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Prevention of chronic disease starts with a whole food, plant based diet.

The China Study is a little book making a big difference in how we look at nutrition and health.
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Plant based diet in The China Study

A little book called “The China Study,” has sold 500,000 copies, making it one of the country’s best-selling nutrition titles.

Former President Bill Clinton even cited the book in explaining how he lost 24 pounds by converting to a plant-based diet in hopes of improving his heart health. The president gave up dairy, switching to almond milk, and says he lives primarily on beans and other legumes, vegetables and fruit, although he will, on rare occasions, eat fish.

T. Colin Campbell, is a co-author of the book and professor emeritus at Cornell University, reported on his work in nutrition, "After doing the work we did in the Philippines and China, that there was a very different world of understanding nutrition. I ended up with a view now that is almost diametrically opposed to what I had when I started my career.

"The early part of my career was focused on protein, protein, protein. It was supposed to solve the world’s ills. But when we started doing our research, we found that when we start consuming protein in excess of the amount we need, it elevates blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis and creates other problems.

"The problem is that we study one nutrient out of context. That’s the way we did research — one vitamin at a time, one mineral, one fat. It was always in a reductionist, narrowly focused way. But I learned that protein is not quite what we thought it was. We’ve distorted our diet seriously through the ages, and we have all the problems we have because of that distortion.

"We shouldn’t be thinking in a linear way that A causes B. We should be thinking about how things work together. It’s a very complex biological system. The body is always trying to restore health every microsecond of our lives. How do we furnish the resources for the body to use? In order to try to understand that, we shouldn’t be giving ourselves individual nutrient supplements. We shouldn’t be trying to discover which gene causes what. But those two areas have become the major focus of research over the years.

"I want people to talk about plant-based nutrition and to think about these ideas in a very empirical scientific sense, and not with an ideological bent to it.

The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods. The effect it produces is broad for treatment and prevention of a wide variety of ailments, from cancer to heart disease to diabetes.

"I say the closer we get to a plant-based diet the healthier we are going to be. Our taste preferences change. We tend to choose the foods we become accustomed to, and in part because we become addicted to them, dietary fat in particular.

About the book written by the father/son team ... "it's a chronology. Here’s how I learned it, and let the reader decide. I say, “If you don’t believe me, just try it.” They do, and they get results. And then they tell everybody else."



Editor, Carolyn Allen

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Publication Date: 2/7/2011
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