Let me cut to the chase to hold your attention by providing a quick summation of the conclusions drawn by Dr. T Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, after an extensive 27 year study of nutrition in relation to human health: The animal protein, casein, promotes the growth of cancer cells, and animal flesh is a harmful and subpar source of protein for the human body. If you’re like me, just hearing this information isn’t enough; knowing how and why is vitally important. I wanted to know if there was scientific evidence readily available to support these claims. The China Study leaves no doubt in my mind that Dr. T Colin Campbell’s conclusions are accurate; which means I’m now furious at the meat and dairy industry for their egregious claims that meat and dairy are vital to human health.
In 2003 the National Dairy Council had a whopping $165 million marketing budget which they used to implement programs focused at increasing demand for dairy products. One such program focused on School Marketing: “As part of an effort to guide school-age children to become life-long consumers of dairy products, 2003 activities will target students, parents, educators, and school food service professionals.” This plan is appalling when taking into consideration Dr. Campbell’s repeated attempts to share his findings with the American public, attempts which are repeatedly flouted by the meat and dairy industry. This is a man who genuinely cares about the health and vitality of humanity; a person who wants to end human suffering with good health and disease prevention.
Many Americans fear cancer, yet most do not realize that heart disease takes more lives in the United States each year than every form of cancer combined. Heart disease is a disease of affluence; meaning it’s controlled by environment – primarily by the foods we eat. Where meat was once a rare treat at celebrated events, it’s become a highly consumed, cheap commodity that’s killing us. Every 24 hours in America between 2,000 and 3,000 Americans will have a heart attack, “roughly the same number of people who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” The tragedy of September 11th shook most Americans, and whether or not the attack could have been prevented is debatable. What’s not debatable is that we’re losing just as many Americans each day to heart disease related symptoms and there IS something we can do about it. In a very detailed, scientifically relevant, yet entirely comprehensible manner, Dr. Campbell outlines his research experience and compares it to the findings of other medical professionals. Time and again the studies have proven that switching to a whole foods, plant based diet will reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because the high saturated fat and high dietary cholesterol content of animal based products push humans into poor health at alarming rates. We all know high cholesterol is dangerous, but did you know dietary cholesterol “is found only in animal-based food”? In short, bacon is killing you.
“Most Americans know that if you have high cholesterol, you should worry about your heart, but they don’t know that you might want to worry about cancer as well.” Now we’re back to the number two cause of death in America: cancer. How many of you know someone who has fought breast cancer? How many of you lost a loved one to a battle that could not be won? How many of you would be angry to know that meat and dairy consumption likely contributed to the breast cancer?
“Higher dietary fat [found in animal products] is associated with higher blood cholesterol and both of these factors, along with higher female hormone levels, are associated, in turn, with more breast cancer and earlier age of menarche [menstruation]." Early age of menarche, both in Chinese and in Western women, also leads to higher levels of blood hormones such as estrogen. These hormone levels remain high throughout the reproductive years if consumption of a diet rich in animal-based food is maintained. Under these conditions, age of menopause is deferred by three to four years, thus extending the reproductive life from beginning to end by about nine to ten years and greatly increasing lifetime exposure to female hormones. "Other studies have shown that an increase in years of reproductive life is associated with increased breast cancer risk.”
Why does this happen? Dr. Campbell’s study of cancer involved the use of casein, “which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein.” He studied the effect of casein on foci (which are “pre-curser clusters of cells that grow into tumors”). What he found was that “foci development was almost entirely dependent on how much [animal] protein was consumed.” In short, animal protein promotes growth of cancer cells. And how did plants fare in comparison? “Plant protein did not promote cancer growth, even at the higher levels of intake.” Not only that, Dr. Campbell discovered that “nutrients from plant based foods decreased tumor development.” Are you reading what I’m reading? Are you as angry as I am yet? In order to make money, the meat and dairy industry are responsible for teaching me, at a young age – primarily through school programs and propaganda – that I must consume their products for optimum health. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
In addition to heart disease and cancer, Dr. Campbell reveals the relation between nutrition and health with regard to diabetes (Type 2), obesity, other common cancers (prostate, large bowel), autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.), and various wide ranging effects (such as kidney stones, blindness, brain disease, and osteoporosis). [For more on how dairy products cause osteoporosis: click here]. The China Study also offers a very simple explanation of how to eat for optimum health; this is about lifestyle, not dieting. Further, the book offers Eight Principles of Food and Health that will debunk your understanding of food & nutrition such as (i) Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health, and (ii) There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants. Don’t believe me? Read the book; each Principle of Food and Health includes a comprehensive scientific explanation. Finally, if you’re still wondering why you’ve never heard any of this before, you’ll love the last part of the book, where Dr. Campbell reveals the financial budget, malicious behavior, and underhanded methods by which the billion dollar companies thwart your ability to obtain good health through nutrition.
“Industry uses science to increase demand for its product in order to make more money. At the very least, industry science often leads to public confusion, and at its worst, industry science leads unsuspecting consumers to foods that are actually bad for them.” With more people dying in America because of how they eat, and with the force of advertising dollars working against our favor, Americans have a difficult road ahead of them. The right information won’t be found readily, which means you will have to do some footwork on your own. “Good health is about being able to fully enjoy the time we do have. It is about being as functional as possible throughout our entire lives and avoiding crippling, painful and lengthy battles with disease. There are better ways to die, and to live.” If you’re looking for a tool to set you on the path to the longer, healthier, better life, The China Study is the best place to start.