The China Study Review

Fresh GreensHello!

I hope you’re all having a great week! How did we get to Saturday? This week was a short one here as Monday was a public holiday. I never feel like I know what day it is after a long weekend. Not that that is a bad thing… Could definitely enjoy more public holidays!

My giveaway last week was for The China Study. So I thought I would do a little review for you all in case you were curious on what it was all about.

My brother lent me his copy of The China Study last year when I told him I was going on the Acne Elimination Diet. Essentially I was eating a wheat free, vegan diet. Pretty hardcore diet (or so it initially felt). He told me to read the book, as it supported many of the dietary changes I was making.

The elimination diet is not intended to get you to permanently eliminate all of those foods and food groups, it is to get you to experiment and see what potential foods and food groups could be causing your trouble.

The China Study, however, put interesting arguments forward to encourage you to eat a plant based diet all of the time. The title of the book comes from an extensive 20 year study of the diets and mortality rates from different cancers and chronic diseases of the Chinese across different counties in China. Β It found that those with plant based diets have much lower death rates from traditional “western diseases” than those with animal based diets.

The book expands on this study and provides further evidence to support and explain the correlation with animal based diets and many “western diseases”, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many cancers.

It is quite interesting as the main author T. Colin Campbell actually grew up on a dairy farm, eating a heavily animal based diet. He is a professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University and is interested in the effect of nutrition on long term health. He is now a vegan.

The book discusses the incredible misinformation about diet and health that is promoted and even taught in the USA. It discusses how and why certain diets are promoted as “healthy” by the government and various bodies. It is not always based on information and Science, but on money, politics and power. (Sadly so much of this world is governed that way and information is spread that way, isn’t it?!) Obviously there are a lot of large, powerful and wealthy interest groups that could potentially be very badly impacted upon by the promotion of a largely plant based diet.

There is so much more I could add to this review, but I don’t want to give all of it away in case any of you are interested in reading it. So did I come away from it a vegan? For a little while I continued on the vegan diet after I finished the elimination diet, but honestly I wasn’t organised enough with it. It is definitely something I would consider doing. It did make me aware of the amount of animal based meals I consume and I have changed and reduced that. I have always eaten a lot of fruit and vegetables, or so I thought, but when you sit down and think about the number of animal based foods in our diets, it is pretty amazing.

I do not believe that you have to be a vegan to be healthy or to avoid “western diseases”. I do think that if you are not organised and educated on how to eat well as a vegan it is very easy to become deficient. However, I do believe that there is strong evidence to suggest real health benefits to a diet that is plant based.

I had a look at several critiques of the book and discussed it with some friend’s who are Nutritional Scientists. And after all of that consideration I am still really impressed with the book. None of my friend’s who are Nutritional Scientists are vegan, each of them had interesting criticisms to some extent of The China Study. However, they all basically agreed that all the Research suggests that we need more plants in our diets!

Have you read The China Study? Have you read any critiques? Do you think about your animal v plant consumption? What are your thoughts?

Jess xoxox

PS For anyone interested in purchasing the book, here is my affiliate link through Amazon:

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

photo by: VinothChandar

11 Responses to The China Study Review

  1. I can’t wait to get my hands on that book πŸ˜› I’ve heard so much about it and of course there’s a lot of criticism especially from the paleo people. The thing is at least vegan’s have some sort of science backing up their claims…

    It’s interesting because in laboratories, to get mice with diabetes or atherosclerosis you basically feed them a high saturated fat and cholesterol diet. Guess what… They get sick and obese really quickly, although they do have gene mutations that give them susceptibility to get sick.

    As my graduate studies will be related to atherosclerosis, I’ve been reading up about it. It’s funny because in the end of many reviews they just say “To this day the best medicine against heart disease is exercise, healthy weight, and Mediterranean diet (aka predominately plant based)”.

    Once again, I’m super psyched to read more about Dr. Campbell’s research πŸ˜€
    Nadiya @ Milk and Honey on the Run recently posted…Cheers to Science πŸ˜€My Profile

    • Food consciousness is really underdone isn’t it! It is so much easier to just eat crap. It is cheaper and more widely available. It is interesting how our health is related to our nutrition yet good nutrition seems so uncommon.

  2. I try to eat primarily plant based and use animal products respectfully. I studied sociology at Uni and did a fascinating study on the American Indians – when they killed or used an animal, they used every last part of the beast so I try and make animal products an accompaniment rather than the main course. I also think eating a wide variety of foods helps make it easier to reach our nutritional requirements.
    Liz N recently posted…Overcoming QuinoaphobiaMy Profile

    • Yeah I agree a wide variety of foods is essential. And I think I’m trying to shift more and more to your way of eating. Primarily plant based with animal products used respectfully.

  3. I eat vegan with added seafood. No eggs,no dairy. I do it because I feel it is the healthiest way to eat. I do not feel everyone needs to be vegan, but I do feel that a plant centered diet is very important for sustainability of humanity.

    One of the reasons that I feel the China Study is very good is how hard meat eaters push back and argue against it with very poor arguments. As in, my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts πŸ™‚
    Dr. J recently posted…Post-Meal Walks Linked to Lower Risk of DiabetesMy Profile

  4. I’m afraid I definitely don’t eat enough plant-based food. Barely any I’m afraid – though I do like my carbs (potato and rice!).

    I could most definitely benefit from a more balance approach to my plate!

    Deborah recently posted…How coeliac are you?My Profile

  5. I have been so curious about this book! I heard a lot about it when I first went vegetarian in college.

    I like the idea of using elimination to figure out what is causing your body the most trouble. We turn to medications too often! A lot of things can be prevented simply by being more attuned to what we eat.

    Thanks for the reminder of this, Jess! I’m gonna add it to my To Read list right now πŸ™‚
    Alex @ Brain, Body, Because recently posted…Tacky Q&A!My Profile

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