RRP #79: T. Colin Campbell On China Study Critics and How Plant-Based Nutrition Can Prevent & Reverse Disease
This week we hit a huge milestone – 2 MILLION DOWNLOADS!
Wow. I was blown away when we hit 1 million after about a year since we started this experiment. Then just five months later, we hit the second million. I am beyond words. I love doing the podcast, love it. I do this for you. So it means more than you can imagine that it has found a passionate and loyal audience. With utmost sincerity, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and promise to honor your commitment to the show by striving to always do better and be better.
In honor of the milestone, I thought it appropriate to bring you one of my most compelling and important interviews to date. A conversation with a man I owe my life. A man whose studies, books and tireless advocacy have transformed countless lives across the globe. A man absolutely instrumental in paving a path for my own personal transformation – a journey that begins and ends with my adoption of a plant-based diet.
T. Colin Campbell
Dr. Campbell may not have invented the whole food plant-based diet, but he is most certainly the regal lion of the movement, pioneering it from fringe acceptance to modern age, widespread mainstream adoption. He is best-known as the author of The China Study, one of the most important, ground-breaking, massively best-selling books ever written on health & nutrition. More recently, Dr. Campbell published an important follow up, Whole: Rethinking The Science of Nutrition. But even if you have not read either of these books, there is a solid chance you saw him and his work profiled in the incredibly powerful documentary Forks Over Knives.
The simple truth is that how we are beginning to understand the ways in which food and nutrition impact the underlying causes of so many Western diseases that unnecessarily plague developed cultures — and the means to prevent and reverse them — is due in large part to the tireless scientific research to which Dr. Campbell has devoted his life. He is, quite simply put, an absolute paradigm-busting legend of the modern movement for long-term wellness, disease prevention & reversal, sustainable ecosystems, animal welfare, and agricultural reform.
For the uninitiated, T. Colin Campbell is a Cornell and MIT trained Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry and microbiology and current professor emeritus at Cornell specializing in both nutrition & toxicology – specifically the effects of nutrition on long-term health and even more particularly the role nutrition plays in the causation of certain types of cancer. In addition to the two books mentioned above, he is the author of over 300 peer reviewed research papers on a variety of subjects related to the above.
Maybe you’re new to all this — I don’t get all the fuss. What exactly is The China Study?
In a nutshell, it was a gigantic 20-year epidemiological study – described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology” – conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell and Oxford that looked at mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases from 1973–75 in 65 counties in China; the data was correlated with dietary surveys and blood work from 100 people in each county.
Why China? And why those specific counties? These communities were carefully selected primarily because they had genetically similar populations that tended, over many generations, to live and eat in the same way in the same place.
What were the findings? The study concluded that counties with a high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to have had higher death rates from “Western” diseases while the opposite was true for counties that ate more plant foods.
In essence, The China Study examined the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel, concluding that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based/vegan diet—avoiding all animal products, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates – will escape, reduce or even reverse the development of numerous diseases.
Much to Dr. Campbell’s surprise, the book barely moved the needle when it was first published. In fact, it basically landed with a thud. But slowly, things started to take off when certain highly influential people began to discover the book, implement it’s advice, and experience dramatic positive results in their health and waistline.
Even President Bill Clinton became a vocal supporter. After years of living with heart disease, in 2010 he undertook the diet, and within a short period dropped 24 pounds, returning him to his college weight. You might have seen my buddy Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, interview Clinton for Dr. Gupta’s documentary The Last Heart Attack that aired on CNN in August 2011. In that documentary, Dr Gupta made evident the power of plants — and the impact of Dr. Campbell’s dietary guidelines — on not only slimming the gut, but in preventing and even reversing heart disease. A protocol that has seen similar results in the prevention and reversal of obesity, diabetes and certain forms of cancer — 4 diseases that currently gobble up 75% of America’s total health care costs.
Pretty awesome stuff.
But The China Study is not without its critics and controversy. In the wake of the massive success of his book and Forks Over Knives, his findings have been challenged — correlation does not equal causation! And suddenly — for reasons that essentially elude me — it has become quite vogue to offhandedly and rather thoughtlessly quip: Didn’t you hear the news? The China Study was debunked!
But has The China Study really been debunked? What is this truly all about?
Ask yourself this question: Who is threatened by attempting to undermine the integrity of Dr. Campbell’s game changing research? And who stands to gain?
We get in to all of this and so much more in today’s conversation.
Dr. Campbell does not often sit for such long-winded interviews, so it was quite an honor and privilege to grab an hour of his time during the recent Holistic Holiday at Sea. I had met him on several occasions over the last few years, but this was my first opportunity really getting to know the person behind the book, the research, and the movement. And I learned a lot.
I am very proud of this interview and hope that it will inspire and motivate you to think about your health, your diet and your lifestyle in new and different ways — ways that could have a profound impact on your future well-being. And even if you are well versed with Dr. Campbell and his work, I promise you will learn things about him, his life and research that you did not previously know.
A final note: this interview is intended as Part 1 of a 2 part series. Next week, I will be bringing you Howard Jacobson, Ph.D. — Dr. Campbell’s contributing author on Whole – who shares his own compelling story and fills in the gaps on some of the issues touched upon during today’s conversation. So if you enjoy today’s show you will definitely want to tune in next week as well.
In any event, I truly hope today’s conversation educates and inspires you to take your nutrition, health and fitness to the next level. All as a means to help you unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.
Thanks for tuning in.
Peace + Plants,
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health, by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II
Whole: Rethinking The Science of Nutrition, by T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson (Contributor)
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