Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's Rant: "The China Study"- Why this fad is dangerous and uneducated.

The first I heard about "The China Study" was when I posted a topic on Calcium a couple months ago. I didn't bother researching it because it sounded so ridiculous, I wasn't about to waste my time. Now, the subject has been brought to my attention again, and I am finding out that some doctors and pediatricians are also following this fad, and although I am sure these professions are good at what they do, I can assure you they don't have a background in nutrition if they could possibly believe that this lifestyle could be "healthy" for adults and children. What is "The China Study"? It is a book written by T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas Campbell. Although T. Colin Campbell supposedly has a degree in biochemistry and has studied nutrition, there are too many errors, proven conflicts, and questionable theories for much of what he preaches to be true or not yet proven. He even states in his book that he makes "generalizations" and they have not yet been proven true. What does that tell you? Let's get to a few key things in his book that are proven to be false.

"Eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0mg is unhealthy"- FALSE - Dr. T. Colin Campbell
Because your body only synthesizes 80% of it's cholesterol without diet. Your body can use that additional 20% for the essential functions carried out by cholesterol in the body. 300-330mg of cholesterol a day is considered the average and not-to-exceed amount because of the heart disease that is caused by too much. This number gives you middle-ground, not too much, not too little. These are the things that cholesterol does in your body:

-Build the structure of cell membranes
-Make hormones like estrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones
-Help your metabolism work efficiently; for example, cholesterol is essential for your body to produce vitamin D
-Produce bile acids, which help the body digest fat and absorb important nutrients.

Now we know that too much is very bad, but 0mg is not healthy, either, which is what the China Study states.

He also argues that calcium should not be obtained from dairy sources: FALSE
Because dairy sources contain Vitamin D which are necessary for the absorption of the Calcium they also contain. Without Vitamin D, calcium cannot do what it needs to do in the body, and without calcium, bones and teeth cannot grow, they will be brittle, break easily, and many more negative consequences to inadequate calcium. Calcium CAN be found in other foods, like some vegetables, BUT, look at the vitamin D discrepancy between the two:
An 8oz glass of 2% milk has 30% of your daily calcium, 25 mg cholesterol and 25% of your daily Vitamin D.
You would have to eat THREE cups of raw spinach to get only 8% of your daily calcium, with 0 Vitamin D to absorb it.
Do you get it now?

The China Study also talks about all natural living, vegan/vegetarian diets and how dairy and these types of foods are responsible for cancer, heart disease (only when eaten an EXCESS), and diabetes (not correlated at all, except with obesity). There are just as many vegetarians with cancer as those that eat dairy and calcium in moderation. Heart disease is decreased when vegan because you are getting no cholesterol nor animal fat, but the reverse health effects, like malnutrition and bodily function and sufficiency are prevalent. Vegetarianism is not unhealthy, because they can still have dairy products that offer Calcium. When you cut out dairy completely, there will be consequences. Please be wise and advise a nutritional expert before cutting dairy products and making other way out changes to you or your child's diet.

This is a GREAT website I found, written by Dr. Wilson, MD, with a list of errors found in the book. This is ridiculous, I don't even have my bachelor's degree yet, and I know the difference between all of these mistakes. He also talks about the fact that better food choices are not discussed. Please take a look at this website, it will very clearly put your curiosity about the China Study to rest.


  1. First post I've been able to read, and it was great. Well researched and presented with great reasoning. All these fad diets that cut out whole categories of food are missing the big picture. Our bodies are made to have wholesome, natural foods... all in moderation. Instead of focus on cutting out cholesterol entirely, we should be looking for natural sources of HDLs and triglycerides.

    Natural food in reasonable portions, end of story.

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