The China Study

Welcome to the Official Roundup Page for all my blog posts pertaining to T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study.” If you’re interested in seeing a critical examination of the claims in this book, I encourage you to read either the first or second link and links 3 and 4, which contain a great deal of new information not included in my original critique.

1. The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? (My original critique of “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell.)

2. The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response (A referenced, uber-long, and cleaned-up collection of my original China Study criticisms—more academic and less colloquial, for anyone who prefers the former. This is a response to Campbell’s reply to my critique.)

3. Forks Over Knives: Is the Science Legit? (A critique of the science behind “Forks Over Knives,” a documentary heavily featuring Campbell and his work. Read this if you want to know more about Campbell’s rat research with casein and aflatoxin.)

4. One Year Later: The China Study, Revisited and Re-Bashed (A collection of peer-reviewed studies based on the China Study data that contradict Campbell’s interpretations and claims.)

5. The China Study, Wheat, and Heart Disease: Oh My! (An in-depth statistical analysis of wheat flour and heart disease in the China Study data.)

6. The China Study: My Response to Campbell (My response to Campbell’s first reply to my critique.)

7. Tuoli: China’s Mysterious Milk Drinkers (Information on the health of a Chinese county that eats nearly two pounds of dairy, ample fat, and 134 grams of animal protein per day.)

8. A Closer Look at the China Study: Meat and Disease (Associations the “meat” variable has with various diseases in China.)

9. A Closer Look at the China Study: Fish and Disease (Associations the “fish” variable has with various diseases in China.)

10. A Closer Look at the China Study: Eggs and Disease (Associations the “eggs” variable has with various diseases in China.)

11. A Closer Look at the China Study: Dairy and Disease (Associations the “dairy” variable has with various diseases in China.)

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414 comments

  1. To discredit Colin Campbell’s research and decades of scientific research by scientists the world over is down right silly. To ignore their findings is your choice. Eat your yourself to an early death

  2. If you bothered to actually read Ms Mingers and others critiques of The China Study you would see for your self that Campell’s “conclusions” don’t match up with what his raw data say. He is biased from the beginning, and this is not scientific. I was a macrobiotic vegan until my health suffered. I bought into the the ideas that grains were the “principal food” of man and that animal fats were unhealthy. This is simply not true. If a vegan lifestyle were at all viable we would see examples of it in traditional cultures. Name ONE. The nutrient dense red meat of ruminants is what made us human. My health improved when I stopped eating grains, legumes and vegetable oils. Initally the results of switching from the SAD to grains and Veggies were amazing, but the lack of nutrients took its toll. I was a cook in a Macrobiotic restaurant. One of the things that disturbed me was that the people around me just didnt look that healthy. Recently I saw Campbell, Esseltyn, and a few other vegan advocates on TV and they all looked cadaverous.

    1. I had a multi-year experience very similar to Michael Cohen’s. I was biased towards being vegan. But, my health improved when I added animal products, particularly animal fats, back into my diet.

  3. @ Michael Cohen,

    I’ve heard others say similar things about “getting sick” after becoming a vegan. What exactly does the scientific literature and research say about this? I mean, have there been any studies done confirming the fact that if you’re a vegan you’ll become sick in some form or another? If so please show them to me. I don’t understand how making the majority of your diet out of whole plant foods is bad for you. This seems counter intuitive especially considering that all of the research I’ve read (including outside of Campbell/Esselstyn) show that eating a diet rich in plant foods can only be good for you. It has been shown time and again that this is the way to prevent and reverse heart disease and other illnesses. Even the American Heart Association says this.

    http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#

  4. Please don’t site the AHA as any kind of valid authority. Their sticker of approval is on Cocoa Puffs and Pop Tarts.
    The vegan doctors are only telling at best, half of the story.
    Denise has shown that Campbells raw data do not reflect his conclusions
    Check the results of Esselstyn’s study , see what percentage of peoples heart disease actually got worse.

    .I am not against a diet “rich in plant foods”. Far from it. I probably eat more raw, cooked and fermented plants than most people.But my own observations and experience have led met to the conclusion that a vegan diet is grossly unatural for humans.
    When I stopped eating all grains and legumes and added animal protien and FAT to my diet, my total cholesterol went down, My triglycerides went down, HDL went up and LDL went down. My persistent GERD and Arthritis went away. I lost 25 lbs.
    What really seems to induce heart disease, and most of the “diseases of civilization” is a diet rich in refined carbohydrates and the very unsaturated vegetable oils (hydrogenated or not) that are touted as “heart healthy” . These are the variables in the modern diet that have increased the most in the last hundred years. The use of Animal fat, an ancient food, has actually declined during the same period. Gary Taubes points out in GCBC that doctors around the world, working with “primitive peoples” found time and again an absence of modern diseases like heart disease,cancer, diabeties in the native populations, eating their traditional diets, often very high in Animal fat. All of these diseases did appear when they started eating the foods imported by modern man, namely white flour and sugar.
    It has been shown time and again that a ketogenic diet, induces the most improvement in the lipid blood profiles.
    Please also note that the Vegetarian populations of India have some of the HIGHEST rates of heart disease and diabeties.
    I have found that a Vegan diet (Plant only) is not suitable humans for a few reasons. They are also the reasons why my health eventually suffered on a plant only diet.The first is the lack of nutrient density. The second is the fact that grains and legumes contain many anti-nutrients, that eventually will wreak havoc in the body.
    I dont have time to re-list all of the facts here. If you have the emotional courage and intellectual honesty, please read “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre keith, a twenty year vegan who ruined her health with a plant only diet. Chapter four is an excellent summary of the human nutritional needs and the scientific arguments against a plant only diet.
    Also follow these links

    Dr William T Jarvis
    http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.760/healthissue_detail.asp

    DR Mercola

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/29/why-are-vegetarians-at-risk-of-heart-disease.aspx

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/03/30/the-fallacy-of-vegetarian-diets.aspx

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/04/02/vegetarian-myths.aspx

    Dr William Davis
    http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/

    Dr Anrdreas Eenfeldt
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchf

    Prof. David Diamond PhD

  5. Just gotta say…..How many of these commenters are actually DurianRider himself?? Like Olof, Lyle etc. They all have a certain ring to them (idiocy) and Durianrider does have massive mental issues. He spends like 14 hrs a day on computers doing his life work- i.e. pretending to be someone else and starting arguements on paleo and other forums/blogs.
    So yeah I guess what I’m saying is don’t worry so much about replying to the crap comments he posts as they are just rubbish. ro

  6. (RE: “”http://www.rawpaleodietforum.com/journals/lex%27s-journal/ I challenge.””) what u saying, GC?

    That eating meat is better?

    As I look at that link, it merely seems to say that less protein & more fat is better, not necessarily more animal fat, right?

    I admit, I did not get a chance t ofully review your link (so ,y massessment may be incomplete).

    But, in a nutshell, what are you suggesting here?

    Thx,

    — Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAND, Fla., U.S.A.

      1. Yeah — good quuestion, Carl.

        However, Denise not only approved my Facebook request, but she’s been polite to me the whole time I’ve known her.

        (Perhaps, she’s just too busy?)

        — Gordon

      2. Because Gordon is clearly bonkers. Denise has far more patience with him than I do if she’s being polite to him…

        1. I heard that, Pertharnia!

          Actually, many of Denise’s suggestions are spot-on correct, that is, to try and get your food from natural sources with as little processing as possible. (I am recalling from memory, so I could be a little off, but I *think* that is one of her main points.)

          And, I do admit that it’s difficult, sometimes, to get everything you need from a vegan diet on some occasions (depending on the restaurant in question, or whether you live in a house with a pack-rat hoarder, whose clutter makes it NEAR IMPOSSIBLE to use a dining room table & kitchen to prepare food).

          –but 2 things:

          #1: You say in another post, “I would be very, very interested to hear a Vegan’s perspective on this one” (regarding getting ill from a vegan diet), so I’ll weight in:

          Since I am able to eat vegan much of the time, and yet don’t get ill, I am, myself, one data point here. But, I do admit that I sometimes eat non-vegan stuff (usually meats, but almost never milk products, except an occasional milkshake if I’m desperate).

          #2: The patterns in the graphs at http://GordonWatts.com/consumer.html
          and
          http://GordonWaynrWatts.com/consumer.html
          and
          http://Gordon_Watts.Tripod.com/consumer.html

          are NOT “by chance,” as evidenced by the strong pattern, low p-values, and high R-values, and also probably VERY LITTLE influenced by ‘common cause’ factors (such as vegans with other goodf healthstyle habits) –and, probably having cancer does NOT cause one to crave milk — so, this, using the process of elimination, shows all other ‘possabilities’ are NOT likely.

          Thus, the strong pattern between drinking milk, eating meat, and various diseases is NOT by chance, and IS related by a biochemical “cause and effect”:

          As Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying, “Eliminate all other [untrue] factors, and the one which remains must be the truth”: The ‘Milk = Cancer’ and ‘Meat = Cancer’ theories are only remaining possabilities, and thus must be true.

          😀

          1. ouch — I can’t spell my own name! LOL … — I meant, for the 2nd link, to say:

            http://gordonWAYNEwatts.com/consumer.html

            To recap:

            1) the graph patters in these research studies are NOT by chance

            2) the pattern is probably NOT of common cause (well, maybe a little, but not much, as both plus and minus errors cancel out over time)

            3) the correlation means causation, which is not necessarily true, is probably NOT in the form of DISEASES affect eating habits; so, the only possibility?

            4) Eating habits, then, affect DISEASES and HEALTH.

  7. Denise, did you not think it odd that towards the end there was a shot of a traditional Chinese family sitting at the table, presumably having just eaten a traditional Chinese meal endorsed by The China Study, and there is a man smoking? Is this supposed to tell me that despite indulging in this habit he will avoid lung cancer due to being plant-strong?

    1. Go to China. Find out what qualifies as “meat” there. Then give “The China Study” a place at the end of the bench in your next garage sale. Worthless piece of psuedo-science.

  8. Having read a good portion, but not all, of these comments
    I find there isn’t a any one diet that works for everybody.
    The book I read, “The Metabolic Typing Diet” seems to make
    sense. The premise is that depending on your family background
    you are either a protein type of person of a carbohydrate type of
    person. An Eskimo living in the jungle would have problems as
    would a person from the jungle would have a hard time staying
    healthy eating whale blubber. Or maybe it’s mixed.
    Eat what suits you, just find out what’s your type.
    There’s a balance in there, so experiment and find out.

    1. —which makes a great argument for locally-sourced food. Eat local food, and you receive the some local properties of those foods. This is a phenomenon demonstrated by Weston A. Price’s work.

      Food shouldn’t be taken out of its context.

      As an example, peoples of warm, plant-food-abundant environments have a much easier time meeting their nutritional requirements through plant sources than colder-climate peoples who must rely on domesticated animals to fill nutritional gaps. There is a place for every food in the quest for optimal nutrition. Every food has a unique nutrient profile and a unique array of properties (dependents on environment and inputs) that may be either beneficial or harmful to a person, depending on his environment and circumstances and underlying health conditions.

      I certainly would not recommend animal protein to anyone with a kidney disorder or gastroparesis, just as I would not recommend a vegan cupcake to a diabetic or a celiac.

      Just because we can reference unhealthy vegetarians and vegans, and unhealthy omnivores and paleo-omnivores doesn’t mean that any of these diets don’t have utility. My guess is that–given the tendency of any optimal-diet-enthusiasts to go overboard with their beliefs–the majority of people who sickened themselves with their diets did not implement them well enough, intelligently enough, or with adequate knowledge of underlying conditions–and they failed to acknowledge their own symptoms (not an easy thing to do, mind you). A co-worker of mine once hospitalized himself after two weeks on a raw diet, due to excessive fiber intake; his digestive system was completely overwhelmed by the sudden change in input.

      I love the Weston A. Price/Raw/Paleo movement, but I am shocked and dismayed by the wave of negative commentary and mud-slinging against Campbell. Campbell IS a vegan, but he recommends a plant-based whole foods diet, and these things are not identical. Given the way in which our food is produced and distributed, and the load of environmental conditions and toxins we must contend with, domestically and globally, for our entire lives… my suspicion is that a whole foods plant-based diet is the way to go.

      Plant-BASED–not vegan. And there is a distinction here that many of the comments failed to make.

      My official response to this debate of Campbell vs. Denise will come at a later date.

  9. You don’t only have the brains but the guts as well to make us part of your thoughts. Your critical analyses are a real contribution for men’s health, if people that really have influance listen to you, of course, but if we all do they have to. And I like your taste of humour. Makes it even more digestible. 😉

  10. I am not sure but if your know it or you cannot, but the sites making the real big AdSense money most often have followers that will not be determined by google. Internet mavens like Chris Pirillo or Joel Comm have been receiving the Internet a while and still have followings with regards to websites. Therefore they might consistently make six figures with AdSense.

  11. “ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE 2003”
    “Obesity-related non-communicable diseases: South Asians vs White Caucasians2010”
    “Heart Disease in Asia2008”
    “A Physiological Basis for Disparities in Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk among Racial and Ethnic Groups2002”
    “Large Differences in Testosterone Excretion in Korean and Swedish Men Are Strongly Associated with a UDP-Glucuronosyl Transferase 2B17 Polymorphism ”
    “Epidemiological differences in esophageal cancer between Asian and Western populations2011”
    I was wondering why does the China study not take in account those known medical differences between Asians and Caucasians on Health issues.
    It seems to be an important factor in any study on health.

  12. Pingback: The China Study
  13. What would you cite as an example of “mud-slinging” – i.e., vicious personal attack – against Dr. Campbell? I have not seen it.

  14. I have hit Denise with the harshest possible criticism (however, I was always polite), and she assured me she would never cencure or remove any of my posts –or anyone’s at all so long as they were not attacks or curse language (or somethnig to that effect).

    Whilst I have not monitered the blog, I do not recall her ever removing any of my posts — go back and look for Gordon Wayne Watts — a LOT of my old posts are still there, where I take issue with her claims that the vegan method is not supported by science.

    Proof my old posts are still there: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=site%3Arawfoodsos.com+gordon+wayne+watts

    Also ,I do not *ever* recall *anyone* **ever** complaining that his/her posts were removed.

    Lastly, she has been nothing but polite to me, so I infer that she has probably not removed any posts unless with extreme good reason.

    Gordon Wayne Watts
    LAKELAND (between Tampa & Orlando), Fla., U.S.A.

  15. I got here from “Wheat Belly” – I suggest everyone – Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, insane Australian Fruit Freeks – has a good read. Another interesting and convincing example of someone with an abiding interest in Science and Nutrition examining the data with a critical eye…

    I would like to thank Denise personally for her invocation of “non-sentient bivalves” for Vegans. I’m another person who became very ill on a Vegan diet, despite a huge amount of research and experimentation into the nutritional aspects of it. I wish I had know about non-sentient bivalves at the time; unfortunately the experience has left me with permanent health problems and I have no desire to experiment further.

    However, I would be very, very interested to hear a Vegan’s perspective on this one. Singer didn’t even count crustaceans as animals which could feel pain, let alone bi-valves. I’ve always felt that mussels were more like plants than anything else….

    Any Vegan out there care to comment ? From my own moral perspective I can’t see an issue with it; I’d be interested to hear what a practicing Vegan’s take on it would be…..

    1. Some sustainable vegans eat oysters because they keep water clean, so constantly farming them helps clean the water supply, but I personally wouldn’t eat crustaceans.

  16. As i understand 60000 chinese scientist were researching on the order of the chinese premier who wanted to find cure for his cancer.
    in Forks over Knives documentary Dr Campbell meets with the lead scientist from China whilst working on this book and they work together.

    how old is and what qualifications does denize minger hold to publish scientific studies ?

    1. Why are you more interested in Ms. Minger’s CV than the quality of her analyses? And what on earth could be the relevance of her age? Accept or reject her work on its merits.

  17. DUDE! ANYONE (whether vegan or not) whp GAINS 65-lbs on a diet is eating too much.

    If you simply eat LESS than you burn in coloric energy, no matter WHAT your diet (vegan or not), you WILL lose weight.

    Hint: Think of a bank account where you spend more than you make, ok?

    1. DUDE! NO KIDDING! Seriously, it was awful. I was starving all the time. It got to the point where I would eat 2000 calories at 6 PM and wake up at 11PM with a painful gnawing hunger. It was sheer misery, and no reconfiguring of the diet fixed the problem. It became progressively worse over the two year period, as did the severity of the headaches. And both problems evaporated almost immediately when I reintroduced meat into my diet. I eventually lost all the weight on a low-carb, grain-free diet, and my weight and appetite manage themselves fairly well now.

      As for ‘simply eat less’, hey, good luck with that. Trying not to eat when you’re body is screaming at you that it is starving is like trying to hold your breath indefinitely. ‘Simply don’t exhale’. You can’t do it with oxygen any more or less than you can do it with food. And if you don’t believe me, it can only be because you haven’t experienced it.

      So yes, I was eating too much. Glad you pointed that out…there may have been some people who mistakenly believed I had developed epiphytic characteristics as a result of my veganism.

    1. Hi Lucy, Sadly no, I didn’t start logging food intake until later, when I started having positive results to paleo-style eating, and that was only for a short time. There is something about failure that makes one want to forget and move on. I can tell you this, though. I never tried raw veganism, and most of the time I was vegan I ate loads of fresh fruit, green vegetables and rice and beans. I also ate tree nuts regularly, mostly cashews and almonds. The worst period was near the end of the adventure, when for reasons I don’t claim to understand I began to crave pasta all the time. I would literally eat a lb. of pasta, feel like a bloated disaster, and still be hungry for more. It was terrible. I also remember that I had to give up eating oranges, as they would make me incredibly hungry.

      It is worth pointing out that my wife ate exactly as I did during this time (I did all the cooking), and she was completely fine. When I changed my diet, she continued to eat in more or less the same pattern (though she always ate far fewer green vegetables than I did and far more corn on the cob). Our bodies just reacted to the regime differently.

      I still contend that there is no need for all the diet-hate that goes on between the vegans and the low-carb/paleo people. It is entirely possible, and completely consistent with my personal experience that people can have radically different reactions to sugar and carb intake. Whether this is due to genetic differences, pre-natal/childhood dietary composition or some other set of factors, I have no idea. But I know several very happy and healthy vegans and vegetarians, and I know several happy and healthy low-carbers. And I know that when I ate vegan I got sick and felt awful. Telling me I was doing it wrong is simply unhelpful because my wife thrived on it, and goodness knows I tweaked the diet every way I could think of trying to make it work.

      1. You pointed out what you were doing wrong just then. Over eating on refined white flour pasta and focusing on something like tree nuts probably did you in, honestly. What people fail to realize about eating vegan is that, yes, you’re hungry all the time! But, if you’re forgoing the oil, sugar, and white flour, you get to eat as often as you would like. I eat anywhere from 5-8 times a day and I have a BMI of 23 at 5’6. Instead of eating once and being satisfied, eating plant-based food forces you to eat more often, which I love. I pack lunches in big mason jars for work or school and go to town 2-3 times in an 8 hour day away from the house.So, your feeling ill on a vegan diet may have been what you said, chronic hunger. You simply were not eating enough, and honestly no one feels good when they’re starving.

  18. There is no need for any diet hate, period, and it’s a pretty pathetic thing to witness. Everyone is just trying to understand the research and find what works for them. Dogmatists and fanatics have nothing to contribute to the discussion.

  19. It sounds to me that you are sugar sensitive. Have you read “Potatoes Not Prozac”? It’s about sugar sensitivity. You are absolutely right. Everyone has to find what works for them. The pasta & nuts could be what happened to your weight.

  20. I admit that I eat some meat (and even an occasional milkshake) when vegan burgers (and soy-based shakes) are unavailable — but MANY vegan things taste good — I just had a salad, and I loved it!

    Sorry to hear of your problems — but maybe a little exercise would help.

    PS: I had to look it up, but I think I get your joke (if it was a joke) here: An epiphyte is a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it.

    1. two nights ago I watched perlmutter say they reverse, “eat and fat or die idiots. of course he also had the credentials and research.

  21. I believe different cultures, races, people, all evolved to eat diets that are suited towards their environment. As long as you eat food that ate a natural diet, or plants that are growing in natural soil, grown without pesticides, then you are good in my book. But please stop pointing fingers at each other. Plants are living just like animals. As long as we eat to live and not live to eat, then we should just mind our own business. We are designed to eat bot plants and animals. What would we eat during winter during the paleo era? Eat to survive people.

  22. Well this was a real disappointment. In my attempt to learn something I have found yet more convoluted information and comments by a lot of know it alls who either have a negative agenda or just like to argue. I should have known better than to try to take seriously anything ending in .com. The hunt continues! Think I am done with the internet, going back to the library.

    1. Since you have nothing to contribute but snide criticisms, good riddance. Perhaps pointlessly insulting the librarians will bring better results than pointlessly insulting the people who contribute to this blog. And don’t worry, the internet won’t miss you one little bit.

  23. I would like to thank everyone who has commented on this post. I find the whole discussion fascinating from several points of view. The basic discussion is, I think, quite important, maybe very important. I never used to worry about my diet but, having kept a variety of animals during the last sixty years, I have always taken particular interest in keeping up to date with the latest research on their dietery needs. Finally I got round to myself – something that probably happens quite often to people as the grow older 🙂 The amount of contradictory information that is floating around in books and on the internet can be very confusing. For every study that tells us one thing, there will be another study telling us something else. So, I read what I come upon (including the China Study) and make up my own mind. I don’t want to make a career out of it so I just follow up on stuff that interests me.I stopped eating meat and fish about fifteen years ago, purely on moral grounds. I felt that I had always wanted to make that move but was held back by my not wanting to be different. Since then I have felt much better in my mind and my body has been doing well also. I’m not interested in knowing that grass-fed beef is better than the rest as I feel that all the animals would prefer being alive rather than sliced between two pieces of bread (whole grain, of course).
    I think that at some point in our lives we have to take full responsibility for our bodies and what we put into them and what we do with them. Ultimately it’s our own choice if we spend our weekends taking part in extreme sports where we could be injured or killed, or smoke cigarettes or eat a meat or a plant based diet. With diet information you don’t need to get angry with what other people write if you don’t agree with it. Some of the comments on this blog have not really been very constructive and needlessly aggressive and that just maintains barriers between those who follow one belief and those who follow another.
    I am sorry if this post offends anyone – I prefer discussion to argument – but I hope that this will continue so that we can better understand what others think.

    Orrabest!

  24. I find it funny that you would right a critique as if you are somehow T. Colin Campbell’s peer. You are not even close to being on the level of researcher of T Colin Campbell so how could you possibly right a proper critique on his work?

  25. One does not have to be a Professor to be able to tell Chickens#$t from chicken salad. All of the many debunkers of Campbells work including the vegetarian scientist John Gardiner from Stanford, say the same thing. Campbell’s conclusions are not reflected in the original data. He is a vegan with an agenda. He also neglected to mention the food with by far the greatist correlation to heart disease, and that is wheat. The conclusions in the second part of the book that ALL animal protien causes cancer are a ridiculous streching of logic. If that were the case we would see examples of it in nature. But in fact the opposite is true. Highly carnivorous populations exhibit virtually NO modern diseases especially cancer, until they start eating modern foods. Campbell should be ashamed because he abused his position.

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