Plant Foods Make Us Healthy: The China Study

People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic diseases. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest. This is the conclusion of the book The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II MD. It is a comprehensive study that surveyed a vast range of diseases and diet and lifestyle, producing more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease pointing.

It’s a very dense book. I share my notes because I believe it is demonstrates food is a path to health. There’s powerful evidence that we can affect our genetic predispositions by giving our bodies the best nutrition; genes are activated by their environment not by fate (i.e. we are not condemned to get cancer). The solution is in what we eat.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”T. Colin Campbell PhD” source_title=”The China Study” full_quote=”Good food and good health is simple: eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, while minimizing the consumption of refined foods, added salt and added fats. In the long term, plant-based eating is cheaper than an animal-based diet Eat well. Eat enough. Whatever you do, don’t go hungry Eat a variety. Mixing it up is important both for getting all the necessary nutrients and for maintaining your interest in the diet. You can eat a plant-based diet with great pleasure and satisfaction.” short_quote=”Good food and good health is simple: eat a whole foods, plant-based diet”]
  • The United States spends more on health care than any country in the world, yet 2/3 of Americans are overweight, 15 million+, have diabetes, 50% have a health problem requiring a prescription drug every week and 100 million+ have high cholesterol. This comes down to three things: breakfast, lunch and dinner. The answer to the American health crisis is the food that we choose to eat every day. It’s about changing the way we eat and live and the health that will result
  • Affluence leads to Western diseases (heart, cancer, diabetes and other autoimmune disorders). Diseases of affluence are tightly linked to eating habits.
  • If nutrition were better understood, if prevention and natural treatments were more accepted in the medical community, we would not pour so many toxic, potentially lethal drugs into our bodies at the last stage of disease
  • Fiber and antioxidants from plants are linked to lower risk of cancer
  • Evidence from researchers around the world shows that a whole foods, plant-based diet that prevents cancer is also good for preventing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cataracts, Alzheimer’s osteoporosis and other diseases.

The Good Nutrition Guide: a whole foods, plant-based diet

  • In nutrition the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The natural chemicals from foods we eat create a series of reactions working in concert to produce good health. Our bodies evolved this infinitely complex network of reactions to derive maximal benefit from whole foods as they appear in nature.
  • Eating animals is a different nutritional experience from eating plants. Plant foods have more antioxidants, fiber and minerals than animal foods.
  • Genes do not determine disease on their own. They function only by being activated and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are activated. Environment, especially diet, causes some genes to remain dormant, and others to express themselves. Nutrition is the environmental factor that determines the activity of genes.
  • Regardless of our genes, we can affect our genetic health by providing our bodies with the best nutrition.
  • Nutrition can substantially control adverse effects of noxious chemicals. A chronic disease like cancer takes years to develop. Nutrition can influence whether the disease will ever do its damage.
  • The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis). The same good nutrition maximizes health at every stage of a disease.
  • Research shows that a whole foods, plant-based diet reverses advanced heart disease, helps diabetics get off their medication and return to a more normal, pre-diabetes life.

Food and nutrition are of primary importance to the planet’s health

If we eat the way that promotes the best health for ourselves, we promote the best health for the plant. By eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, we use less water, less land, fewer resources and produce less toxic waste and pollution

Our food choices have an incredible impact on the initiation, promotion, and even reversal of disease, on our energy, our physical activity, our emotional and mental well-being and our world environment.

Dr. Campbell repeatedly points out the wisdom of nature — a wondrous web of health, from molecules to people to other animals to forests to oceans and to the air we breathe. By eating healthy, we directly made a difference to our world.

Visit Dr. Campbell’s website, a powerful resource for food and health

T. Colin Campell: Center for Nutrition Studies