Rest in peace, China Study

coffin

I know this was all over the blogosphere yesterday but I think it’s important enough for a repost.

One thing I can count on every time I write an article extolling the health benefits of animal products is someone sending me an email or posting a comment like this:

I think you’re absolutely wrong. You should read: The China Study, by Dr. T. Collin Campbell.

Sorry to be contrary, but T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” should put this issue to rest. Please consider the information presented there. The methodology is impressive.

Campbell recommends a vegan diet–no animal based food at all. He claims that population studies demonstrate that vegan populations do not suffer from the high incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer that we in the West do with our diets heavy on animal protein.

 

In fact, those are direct quotes from comments that have been left on my blog over the past year. I can’t even show you some of the emails people have sent because the language might offend you.

Usually I direct those folks to Chris Masterjohn’s excellent critique of the China Study. Now, however, I’ll be sending them over to read Denise Minger’s freshly published China Study smackdown.

Here’s the introduction:

When I first started analyzing the original China Study data, I had no intention of writing up an actual critique of Campbell’s much-lauded book. I’m a data junkie. Numbers, along with strawberries and Audrey Hepburn films, make me a very happy girl. I mainly wanted to see for myself how closely Campbell’s claims aligned with the data he drew from—if only to satisfy my own curiosity.

But after spending a solid month and a half reading, graphing, sticky-noting, and passing out at 3 AM from studious exhaustion upon my copy of the raw China Study data, I’ve decided it’s time to voice all my criticisms. And there are many.

Denise got hold of the raw study data and took it apart with a fine-toothed comb. And what she found is that the claims Campbell made in his China Study book are not supported by the data. She also found important data points Campbell never bothered to mention in the book because they didn’t support his vegan agenda.

For example, Campbell conveniently fails to mention the county of Tuoli in China. The folks in Tuoli ate 45% of their diet as fat, 134 grams of animal protein each day (twice as much as the average American), and rarely ate vegetables or other plant foods. Yet, according to the China Study data, they were extremely healthy with low rates of cancer and heart disease; healthier, in fact, than many of the counties that were nearly vegan.

This is just one of many cases of the selective citation and data cherry picking Campbell employs in the China Study. Denise’s critique masterfully reveals the danger of drawing conclusions from epidemiological studies, which can only show correlations between variables – not causal relationships. Campbell should be well aware of this. After all, in his book he rails against the nutritional bias rampant in the scientific community. Yet nowhere is such bias more evident than in Campbell’s own interpretation of the China Study data.

Denise concludes:

Ultimately, I believe Campbell was influenced by his own expectations about animal protein and disease, leading him to seek out specific correlations in the China Study data (and elsewhere) to confirm his predictions.

Campbell’s response to previous critics of the China Study has been something to the effect of: “I’m a trained scientist. Therefore you should believe me and not my critics.” That is a weak argument – to put it mildly. You don’t need six years of graduate school to learn to think critically. Nor does having a lot of letters after your name make you immune to biased thinking or intellectual blindness. A lot of smart, educated people believed the cholesterol hypothesis for decades. But that never made it true.

You can read more – and I mean a lot more – over at Denise’s blog. I recommend starting with her article China Study: Fact or Fallacy? For many of you, it will be more than enough. But if you’re interested in this stuff, she has written several other articles worth reading.

There are also reviews of Denise’s article at Free the Animal, Whole Health Source, Robb Wolf and PaNu. If you don’t have time to read Denise’s article, read Dr. Harris’s review at PaNu. It’s the next best thing.

Rest in peace, China Study.

P.S. You might also want to check out this debate between T. Colin Campbell and Loren Cordain on human protein requirements. Notice that Cordain’s articles contain 164 citations of research studies. How many references do Campbell’s articles contain? Zero. And Campbell’s typical “I’m more educated than the other guy” won’t fly here. Dr. Cordain has some serious chops.

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Categories

Myths & Truths

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  1. says

    Interesting. I think it important that if one does eat meat, one should strive for the most humanely raised animal—grass fed beef for example. Cows were never meant to eat corn. ( I actually wish corn had never been invented) We buy our chicken from a local farmer who uses no hormones, antibiotics, etc. The birds are all free ranging. When we can afford beef we do get grass fed and what an amazing difference between that and the stuff you get at the grocery store. Not only the taste but the texture itself is better.
     

    • Derk says

      I am not a scientist, doctor or any of the educated individudwho claim to be the authority of nutrition. But this is my personal experience. A few years ago, I was 300 lbs. I ate eggs and bacon for breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and fish and veg for dinner. I was fat and unhealthy and no amount of exercise changed this. I didn’t necessarily change my diet based on the China Study, but a lot of what Dr. Campbell says makes perfect sense, and mind you that The China Study was just a confirmation of other studies done by other scientists. But to me, I just used my common sense. Americans consume the most meat and dairy in the world, have the best health care but are still the most unhealthy people in the world, along with having the highest rates of cancer and osteoporosis. And everyone around me tries to avoid gluten and processed foods in favor of free range and grass fed and they’re still fat like I was and or dropping dead from CVD. The only way I was able to regain my health and become healthier than ever before was to adopt the plant based diet. And if that wasn’t enough, my father who ate grass fed beef and fish was fat and had a total cholesterol of 330 along with all the usual ie high blood pressure and so on. One day I got rid of all his meat and dairy and feed him a plant based diet and after only a few months he cut his cholesterol to a total of 133 and lost 80 lbs in the process and got off all his tons of meds, not to mention the statins which his doctor said he’d be on for life because supposedly his high cholesterol was “hereditary”. Once he got healthy, his doc pulled him off all meds and have him a print out which I had my RN friend translate and she confirmed that his “PROTEIN” levels and everything were normal, cholesterol was great, she was really glad that he got so healthy compared to how he was. So for me the evidence is clear, the elimination of animal products from the diet is the best and in my opinion the only way to optimal health as was achieved by me and my father along with the thousands of plant based dieters whom are online I talk to, among with 80 year old VEGAN bodybuilders and others who’ve been Vegan and disease free their whole lives. And as a side note I’d like to add that most of the healthiest ancient people in the world consumed wheat. Processed and adulterated is a problem yes, but everyone I know consumes wheat and has no adverse Keith issues. In contrary to your article, everyone I’ve ever known who went plant based got healthy. There are no scientific studies or health gurus needed for me to see that. Especially when when we physiologically have no need for animal products as I have learned through my diet mixed with intense exercise. I maintain my muscle and have trimmed excess fat with ease. I think recommending people consume animal products is irresponsible for two reasons, bad for human health and cruel for the animals. There is no such thing as “humane slaughter”, just the word slaughter in itself makes that apparent. And you should also remember that Dr. Campbell is not a VEGAN per se, he’s not into animal rights or other aspects of Vegan lifestyle, his work is based on his and his colleagues’ scientific observations. So I don’t see an agenda there, especially seeing as how he comes from a dairy family. I’m sure he wouldn’t bash the family profession without due process and cause. In my OPINION, I just think that people don’t like to hear that we shouldn’t eat animals, whether it’s a health argument or an animal rights one. People get rude, disrespectful and childish when we challenge long held beliefs. But the health of western countries may make Dr Campbell’s argument unnecessary as the personal and global effects of animal consumption are apparent for all to see. Thanks for reading.

      • Adrian says

        “I think recommending people consume animal products is irresponsible for two reasons, bad for human health and cruel for the animals. There is no such thing as “humane slaughter”, just the word slaughter in itself makes that apparent.”

        just the word slaughter in itself makes that apparent.
        just the word slaughter in itself makes that apparent.
        just the word slaughter in itself makes that apparent.

        You may say that Dr. Campbell doesn’t have an agenda, but I think you just gave away yours. Oops!

        • Jeremy says

          Not sure I see your point Adrian.

          So because Derk doesn’t believe in slaughtering animals he has an ‘agenda’? By that logic people who don’t believe in murder shouldn’t serve on the jury for a murder trial because they have an ‘agenda’.

          Derk’s post was well written and a good example of the benefits of a whole food plant-based diet.

          Dr. Campbell had no reason to push this message. As Derk already stated he grew up on a dairy farm. Dr. Campbell also went to the Philippines in the mid-60′s through the early 70′s to help feed the poor. They gave them the western diet rich in meat and dairy, etc thinking it would help them. It wasn’t until the local population started developing more disease (Specifically liver cancer in children) that he started to question his own beliefs. (In addition to other research)

          Another thing – the China Study book is not just one study. There’s only one chapter devoted to the china study itself. If you take the time to read the other 17 chapters you’ll find there’s plenty of other evidence out there pointing to the same conclusion.

          There are numerous peer reviewed research findings that support that a whole food plant-based diet prevents, suspends and/or cures cancers, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, kidney stones, osteoporosis, diabetes (Type I and II), Rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, macular degeneration, hypertension, acne, migraines, lupus, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive dysfunction + plus anecdotally erectile disfunction and pain.

          You may question the China Study itself, but when taken in conjunction with the other bodies of work available it takes a high level of confirmation bias to ignore the message.

      • jasper says

        great reply. We do not need so called professionals to tell us whats good and whats not. We can see around us what kills people, the answer is plain and simple. ANIMAL PRODUCTS. Our physiology is not that of a meat eater but rather a plant/fruit eater.

      • Aly says

        As you’ve stated, your entire argument is based on your own bias. You have experienced and witnessed others give up animal products and become healthier, therefore you believe animal products have adverse effects. In my experience, I have watched my autoimmune condition slowly disappear after ADDING meat and fish into my diet. I also know plenty of vegetarians and vegans, almost all who have some form of chronic health condition or deficiency (yes, even the ones who eat no soy). Being in the autoimmune community, you become exposed to a lot of these cases. After a standard, healthy plant-based diet took away my ability to function as a normal human over time (keyword: long-term), I obviously have my own bias of thinking animal products are important for optimal health. See how our own different life experiences can lead to opposite beliefs? This is why we shouldn’t go around preaching dogmatic views of nutrition. I will emphasize that I’m not advocating for bacon or large amounts of meat, nor am I suggesting dairy be a staple. Obviously every human has a different body, a different digestive system, a different array of food allergies, etc. But when you’re eliminating the only food sources with *natural, absorbable, and substantial* amounts of B12, CoQ10, L-carnitine, and vitamin D (the most common and effective supplements used in treating autoimmune illnesses), you are putting your long-term health at risk. It can take up to 10 years before a B12 deficiency becomes apparent. Short-term effects of a plant-based diet can definitely be rewarding, and as a former vegetarian, I can attest to the addictiveness and almost cult-like obsession of being meat free. It gives the sensation of being lighter and healthier. However, I would argue it’s the elimination of processed foods, chemicals, hormones, and refined sugars that heal your body. A diet with no processed foods, an emphasis on nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits, and a couple servings of organic, grass-fed meat and fish each week is not going to promote cancer and heart disease. It will, however, provide you with the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids to strengthen your immune system. A small amount of animal products with a plant-based emphasis: when will this dietary movement arise? Oh yeah, it has; it’s just referred to as a balanced, healthy diet. *And let’s be clear here: your mental health, including stress levels, sense of belonging, sense of community, happiness, is just as likely to cause cancer and heart disease. None of these dietary theories are even considering psychoneuroimmunilogy. Ultimately, everyone is entitled to their own diet choices. It initially felt wrong and repulsive when I started eating meat and fish, but things began falling into place once I did. It was a sacrifice I had to make for my own well-being. I strongly recommend all vegans and vegetarians get yearly micronutrient testing and pay close attention to any signs their bodies are becoming sick. I wish I had. Thank you for reading and I wish you the best.

  2. Chris Kresser says

    I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve said as much on the blog several times.

    Nevertheless, in China the evidence still shows that eating meat (regardless of where it comes from) is not unhealthy and that the strongest correlation between a dietary variable and disease was not meat, but wheat.

    • Jeremy says

      A PhD cancer epidemiologist responded to Minger’s research. As she seems more qualified than I am I would like to refer you to her response. (http://goo.gl/eawSsf)

      In summary your echoing her claim that wheat is the real evil suffers from the flaw of single variable analysis. Unless regression analysis is performed to address confounding variables Minger is really only completing the first step of the analysis.

      Might I add that Minger is a 26 year old with an undergraduate degree in English. This hardly qualifies her to critique the work of an 80 year old with masters in nutrition and biochemistry and Ph.D.’s in biochemistry, nutrition, and microbiology from Cornell University. Not to mention she is an internet blogger who’s work has not been published or peer reviewed.

      • Denis says

        All I see here are appeals to authority, there isn’t much refutation at all in that other than pointing out one ecological fallacy and stating that it was crude without any backing – So I guess we’ll just say that she used the ‘fallacy fallacy.’

        Maybe if she actually gave a comprehensive review of it, that link might be worth some time, but unfortunately as is, it isn’t.

        • Jeremy says

          Hi Denis,

          I provided the first link as it’s more of a quick overview for those who don’t have the time to read Dr. Campbell’s full response. If you found it too high level – I encourage you to read his official response. (http://goo.gl/93N2)

          He highlights plenty of reasons why Minger’s (And Kresser’s) conclusions are misleading. For example, Minger did not first consider the biological plausibility of their claims. They also failed to perform regression (multivariate) analysis taking into account confounding factors. Simply stating one variable moved when another variable moved is not sufficient to make a conclusion. (As is the case with the wheat claim)

          As for your ‘Appeal to Authority’ point – if you’re a student of fallacies I encourage you to take into consideration the ‘Argument from Fallacy.’ Just because someone raises a point that can be tied to a fallacy doesn’t mean that person’s point is invalid. There’s enough fallacies out there that most arguments can be tied to at least one.

          More specifically, stating Dr. Campbell’s experience and qualifications is not an important factor is a bit myopic. The same is true when evaluating the comments from the PhD cancer epidemiologist referenced in my previous post. When compared to Minger’s complete lack of qualifications or experience she doesn’t really belong in the same discussion.

          I look forward to hearing what you think of Campbell’s response.

          • Denise B says

            If Dr. Campbell’s credentials and experience were as significant as you seem to think they are, then the scientific community as a whole would be advising us to stop eating meat. His research would be on the front page of the newspapers. Every mainstream health organization would be citing him.

            Why aren’t they?

            Because he hasn’t proven anything. When and if anyone has, we will know about it. And not via a mass market diet book.

            He is just one guy out of many thousands with comparable qualifications, with all sorts of different opinions on the subject of optimum diet and research to back up those opinions. None of the research is definitive. It all conflicts with other research. You can find “proof” to match any opinion held by anyone. And you can also find lots of people who will tell you that all their health problems went away when they started eating x and/or stopped eating y, whatever x and y are. In short, you can believe whatever you want to believe and find things to reinforce your beliefs.

            So tell us, why exactly is it that you have decided he is the one person with all the answers? Because he has a PhD and published research? Sorry, not good enough. PhDs and published research are a dime a dozen. If you’re going to rely on reputation and credentials to guide you, then you should be relying on the consensus in the field, not one person. Especially one person who doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously by his peers.

            Dr. Campbell claims he used sophisticated statistical tools to analyze his data. If he made his claims in a scientific journal, we wouldn’t need Denise to challenge him; his peers would have done it. He would have had to describe those methods in detail so that they could be reviewed, validated and reproduced by others. Still waiting for that – and personal attacks on Denise are no substitute.

    • Christopher says

      Have you ever stopped to consider that the animal products which they consumed were likely organic, or at least nowhere close to the meat that we eat as far as feed, antibiotics, steroids, Bovine cancer, papillomas, etc………..?

  3. megan says

    I’ve never been healthier since switching to an almost all meat/fat diet 10 months ago. I eat almost no plants, absolutely no starches or sugars and high fat. My skin is good, my colour is good, my memory is better, my sense of direction is better, I’ve lost a ton of weight, my cavities don’t hurt anymore, I have more stamina, I’m not hungry all the time, my hair and nails are strong and shiny, I don’t get pms anymore, my mood is dead stable & calm……
    Ditch the grains. Ditch the sugar. Eat the animals. and sure, do it ethically and support ethical husbandry.

    • Tory says

      This makes me sad. I understand the appeal of fast fixes and the lure of diets that make you drop weight within a couple of months, but you’ll be in trouble for the long-term. Dr. Atkins hid his “history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension”, you know. Good luck when you’re older.

      • Stephen says

        I see you have fallen for the false hype on Dr. Atkins. Let me give you a little help, (just a quick and easy google search was all it took).

        “In 2000, Dr. Atkins developed cardiomyopathy, an incurable heart condition which has quite a few different causes. His was thought to be from a viral illness, and his physician stated at the time that there was no evidence that his diet contributed to the condition. His coronary arteries were reported to have been checked at that time and found to be free of blockages. “

    • Chris Kresser says

      Mysterious absence of China Study pushers on the comments of this post…

      Yes, they’ve gone awfully quiet all of a sudden.

      Don’t worry, I’m sure Campbell will publish a completely unconvincing and unsubstantiated response soon.

  4. Carole Crisp says

    Very interesting! I cannot tell you how many books, dvd’s, and online information I have read in the past few years trying to resolve what I believe about this subject. Ironically, while in the airport last week (returning from a MonaVie conference where at the same time Suzanne Somers was having an alternative conference and I ran into Dr. Julian Whitaker), I saw the China Study in the bookstore and “almost” bought it realizing that is one of the last books I hadn’t picked up to read but had heard so much about!
    Shame on me for straying from my own faith. 1 Timothy 4:3-5… They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
    That being said, I do believe this refers to “real, wholesome, unadulterated” food, not the garbage so readily available to us.
    Thanks for clarification once and for all!

    • jasper says

      you know that that verse tells you not to eat pork. cleansed by the WORD and prayer. The WORD/law states no pork should be eaten. And by the way Yahuwah said in genesis that we should eat herbs and fruits and after the fall of man HE included other plants. He never said in Genesis that we must eat meat.

  5. Jen says

    Thanks for this post!  I’m currently taking a class where I have to read The China Study and write a paper.  Oy!  You’ve given me some great sources for the paper ; ).

  6. jamie says

    Yes, I do believe that some people need to eat meat. If not most people. Those are just my beliefs, but I this, is interesting, to say the least. Veganism is ok, but I do not think you can take ANY diet and say that it is the right one for every human being. Veganism is plain not healthy, for some people. The fact of the matter is that some people just cannot absorb enough nutrients from vegan diets alone.

  7. says

    High Chris,
    Excellent post.   For years I supported reduced animal protein but that changed when I found certain nutrients were lacking in my diet.   I now eat red meat at least once weekly although it is usually lamb, buffalo, wild game or grass feed & finished beef.
    I have searched for years for John Yudkin’s research works on sugar and animal protein all to no avail.  Seems some of the wonderful research accomplished in the 1950′s & 60′s has mysteriously disappeared from the public arena.  I did find significant reference to it in Linus Pauling’s “How to Live Longer and Feel Better” from the 1980′s.
    Keep tweaking the thought processes.   -  Pdazzler

  8. Nick says

    I have not studied or even read the China report I really do not have to I am in the best shape of my life since I stopped eating meat,dairy and WHeat!  I eat mainly raw fruit,vegtables nuts and seeds.  That is what is good for me.  I do not have an agenda but it does not take a study by a vegan or the meat and dairy industry to see who is the fatest and unhealthy people and what they eat;  Sugar and wheat yes but to counter that what is healthier meat or vegtables?
    Each person is different but the higher the acid producing food the higher the chance of cancer and  heart disease which re the 2 hihgest rates of death in the US.  Which foods are high in acid and which are high in Alkaline no sudy or industry can hide the facts!

    • Maria says

      What’s better, meat or vegetables? Um, ideally, you don’t pick. You eat them both because both contribute different benefits to your health. I’m fascinated with the online comments tonight, many of them demanding that we pick a side, with no thought to the big picture. We need a good variety of all whole foods from the traditional 4 food groups.

      • says

        I was thinking exactly about this and as far as I am concerned we are NOT HERBIVORES and also NOT CARNIVORES either . WE ARE AND ALWAYS HAD BEEN OMNIVORES. I do eat a lot of vegetables,some fruits and nuts but also eat a lot of EGGS, FISH,SEA FOODS,BACON,CHEESE,BUTTER and all kinds of MEATS. I eat absolutely NO GRAINS of any kind, no pasta, no rice and specially NO SUGARS for over 5 years now. I eat VERY LITTLE FRUITS , specially AVOCADOS,COCONUT MEAT and BERRIES ! I also drink a lot o Coconut water straight from the Coconut fruit. I have lost 80 pounds in one year after i have removed WHEAT, GRAINS and SUGAR from my life . NO MORE FAST JUNK FOOD & SODAS either ! I have been feeling GREAT since i have decided to live a Low carb,High fat/protein way of eating. I do eat BEANS almost every day, and Potatoes,Yams,Sweet potatoes,Corn,Peas,Lentils and Yuca ,so I dont know how I would call my diet because the Paleo diet do not recomend Beans and other legumes, maybe I would call it “my style Atkins Diet “, either way i am NOT interested in DIET LABELS , so I would just call it Ray’s Diet ! I feel great on Ray’s diet so I will stick to it .Ray’s Diet is basically a WHOLE FOOD DIET ,GROUND FOODS and MEATS. NO REGRETS !

  9. jamie says

    to Nick: I found the video on youtube “Is Meat Always Acidifying?” to be very insightful.
     
     

  10. says

    Uggh I have to admit I used to be a big fan of the china study back in my vegetarian days (before I knoew better basically). No I look at it and wonder how I could have been so easily won by some sensationalist writing, but as a veggie I like Campbell himself saw what I wanted to see. Been primal for about 4 months now after a over a decade of vegetarianism and often veganism and I feel fantastic! No more IBS for me yay!
    Denise is such an inspiration, what a talented woman, I wish I had a fraction of her abilities :(

    http://foodfloraandfelines.blogspot.com/

  11. Todd S. says

    Sounds suspiciously like the same “methodology” used by one Ancel Keys – which started us down this whole low-fat highway to unhealth.

  12. Todd S. says

    @nick
    what is healthier meat or vegtables?


    Well, I would say look at evidence and you tell me.  I don’t think a case can be made that one is healthier than the other.  Both provide many of the same nutrients, but both also provide many things the other cannot.  Completely eliminating one or the other will eventually lead to problems as most hardcore vegans find out after a while.  I’ve yet to meet someone who has eaten nothing but meat for more than a couple weeks at a time so I can’t speak to that.

  13. says

    @ Todd
    I came across someone on a nutrition forum who was trying a meat only diet, they had only been on it a few months and seemed to be enjoying themselves and feeling good. You’d have to get plenty of organ meat into you though I’d say.
    If it were me and I had to choose, I’d go for meat, as far as i know vitamin C is one of the only nutrients you can’t get from meat and if you’re low carb enough you need very little anyway so I’d say you’d fare better a bit longer. You wouldn’t last long if you weren’t eating any real protein.

    http://foodfloraandfelines.blogspot.com/

  14. Sue says

    Mysterious absence of China Study pushers on the comments of this post…

    They’re all posting somewhere over at 30 Banananas!

    • Chris Kresser says

      Ah, it was inevitable. Unfortunately, none of those critiques you linked hold water. Denise’s analysis was impeccable, as many working physicians and researchers in the field have attested to. “Robert” makes so substantive criticism about her work other than to say it should be peer reviewed. By his own admission, he hasn’t “checked her math”.

      This is all so predictable. It’s just human nature. People will go to great lengths to defend their worldview, regardless of what the evidence shows. I’ve said it a million times before: “you can’t fight faith with facts.”

  15. Todd S. says

    Sue called it on the 30 Bananas bit.  Too funny.
     
    “you can’t fight faith with facts.”
    I would argue that’s the only way to fight it.  Sadly, you can’t fight the faithful with facts.  Or rather, you can’t get them to observe.

  16. Tuoli says

    Maybe it would be good to look at the raw data yourself. Here is what happened with the Tuoli:

    “[M]eat consumption for one of the counties, Tuoli, was clearly not accurate on the 3 days that the data were being collected. On those days, they were essentially eating as if it were a feast to impress the survey team but on the question of frequency of consumption over the course of a year, it was very different.”
    -Dr. Campbell (http://tynan.net/chinastudyresponse)
     
    They only collected data for 3 days…and they were feasting to show off to the westerners. I wonder why Denise looked over this part? And if she wants to make herself credible I hope she is working to submit a peer review of her study to publish.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Ah, yes. Data collection. Interesting that you’d bring up possible inconsistencies with the Tuoli without mentioning the many other cases in the China Study where data collection was also questionable or inconsistent. That is one of the major reasons we can’t draw conclusions from epidemiological studies, as Daniel pointed out. Campbell should know this. It’s one of the first things taught in Research Methodology 101. But somehow even experienced researchers seem to forget it – especially when amnesia is expedient.

      And as long as we’re talking about population based studies, what of the several traditional cultures around the world (i.e. Masai, Inuit, etc.) whose diets are composed almost entirely of animal products – and who eat little, if any, plant food? If Campbell were right, these would be among the unhealthiest people in the world. But these populations are relatively free of the modern diseases killing us today. That suggests animal products are not the culprit.

      Denise made several important points in her analysis about how the data were collected, but more importantly, how they were interpreted (and which data were left out of the analysis entirely). I haven’t seen one critique of Denise’s work that addresses her points directly. Until that happens, you can’t expect us to take any of it seriously.

      And I’d be careful about making the argument that we should ignore her analysis because it isn’t peer reviewed. Because then we might ask you to start showing us well-designed, peer-reviewed trials proving that animal products are harmful and that a plant-based diet is beneficial.

        • Curious says

          Chris,

          Thanks for the post and all the time you have put in on this – Would consider taking the time to answer a few more questions?

          Do you have an additional response to Tuoli and Mike – looks like you stopped replying when it was really getting interesting.

          Tuoli
          - Do you have anymore to say on this other then the whole study could be inconsistent?
          - Is there a meat eating research study that can compare with the size, duration and scope of the china study (I keep reading research only to find out it is based on a short duration and/or sample size)?

          Mike’s Post
          - Inuits and Masa have numerous health problems?

          Additional
          - Is there any research to show if you had to and if were educated like yourself could you live as healthy as a meat eater (again, under the premiss that you really knew what you were doing)?

          - On the subject of no evidence for cancer fighting and being a Vegan would you mind watching this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30gEiweaAVQ
          - Is there a meat eating comparison to these facts?

      • Tory says

        Chris,

        I agree with you that the Inuit and Maasai do not have many of the “affluent diseases” that we have. Personally, I believe that is due to a ton of processed food and simply excess amounts of calories and weight.

        However, it is true that of all of the primitive populations in the world, the Masai and the Inuit are the LEAST healthy.

        “Inuit Greenlanders, who historically have had limited access to fruits and vegetables, have the worst longevity statistics in North America. Research from the past and present shows that they die on the average about 10 years younger and have a higher rate of cancer than the overall Canadian population.

        Similar statistics are available for the high meat-consuming Maasai in Kenya. They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that, historically, Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2″

        http://www.who.int/countries/ken/en/

        It makes sense that the human body will find nutrients in any situation, which is why the Inuit can receive all of their essential vitamins from a meat and fat based diet. But that does not mean that it is optimal.

  17. Daniel says

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Chris. You can’t reason with a faithful, no matter what the religion is.
    @ Tuoli: What a convenient explanation by Dr. Campbell to nullify any data or “black swans” that does not agree with his point of view. Does he do the same for the other counties?  He should instead make public his methodology so we can compare his results and methods with Denise Minger’s. It’s surprising that that Denise is held to a higher degree of scrutiny and standard than Dr. Campbell.
    China study is just epidemiology, and epidemiology cannot prove cause and effect. China study is only at best a hypothesis that animal food causes disease. As shown by Denise, it is cherry picking at it’s best and lots of leap of logic. Like casein cause cancer => animal proteins cause cancer.
     

  18. Todd S. says

    Not to mention the modern cultures like the Swiss and Scandinavians who consume large amounts of dairy and don’t exhibit the preponderance of “diseases of civilization” that we do.

    • Kristoffer says

      That is Bs. I am From Denmark. We have the very high rates of osterporosis, cancer in all kinds and heart attacts. We also consume huge amounts of Animal products. and people here are quite heavy looking in general. same goes for norway and sweeden.

  19. Chris Kresser says

    And not to mention the lack of evidence that ANY traditional cultures followed a vegan diet. In fact, even those cultures that were predominantly vegetarian went to great lengths to obtain animal products (like shellfish or insects) to supplement their diet with.

    Since evolutionary biology tells us humans evolved eating animal products, the burden of proof is on those who claim our natural diet is somehow “unhealthy”.  And so far there’s absolutely no such proof.

  20. says

    What a frightening coffin Chris. Makes it a little obnoxious. And what to do with the coffin when the study is in there? Burry or burn it? Couldn’t we just file and forget about this observational study and the often irrelevant, multi interpretable underlying data?

  21. says

    I’d never heard of 30 bananas before seeing it mentioned in the comments here and then they showed up on my blog spamming my post (where I recommended people to visit Denise’s blog) with a load of links to criticisms of her analysis! Visited the site, pretty hardcore stuff.

  22. Daniel says

    I am wandering if they are cutting their own foot by criticizing Denise “over-simplified” method because she’s trying to replicate Campbell’s method.

  23. Chris Kresser says

    I am wandering if they are cutting their own foot by criticizing Denise “over-simplified” method because she’s trying to replicate Campbell’s method.

    Exactly.  All Minger is doing is what Campbell should have done – but didn’t – in the first place.  Any criticism of the weakness of drawing conclusions fro epidemiological studies simply strengthens Minger’s critique.

  24. says

    Gday crew,nice blog.
    How come NONE of these pro meat bloggers have any real muscle with all that protein talk? :)
    Come and see if ANY of you guys can out bench press/dead lift us at
    http://www.veganbodybuilding.com
    http://www.veganstrength.org
    http://www.organicathlete.org
     
    Here is the website for the doubters.
    http://www.pcrm.org
     
    Mike Arnstein ran a 2:28 marathon this year at Boston. He is the FASTEST runner in the raw food movement today. Long time vegan and now powered by sweet fruit. How come there is no competitive athletes eating this ‘paleo fat diet?’ Please shut me up and show me cos Im sick of seeing cardio and muscle deficient paleo crew trying to debunk the china study that us elite athletes are thriving on.
    Can you debunk me with a high fat eating  paleo athlete?
    Didnt think so.. :)
     
    Love, peace and banana grease.
     
    Durianrider
     

    • alexandru benza says

      this might be my only response. bill rogers ran 28 marathons under 2:15. “As a kid, he put ketchup on brownies, peanut butter on eggs, mayonnaise on everything,” says Martha Chuprevich, Rodgers’s younger sister.

      oh look, another elite athlete that destroys your one reference, decades removed nonetheless. but at least you have your benching and deadlifting and whatever other manliness keeps your single digit iq sharp.

      i feel like your response is only damaging to those in defense of the china study’s recommendations/methodology/etc who search for one damn reliable truth in this and the overarching general nutrition debate.

      you sound like a big dumb animal. i’ve been reading and researching for weeks now after finishing the china study, and your comment is the only one i’ve responded to because it is so mindless, baseless, pointless, and utterly infuriating that my fingers were literally possessed.

      i’ll be looking for you when you jump on the next nutritional bandwagon and keep the same pissing-contest chest-thumping “look at mah pecs” machismo.

      • Tory says

        Alexandru,

        Don’t be scared off by him. I’m plant-based, and even I am doubtful of Durianrider (and his girlfriend Freelee), the pair who basically started the 30 bananas a day craze.

        Look into it more, and stay away from radical ideas. That includes people who eat one food (bananas) or suddenly decide one nutrient is the cause of all health problems (wheat).

        Nutrition should be simple, people! No one should have to tell you how to eat.

        In my personal opinion, I think meat is okay in very small, very tiny quantities. I do not think dairy is a good choice. And I think eggs can be a good protein choice if they are completely free range and pasture raised.

        That being said, I am plant-based because it is the easiest, cleanest, best for the environment and animals, and makes me feel good.

  25. Todd S. says

    Well, first off, paleo eschews chronic cardio (see “marathon running”).  Second, I’d like to see these muscle-bound vegan marathoners myself.  Equating competitive athletics with actual health is such a fallacy to begin with.

  26. Daniel says

    You guys can just ignore them. Since they can’t reason or argue properly with logic, they are now resorting to spamming all the paleo or health blogs that they can find.

  27. anneh says

    I happened upon this website and saw this blog. First of all what a nasty bunch of people you are but perhaps thats from all that meat you are eating! I am 70yo mostly raw vegetarian for the last 20 years. I feel great. I don’t need the China Study, just one look at a slaughter house was enough for me to realize I don’t need to eat the blood and flesh of animals. Have you ever heard of Scott and Helen Nearing? I think they both lived to be in their 90″s and were vegetarians. One can eat meat or not and be healthy as long as diet has plenty of alternative proteins (I don’t personally eat soy) and plenty of fruits and veggies.

    • Hello! says

      I like your comment, this is so interesting. I was curious to see if the China Study held water. Attacking it so vehemently and emotionally, belittling vegans, or anyone that does not blindly take their side doesn’t sound very open minded. I’m a vegan, my husband eats a ton of meat. We respect each others choices on the subject. You can always find evidence to back whatever you want to believe. Reading the rude, belittling comments on here make me embarrassed I ever ate meat. I understand vegans can be obnoxious, sure, but you guys have them beat. I became a vegan thanks to the way animals were treated, and after the fact noticed how incredible I felt. I lost weight, my endurance sky rocketed, and I haven’t even had a cold in years. My brother on the other hand was vegan for 2 months, then switched back to eating eggs and found he felt better. My point is, there’s evidence and scientific studies, as well as loopholes for both sides. I would have more respect for your opinions if you would have more respect for mine.

  28. says

    <BLOCKQUOTE>”I hope your teacher isn’t vegan! Or if she is, that she’s open minded.”</BLOCKQUOTE>

    If vegans had the capacity to be open-minded, they wouldn’t be vegan.

  29. says

    “If it were me and I had to choose, I’d go for meat, as far as i know vitamin C is one of the only nutrients you can’t get from meat…”

    Some organ meats are high in vitamin C. Personally, I’m perfectly happy being an omnivore and getting my vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

    I’ve experimented with both extremes and arrived at the conclusion that I feel best when there are both plant and animal foods in my diet. Note that Dr. Weston Price’s own findings don’t support the idea that a carnivorous diet is the healthiest (though I’d certainly choose a carnivorous diet over a vegan one).

  30. says

    “First of all what a nasty bunch of people you are but perhaps thats from all that meat you are eating!”
    Hey, I’m sure Hitler would agree with you! He was vegetarian too.

  31. says

    “I am 70yo mostly raw vegetarian for the last 20 years. I feel great.”
     
    I’d be more impressed if you were 70, in great health, and had been a vegan your entire life.
     
    “I don’t need the China Study, just one look at a slaughter house was enough for me to realize I don’t need to eat the blood and flesh of animals.”
     
    You don’t have to kill animals in order to add animal products to your diet. Animals don’t die when you consume eggs and dairy products taken from humanely-raised animals.
    You might also want to note that producing the plants you like to eat (which are themselves living things) involves killing or displacing the wildlife that inhabited the fields they’re grown in.
    Any way you dice it, if you want to eat, something is going to have to die.

  32. jaakko says

    Louis and Clark were feeding their men 20-30 lbs of meat per day as I recall from reading their reports–this is public record. Could that have been true? Did some soldiers eat that much meat in the 19th century? Maybe that was simply a cow per day for 10 men and as such total weight of an animal or something? Anybody ever eat 20 lbs of meat in one day here?

    • stanley says

      go google “DeniseMinger ‘s response to Colin Campbell’s critic”.

      And Denise is not the only one who criticise Campbell.
      And even the best universities in the world could fail us too. They have been telling us to eating low fat since the 1960s, and obesity rate has been raising ever ever…

  33. Kathy says

    Thanks for the link, and I’ll be sure to read the article as well as Susan’s link to the response.

    However, I don’t get where all the anger is coming from. If you want to eat meat, or even lots of meat, you should go ahead. Even doctors not advocating a vegan diet are almost unanimous in what the likely consequences will be. But we all need to make our choices based on what’s most important to us.

    As for me, I won’t switch away from the China Diet because it dropped my way too high cholesterol 70 points in a few months. My doctor had insisted I start on cholesterol lowering-drugs immediately, but when I retested she didn’t ask what technique I’d used to achieve such dramatic results – she just said I should keep it up, and that’s just what I plan to do

  34. Chris Kresser says

    High cholesterol is not an issue in most cases, and low cholesterol (<150 mg/dL) is actually associated with increased mortality, cognitive decline (including Alzheimer's), depression, low libido and several other problems. The American public has been sold a bill of goods when it comes to saturated fat, cholesterol and heart disease.

    It's all covered here: http://chriskresser.com/i-have-high-cholesterol-and-i-dont-care

  35. Kathy says

    One reason I didn’t want to go on statins is that it seems like they somehow lower serum cholesterol readings without preventing heart attacks. That’s not to say that they don’t somewhat improve a person’s odds of dying from a heart attack, but not by as much as you’d think. And it makes sense to me that the statins could improve that one statistic without curing the disease – sounds like they treat the symptoms more than the cause of heart disease.

    However, it doesn’t mean that high cholesterol readings should be disregarded. It still means that I had a much higher risk of dying of a heart attack. If I didn’t want the statins it’s because I don’t think they help all that much, but more importantly, they have miserable side effects.

    The trouble with your reasoning (I watched the video linked above) and with Denise Minger’s (now I’ve read her article) is that neither one of you seems to understand how statistics are used to isolate risk factors. High blood cholesterol readings are just one element of risk; others include family history, smoking, etc. I’ve no doubt that if a person smokes a couple of packs a day going on a low-fat diet isn’t going to help a whole lot, but you can only sort that out from the data on heart disease by using statistics.

    Statistics are used to discover patterns. So it could be that for some reason an ethnic group, like the aborigines cited in the video, have very high cholesterol and a low incidence of heart disease. But it may be that schlepping across Australia all day in the hot sun for some reason prevents the problem. The statistics, however, show that *on average* there is a strong connection between high serum cholesterol and heart disease. Therefore, until I too make it part of my daily routine to trek across the desert, eat roasted ‘roo meat, and whatever all else may make aborigines less susceptible to heart attack (and somebody really should do a study and find out what that is), I’ll continue to watch my cholesterol.

    But truly, it’s your life, your health, and your decision. You should do what makes you happiest.

  36. Chris Kresser says

    The statistics, however, show that *on average* there is a strong connection between high serum cholesterol and heart disease.

    This statement is false, as I’ve shown with several articles on this blog with citations from major peer-reviewed journals. There is a very weak correlation between total and LDL cholesterol and heart disease. Most researchers in the field now agree that heart disease is caused by oxidative damage and inflammation – not high total cholesterol levels.

    I understand very well how statistics are used to isolate risk factors. That’s exactly my point. When other factors are controlled for, high cholesterol is not a significant risk factor for heart disease. Period.

  37. Kathy says

    Thanks for the info.

    Your articles are nicely written and so not too difficult to read in spite of the complexity of the topic, but of course the medical links present more of a challenge. But it’s an important topic to me, so I’ll give it some time and attention and keep your blog bookmarked.

  38. lysa says

    What is your take on the blue zone vegan folks in Loma Linda Ca. Of all the blue zone folks they live the longest and are the healthest?

  39. Jim Johnson says

    Regardless of the health benefits of animal products, I’m wondering if the ethics of killing animals for our benefit is a concern for anyone. I recently saw an article posted on a respected paleo blog about the dangers of eating legumes due to their various antinutrients. The article basically asked why anyone would expose themselves by making such a bad choice given the availability of organic grass fed animal products. After thinking about it a while, I thought that the answer was pretty straight forward — the ends do not justify the means, and eating a legume does not require the suffering and death of a sentient creature. Can we say that it is morally licit to end sentient life, which can feel suffering and pain, so that we can eat “optimally”? I personally don’t think one can make a strong case for continuing to kill animals in the name of perfect or optimal human nutrition. Butchering an animal, even one that is well cared for, is rarely if ever a humane act. How many paleo goers among us are willing to go do the dirty work of killing the animals ourselves? I am a former paleo guy who believes we all need to be honest about the ethics of our actions given that we are beings capable of rational decision making as opposed to the lion who kills a zebra for food. The startling truth is that even if killing animals DOES lead to optimal human nutrition as we all believe, that doesn’t make it ethically sound.

    • Thoughts says

      Define “ethics”. “Self-sacrifice” is in no way a universal good. Demanding another’s self-sacrifice because it ought to be recognized aa good appears far more bad, objectively, than good.

      Also, please factor in the wildlife and ecosystems displaced by the fields or similar structures used to plant plants, and deaths thereof.

      “Killing” being always inherently bad is actually a rather modern notion. Fear of death or non-safety seems far more potentially harmful as a tenet in practice than pursuing a life which is lived, and fearing a life which was not worthwhile or lived and faced danger, challenge, joy, and beauty wholeheartedly.

      • Susiejo says

        People complain about it being wrong to kill an animal just so we can eat but what most people don’t realize is that if animals are not killed for food, they will over populate and die out from hunger and diseases anyways. Animals that are consumed by humans can and do over populate. We had a serious deer over population a few years back and it was nothing to take a walk in the woods and find a deer half dead and suffering from disease or starvation.

        We raise our own food, everything from garden produce to our own beef as well as fruits, we like to know what we are eating and that it is free of pesticides and hormones. I know very well what a slaughter house looks like and I still eat beef. We have raised and killed our own chickens as well so I am not some city person who doesn’t know or think about where that package do hamburger actually came from, but I also know what happens to these poor animals if they over populate.

    • Thoughts says

      Also, please explain whether lions killing and eating gazelles are “immoral”. Or, omnivorous wild boar eating other creatures, rather than subsisting on plants.

      And again, examine your premises. A good, clear, honest argument cannot be made without an awareness of these.

      E.g. “Killing is always inherently bad.”

      Hand-waving and assumptions do not qualify as proof.

      • Julie says

        >>Also, please explain whether lions killing and eating gazelles are “immoral”. Or, omnivorous wild boar eating other creatures, rather than subsisting on plants.<<<

        Please explain why the men in your neighborhood don't wait in line at the doorsteps of the ovulating females, ready to hump them and spread their "seed," as soon as they walk out the door.

        We are not barbaric beasts.

        We are evolving, compassionate beings who care about the well-being/misery of sentient beings. Think!

  40. Andrew Roughan says

    >One thing I can count on every time I write an article extolling the health benefits of animal products is someone sending me an email or posting a comment like this:

    >> I think you’re absolutely wrong. You should read: The China Study, by Dr. T. Collin Campbell.

    Just in the interests of full disclosure, have you actually read The China Study (the whole book) or just critiques of it?

  41. mog57 says

    I am what Pollan describes as a reluctant omnivore in that I continue to eat animals. I struggle with the fact that an animal’s death is necessary to nourish me in the most optimum way. Yet the research leads me to the conclusion that as humans who have fought their way up the food chain over millions of years, and whose biology reflects that of other animals, we do albeit reluctantly need animal nutrients to thrive. I feel the fear and the panic of every animal that has lost its life for the benefit of mine and insist that such animals live freely as nature intended and that there is no suffering. I have nothing but thanks and respect for them. If it can be absolutely shown that a plant based diet is what is necessary for optimum health I will put up with the belly aches and embrace the plants. Until then I will continue to eat meat and give thanks for the wonder of the cycle of life and death and tread as lightly and compassionately as I can. I think we should all be mindful of what or what we don’t eat and for what purpose.

  42. Rich says

    I personally read the entire China Study book and did a bunch of personal research on diet. Trust me, if I felt that eating ice cream, bacon and cheese was good for me I would be all over it. I am 60 years old and have been vegetarian for over 15 years and vegan for about 1 year. My cardiovascular is better. I weigh about the same as I did in high school and am in the shape of my life. I never get sick anymore and I mountain bike about 6,000 miles per year. My friends who are on high meat crap diets although much younger are overweight and can not hang with me.
    I am on a whole foods plant based diet, and do not shun carbohydrates but I make sure they are quality carbs and not the junk that they sell in almost every aisle at the standard supermarket. No meat or dairy for me.
    I know people love their meat and dairy, but it ain’t or me. I have read the critiques from Denise on Campbell’s work and his responses. I think you can pick apart any study and have a gotcha moment, but looking at the totality of the evidence that Campbell presents is very convincing in my eyes. He is very convincing in his debate against Dr. Eric Westman (an Atkins guy). Westman kept saying that he and Colin were stating the same thing but differently, and I said to myself What????? Their recommended diets are as different as night and day.
    Cambell is 79 years of age, having outlived his dad who died of a heart attack, so his diet must be doing something good for him. I suggest that a source to look at is that of Dr. McDougall: http://www.drmcdougall.com/free.html
    Hey eat what you want cause non of us are going to get out of this alive, but I have chosen a diet and lifestyle that I believe will allow me to maximize my time on this earth and be healthy and active for the duration.

    • Thanks says

      Rich,

      Thanks for your message and for the tone in which you wrote it. As someone trying to settle on a opinion, it is really heard to get any traction. People on forums like this sound like our two political parities arguing.

      One thing that I found is a lot of people like you (Bill Clinton to name one). I have yet to find someone that is later in years (50 or above) say they increased meat consumption and are better off for it – most say (at that age) they know it should go but can’t give it up.

      Maybe Chris will find some people over 50 that went from vegan to meat eating and post it here (Chris if you do, please follow Rich’s tone and keep it positive – the spite and bitterness is exhausting on these things).

      • Maria says

        Not sure if I’d use Bill Clinton as a successful example of vegan health. He continued to have trouble maintaining his weight loss and 10 years after he turned vegan, he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery after a heart attack.

    • Denise B says

      Do you think the fact that you have been a vegetarian for 15 years may have influenced you to think Dr. Campbell’s evidence is compelling?

      I’m coming from a place of being on the fence on dietary matters. I think it’s probably a good idea to limit intake of processed and adulterated food and sugar, eat a variety of things and eat moderate quantities, but other than that I think the jury is out.

      But it’s fascinating to see how a discussion of what is supposedly scientific evidence devolves into a bunch of people pushing the beliefs they already hold, or citing anecdotal evidence that their diet is superior.

      Is it possible to have a rational discussion of whether or not Dr. Campbell has made his case convincingly, without being sidetracked by people’s personal habits or dietary belief systems?

      Because, frankly, what random people on the internet eat or believe is not of interest to me. Why would it be?

  43. Todd S. says

    Yes Chris, you really should personally respond to each and every blog, video, study and comment on the Internet that takes a position opposing your own. Even 3 years on from the posting of this article. /sarcasm

  44. Julie says

    So since you are citing Denise Minger, please share with us her credentials. Who is she? The only thing I can tell is that she’s a blogger with an English degree from Northern Arizona State. Is she a nutritionist? What makes her “research” valid?

    • Brittany says

      She didn’t do research, she took Campbell’s own data and examined them. The data doesn’t say what he says it does.

  45. Vita says

    Gosh, why do all those vegan people just randomly hang around a paleo website? So that they could throw some random quote or video and demand to explain it? I just don’t get it. I don’t go to their websites and don’t demand them to momentarily convert to eating meat, why the heck do they come here?

    • says

      Vita,

      I’m not vegan but I can answer your question. They came here because this article shows up in a search of “The China Study.” Some vegans and vegetarians search for info on it and then find this article.

  46. xavier sorrentini says

    Hi I almost died i think from that stupid 30 bananas a day diet. Ill tell you what happened. I was vegan for about a year just a normal vegan not the extreme fruitarian.

    Anyway so i started seeing those idiot 30 bananas a day people on youtube making it like this diet would make you live forever or something.

    So I tried the fruit diet I was feeling really good when in week two i had a 10 banana smoothie mixed with a lot of spinach i downed that then went for a like 40 minute jog. I was on top of the world and feeling good so i actually jogged to the Starbucks to just relax cause i was feeling so good.

    Anyway at the Starbucks I started feeling funny and felt really spacey and I started seeing spots I thought i was going to die. It probably was from too much sugar anyway i was scared I was thinking should i wait it out or go to the hospital.

    So I saw a carls jr across the street so i went and ordered a low carb burger and ate it and the spaciness and spots i was seeing stopped almost immediately.

    But i was still so sick so i walked home really slow it was only across the street but I knew I needed to be in bed cause i was sick so I made it home and threw up bananas and spinach it felt like for a few hours as soon as i threw up i started feeling so much better. When my body threw up the poison all that sugar i slept and knew i would live and woke up feeling good.

    The next day i was pissed at what those morons did to me so I left a comment on durianriders youtube video letting him know his diet almost killed me and he looked like hell.

    Anyway this is a true story i really don’t know how anybody can last even a few weeks on 5000 calories a day on fruit sugar without something happening to them like it did to me.

    • sevenperfumes says

      “what those morons did to me”?

      Blaming a wacky diet that you chose to go on, all by yourself, is a little silly. Those kinds of extreme diets are never a good idea. Neither is Carl’s Jr.

      Balance is the key.

      It also sounds like you may have had a stomach virus.

  47. Elizar Tringov says

    I disagree that Campbell is wrong in his response. He is absolutely right, Denise is not his peer, she is nowhere near the level of researcher as Campbell is, so how can she critique his work? It would be like someone who is an amateur boxer who started boxing 2 or 3 years ago critiquing Floyd Mayweather on his form, or his skills or anything he does in the ring.

    • JD the DJ says

      Well, his peers criticize his work too, but Denise is a better writer and is good at math to boot.

      You’re using the “appeal to authority” argument, which is a well-known logical fallacy, though it seems to be a favorite among Campbell supporters. Show us where her math is wrong and we’ll listen.

      • Denise B says

        Where do his peers criticize his work? Show me, please. I’ve been looking.

        I can’t find any of his peers referencing the China Study one way or the other. I can scarcely find anyone discussing it who is not a nutrition blogger with a dietary belief system to push.

        To me, this absence of interest is a clue that his work has no scientific credibility. If he came even close to proving his claims, there should be more people talking about it than just the vegan and paleo folks. Where are they?

  48. Chester says

    Selfish people, you don’t count the animal suffering and the environmental destruction caused by the meat dairy egg industry. Open your mind; be kind to the sentient beings, sentient like you!

    • Denise B says

      Because the animal suffering is completely irrelevant to the subject at hand, which is not whether people should eat meat or not but whether the health claims made in the China Study book are valid.

      Being a vegetarian and recommending it to others on moral or environmental grounds is one thing, and the claims that eating meat causes cancer is another entirely.

  49. sevenperfumes says

    I am currently taking T Colin Campbell’s plant-based nutrition course so that I have a better understanding of his research. It’s fascinating.

    Before that, I was paleo for about a day, until I saw the cookbooks. A 55% meat-based diet is not common sense. SOme of these cookbooks suggest eating meat two and three times a day. Can you say colon cancer?

    At any rate, what I noticed in the plant-based diet class is that T Colin Campbell is simply the opposite side of the same coin. Extremist. He’s arguing that “all” animal protein is bad and causes cancer and degeneratives diseases. I don’t think that’s the answer either (hello EPA and DHA and vitamin B12!). And while I give any vegan or vegetarian credit for refusing to eat meat on an ethical and environmental level, I still believe there needs to be a balance. And I don’t see that happening with either of these worldviews. Each of you have a very narrowminded agenda based on data and not common sense.

    While humans have been eating meat for millions of years, they have not

    1. eaten unlimted amounts of it per day (as we have access to)
    2. eaten fat, well taken care of pastured animals, but rather wild, leaner animals
    3. eaten pre-packaged, processed corn-fed, conventional animals stripped of almost all their nutrients

    So, as much as theoretically, we’d all like to think 55% meat is a good thing, it’s not. At least not in today’s day and age.

    However, we should not deny ourselves completely of “all” meat. The EPA and DHA found in fatty fish like salmon and sardines has hundreds and thousands of studies backing its positive effects. In fact, singling out DHA alone–you cannot deny its brain power–something TCC flat out denies.

    At any rate, common sense and balance are the key. And I don’t see either of those things in either of these world views.

  50. loveandgratitude says

    i was advised by a personal trained (who later told me he was jacked up on steroids) to try ‘palio’ and buy a bunch of expensive supplements from him (aka atkins, low carb) i stayed on it for about 2 years and in the end was feeling so crap and depressed like i was in a comma from lack of carbs. As soon as i started eating rice and potatoes again and cut out all animal products i felt better and more motivated to enjoy life. A friend of mine who is still on it just went to the hospital to have kidney treatment caused by all the excess protein and animal fat, another friend has to have heart surgery and until recently he beveled that Eskimos were healthiest people on the planet despite me showing him studies that their average lifespan was 29 years.

    Countless proper medical studies and years of real scientific evidence (not some english major student with a wordpress blog and a modem like Minger etc) say that low carb high protein diets are dangerous and cancer causing, Atkins died from it and was obese. China Study used research compiled by over half a million Chinese over decades. You dont event need that i’ve been to asia the high carb rice and veg eaters are slim and healthy and those that eat wester diet are obese and unhealthy they now even have obese children there for the first time because of all the meat and dairy the new generation is consuming in McDonalds and kfc over there. Go to Asia and see it for yourself Mr Kresser before you spread any more of this poisonous nonsense on people who are desperate to regain their health. Is this the kind of contribution you want to make in this world ? Increase human and animal suffering, why ? do you can sell some more toxic supplements ?

    all your low carb ‘gurus’ are nothing more than infomercial ‘gurus’ trying to get rick quick from sale of supplements with no real regard for peoples health just look at their websites, if these ‘palio’ diets are so healthy why do you need all these supplements, are supplements something that comes from the palio times perhaps ?

    palio. low carb – It a scam and fraud , buyer beware. do your own research and consult your doctor and dangers of high protein eating and benefits of whole natural foods.

  51. erica says

    Freshly published where? Her blog?

    As someone already pointed out, Minger is a 26 year old with an undergraduate degree in English.

    I’ve read the China Study. I can’t say that I agree with it. I think that if someone is in really bad shape, then they ought to follow the advice 100% The rest of us can safely play the odds and eat a hamburger once in a while.

    That being said the fact that Dr. Campbell even shares his raw data speaks to his “bias”. The man was raised on a dairy farm and pushed milk his whole life……until the results proved himself wrong.

    Your article makes it sound as if Dr. Campbell grew up in the back of a VW bug with vegan parents, and that he now pushes his own vegan agenda.

    The fact that no one is posting contrary opinions to this article is probably because you’re backing the play of a 20-something English major.

  52. Bob says

    Vegans are like anti gun,anti anything people that become crazy if your not agreeing with them. They lack critical thinking and live by emotion. If you don’t eat meat fine,just leave me to eat mine in piece………s

    • Jeremy says

      Sounds to me like you’re anti-plant Bob. I question how much critical thinking you’ve done to come to the conclusion meat is necessary or even healthy for us.

      I encourage you to dig deeper. Or perhaps you can kindly point out the critical thinking you’ve done that leads to the conclusion meat is necessary.

  53. says

    Thank you for this post. However, the links in your p.s. part are invalid. Can you please direct me to the debate between Loren Cordain and Dr. Campbell that you mentioned.
    Thank you

  54. Healthyfit1 says

    What I always find so curious in these debates over dietary choices where medical this and scientifically that, is they all seem to ignore the big, pink elephant in the room called our anatomical design. How about deriving direction from common sense observation of our digestive equipment? The shape of the teeth, our digestive enzymes, length of our intestines, our fingernails over claws… or the fact that most of us see a puppy and want to cuddle and caress it over a instinctual kill and consumption of it guts and organs.
    It’s just not the complex mystery that the medical and scientific communities like to project. Our design tells us the answers as to what optimally fuels the body and supports our internal healing mechanisms. Everything else is about arguing for power, greed, to be “the authority or right”, and most to the point – justifying what we prioritize or desire. There is an argument for every piece of food and addiction out there. You can have all the degrees in the world, there is no arguing the design of the human body.
    Nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, hydration, alkalinity, air, sunlight, detoxification/elimination, optimal digestion, assimilation, absorption… what works with the body’s design to provide all of this? Plant kingdom on & off land, end of story!

  55. Brent says

    I mean really? I think its silly, I mean utter silliness, that you are using Denise as a source. She is a woman in her early twenties who is nothing more than a blogger with zero, I repeat ZERO educational background in nutrition. Her age would indicate a lack of life experiences in that arena as well. If you want to bash something like the China study to death using someone such as Denise simply bashes your own credibility. There are a lot of issues with her blog. Lets start with the fact that she regularly deletes any comment posted that points out anywhere that she may be wrong, or any critique, or anything at all that would indicate that she is not 100% accurate. If she was confident in her stance she would not need to erase these comments. Secondly in her ex vegan story posted on her blog she states that after a year of becoming a raw vegan following the 80/10/10 diet that she was deficient in B12 because she followed instructions and did not take a supplement. It is a ridiculous lie that the 80/10/10 diet states to not take a supplement, if anyone bought the book it says to supplement B12 in nice bold letters. Also it is questionable to say the least the she became deficient after only a year considering your liver holds between 2 and 7 years of B12 reserves, unless of course she was had a deficient going into the diet, which of course was never tested. All in all im just trying to say that anyone should be very careful taking nutritional advice form someone in their early twenties without any background in nutrition.

  56. Helen says

    Just writing to say that I can’t believe you posted this in response to the China Study. How very embarrassing for you.

  57. Alan Clayton says

    So Chris, two thoughts…

    1) Are you saying a meat based diet is nearly always better than a plant based diet ?

    2) Would you promote the idea of converting ‘x’ vegetable food calories into ‘x-y’ meat calories ? (feeding animals lots of calories of veggy food to produce less ultimate calories of food)

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