we found that almost 80 percent of patients who were eligible for bypass surgery or angioplasty were able to safely avoid it for at least three years."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2010 8:58:25 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2010 11:27:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2010 2:05:05 PM PST
D.M. says:
Most people handle low glycemic index, high fiber carbs just fine (these include fruit, non-starchy vegetables, peas, beans, whole grain pasta cooked al dente, rolled oats, corn on the cob, brown rice, yams etc.) They don't cause the metabolic syndrome or increase the number of small dense LDL particles. But for anyone who can't handle good carbs, an Eco-Atkins diet (lower in saturated fat and and animal protein) can give you all the advantages of the traditional Atkins without increasing the risk of heart disease or cancer.

In a study by Jenkins et al in 2009, a plant based low carb diet (26% carbs) produced an extremely good lipid profile, outperforming a low fat diet (25% fat) and the traditional Atkins diet. And in a 26 year study by Fung et al in 2010, a reduced carb diet with 18% animal protein showed a 43% increase in all-cause mortality compared to an Eco-Atkins diet with 12% animal protein controlled for other variables. This is not some uncontrolled epidemiological study; it's the kind of study that can be used to establish cause and effect.

Both traditional Atkins and Eco-Atkins are good at producing short term weight loss and blood sugar control. But a long term study of patients on a high meat diet by Fleming in 2000 showed a worsening of blood flow after one year with an overall 39.7% progression of coronary artery disease. And a study that lasted over 10 years by Sjogren et al in 2010, showed that elderly men eating a Mediterranean diet were 37% less likely to die of heart disease, while elderly men eating a high meat carbohydrate restricted diet were 44% more likely to die of heart disease.

The belief that high meat diets are safe is mostly based on stories of individuals which tell us nothing about the average person; observational studies of other cultures with many confounding variables (such as genetic differences, calorie restriction, cholesterol lowering saponins, grass fed meat high in CLA and omega-3, absence of alcohol and tobacco, greater vitamin D, organic produce, higher exercise levels etc.); and clinical trials where people practicing low carb were also practicing calorie restriction which is totally misleading about the maintenance phase. As GCBC says concerning calorie restriction on page 73, "...if rats were only given 75 percent of their typical calorie requirements, they could eat five times as much fat as usual and still develop fewer tumors." A study in 2009 by Miller et al that compared three diets (Atkins, South Beach and Ornish) during weight maintenance showed Atkins produced less favorable results for lipids and flow-mediated vasodilatation than the other two.

People are different. In a study by Corella et al in 2010, when saturated fat intake was greater than 10% of calories in individuals carrying the APOE4 allele, the risk of heart disease was over 300% higher. About 25 to 30 percent of Americans carry this allele. But cholesterol skeptics have convinced many Americans with the APOE4 allele to try a high animal fat diet and it's giving them heart disease.

Taken together these studies show that fluffy LDL is not protecting people against heart disease. The incomplete risk profile in studies used to promote a high-meat Atkins diet fail to accurately predict what will actually happen decades in the future. They are giving people a false sense of security.

The effect of high-protein diets on coronary blood flow

Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: two cohort studies

Mediterranean and carbohydrate-restricted diets and mortality among elderly men: a cohort study in Sweden

The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate ("Eco-Atkins") diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects

Comparative effects of three popular diets on lipids, endothelial function, and C-reactive protein during weight maintenance.

Saturated fat intake and the APOE polymorphism and risk of future coronary heart disease

Charles wants people to follow his example and ignore objective evidence from scientific journals, because that's the only way he can keep his belief system intact.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2010 12:49:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2010 10:23:56 PM PST
Warren Green says:
Thanks for chiming in Charles, and with such an intelligent and thought provoking comment.

With over 800 reviews, it must have dawned on you by now that this information is not going to be suppressed. Not by the Weston A. Price Foundation and Denise Minger, or by a few negative reviews here.

When former U.S. President Bill Clinton got on board in order to treat the blockages to his heart with something that actually addresses the real problem, ( youtube Bill Clinton, Caldwell Esselstyn, CNN ) do you honestly think this knowledge is just going to go away? Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

I'm really looking forward to the release of Forks Over Knives into the general theatres in March, and wondering about the reaction many movie goers will have to realizing that their conventional way of looking at matters related to their health, particularly chronic disease states or conditions, in terms of using pharmaceutical agents and surgical procedures, has just been so incredibly wrong.

I'm reminded of the explanation John Robbins' father gave his son in the late sixties for why his uncle, Burt Baskin, had died at age 54 from a heart attack. "His ticker just got tired and stopped working!"

That sentiment still exists out there today, in at least one segment of our population. An elderly friend of my grandfather, who upon learning that his son's wife had developed fairly severe vascular disease in her mid-forties, seemed shocked and aghast, and replied, "Well she didn't work! N... did all the work!"

I also remember a quote from the astronaut Neil Armstrong, who obviously had no love for running. He said, "I believe that we're born with only so many heartbeats, and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste any of mine running up and down the road!"

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2010 1:44:39 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 26, 2010 1:48:50 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2010 4:05:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2010 4:06:01 PM PST
M.K. Reiner says:
So what did the Nurses Study conclude about high protein intake?
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