Book Review: The China Study

China Study Despite recent trends toward dieting and low-carb crazes, heart disease is continuing to strike Americans at an alarmingly high rate. Two-thirds of adults are obese, while children are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes at an increasing rate. It seems as though all the efforts and trends toward a healthier lifestyle have had no effect on the data. So why is this?

A study was performed in rural China in order to determine the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The report has been nationally acclaimed, receiving recognition from The New York Times as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology” and the “most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.”

The leading researcher on this project, Dr. Campbell, author of The China Study, states of his research, “I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. You need to know the truth about food, and why eating the right way can save your life.” Early in his career, Dr. Campbell promoted better health by eating more meat, milk, and eggs. However, after doing research in the Philippines as to why so many children were being diagnosed with liver cancer, Dr. Campbell discovered that children who consumed the highest amounts of protein were most likely to get liver cancer. The China project was ultimately inspired by this research, resulting in the partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

What were the findings of this study? According to Dr. Campbell, “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease…People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.”

Although the China diet as set forth by the findings of Dr. Campbell has obtained a large amount of publicity, there is an equal amount of criticism to his findings. China study criticism includes comments made by Dr. Eades, a well-known blogging nutritionist.  Of the China study, he wrote, “But in the end it is still only an observational study. And even though—again, according to Dr. Campbell—there are over 8000 statistically significant correlations, correlations are not causation.”

Dr. Eades is correct in his statement that correlation does not prove causation, as in the case of Dr. Campbell’s findings in the China study. As writers for The Weston A. Price Foundation note, “The Chinese recognize the relationship of diet to good health, and believe that the ideal diet is one that stresses both diversity and balance.” Finding a balance between consumption of proteins and plant-based products is the best way to ensure a healthier lifestyle and protect against cancer and disease.

To buy the China Study from Amazon click here.