The China Study
Read in 27 min.
Listen in 34 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by T. Colin Campbell , Thomas M. Campbell II

The China Study

The book that redefined research into the world of food and nutrition

The name China Study covers the results of many studies, the biggest of which was the one carried out in China, by professor Campbell and his team between the end of the 1960’s and 2000 on food and nutrition and its effects on our bodies. The revolutionary results reveal the harmful effects of the consumption of animal protein on human health and highlight the close link between its consumption and the onset and progression of cancer, an illness that was the second cause of death in America in the year 2000. This revealing book eloquently describes the complex interaction between diet, nutrients, lifestyle and health, helping to break down the time-old preconception that eating more protein leads to better health.

The China Study
Read in 27 min.
Listen in 34 min.

The importance given in the western diet to meat protein is unsubstantiated, and predominantly based on cultural prejudice and scientific conjecture

While studying pre-veterinary medicine at Pennsylvania State University, Dr Campbell became interested in animal nutrition, and wanted to explore the possibility of increasing protein consumption in farm animals as a means to increase their production, which led him to discover that many of the theories that exist still today regarding animal protein are merely conjecture.

We know that the three macronutrients that humans need to live are carbohydrates, fats and proteins, yet, when it comes to protein, we tend to think only about meat. This is because meat is the only food made up entirely of protein (as well as fat, a small quantity of water, and very little other macronutrients). This explains the common belief that meat is the best source of protein.

Over the last few centuries, cultural prejudice has linked the consumption of plant foods to the lower classes, and a belief that the upper classes were the only ones who could afford meat and dairy products. This also led to the firm belief that the biggest food problem in third world countries was known as the protein gap, or a lack of protein in the diet, caused by a lack of access to meat, which was believed to be responsible for malnutrition in these countries, when the real problem was lack of variety in the diet.

These cultural prejudices were then accompanied by another prejudice based on scientific fact: to replenish protein in the body, human beings need 8 essential amino acids, which are all found in meat; this information confirmed the belief that eating meat was the quickest way for us to get the nutrients we need. This is how the status of meat was established as a higher quality source of protein than vegetables. The thing is, the efficacy and speed of protein absorption does not necessarily equate to better health. This is primarily because vegetables, as a whole, contain all the essential amino acids and nutrients that are not found in meat. The China Study also reveals many other reasons why animal products and health are terms that really should not go hand in hand.


The key ideas of "The China Study"

The importance given in the western diet to meat protein is unsubstantiated, and predominantly based on cultural prejudice and scientific conjecture
The China Study was the result of over 20 years of research, and is the culmination of several scientific partnerships spearheaded by Professor Campbell
The first amazing results of the China study showed a direct correlation between a reduction in protein intake and the onset of tumours
There is a great deal of misinformation surrounding the nutritive properties of fibre, carbohydrates and protein, which is diffused by the media, and often lacking any scientific basis
The close link between nutrition and heart disease has long been known, yet it is still hard to question the status quo
The enormous problem of obesity in the United States is erroneously considered a separate issue from other illnesses
There is a strong correlation between eating animal-based foods and breast cancer and diabetes
Other cancers, auto-immune diseases, and other various diseases are also related to an animal-based diet
Dr Campbell’s message, the focus of his entire career, can be summed up in eight principles
The status quo is difficult to change, and depends on many interconnected cultural factors and vested interests that all intertwine with nutrition
The China Study provides a broad, scientifically proven answer of what would be the best diet for human health, but this diet is still barely accepted in contemporary Western society
Scientific reductionism is a widespread evil, and its influence on correct dietary information is highly nefarious
Take-home message
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