The China Study – Can a Plant-Based Diet Save Your Life?

Dr. T. Colin Campbell recently wrote a book called The China Study, which is based on a research project conducted over 20 years and on millions of Chinese residents. The project was funded by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

The study’s primary conclusion was that there were thousands of associations between diet and disease. Participants who ate the most animal foods were the most likely to develop chronic diseases. The opposite was also true- those who ate the most plant foods were the least likely to develop chronic


The more animal protein they ate, the higher the risk of getting prostate, breast, and bowel cancers, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, autoimmune disease, degenerative brain disease, and macular degeneration.

It’s as clear as this: if you eat animal products, you increase your risk for many diseases, but if you eat a plant-based diet, you lower your risk for the same diseases.

It also holds for those of us who want to reform our eating habits: start making changes now and you will start to lower your risk for chronic diseases. Even if you already have one of those diseases, you might be able to reverse the effects by changing your diet.

The China Study found that people with the highest blood cholesterol levels had the highest risk for disease, and those with the lowest blood cholesterol levels had the lowest risks. Seems obvious, right?

The next conclusion was that blood cholesterol levels directly correlated to diet. Studies found that animal protein increased blood cholesterol levels and plant protein reduced the amount of cholesterol the body produced. Although they found saturated fat increased cholesterol levels, animal protein increased it far more.

One can’t forget that the overall cholesterol levels in China are much lower than in the West. A Chinese person with a high blood cholesterol levels is still probably less than even a Westerner with low blood cholesterol.

What does this say about your diet and health?

Even though the people studied ate far less animal protein than Westerners, there was still a direct correlation to disease.

In China, people eat about 10% of their calories from protein, but only about 10% of it is animal protein. That means only about 1% of the calories in a typical Chinese diet come from animal protein.

Conversely, the average Westerner eats about 15% of calories from protein, and 80% of that protein is from animals. That means about 12% of the calories in the typical Western diet come from animal protein.

Westerners are eating far more animal protein than the Chinese in the study, which means we are at a far greater risk for developing those killer diseases.

There are a few factors that make the project’s results very interesting.

The first factor is that the study subjects had lived in their local area for their entire lives and ate food that was produced locally. Therefore, several variables could be isolated, and it was easier to draw conclusions by studying groups that ate mostly plant protein from those with greater access to animal protein.

The second factor is that the principal researchers did not have backgrounds in vegetarianism. Most were raised on the typical Western diet, eating a good amount of meat and dairy products. Prior to the China Study, Dr. Campbell had spent much of his career searching for proof that animal protein was the most critical element of nutrition.

Dr. Campbell’s career took a huge turn when he was studying malnutrition in the Philippines, under the premise that the sickest kids ate the least protein. What he found was that children eating the most protein had the highest risks for cancer. Most of their protein came in the form of milk.

His studies on the milk protein, casein, developed from that original discovery in the Philippines. He found that rats who ate casein grew cancerous tumors. When they were given only plant-based diets, their cancers got smaller, but if he again fed them casein, their tumors grew smaller.

Additionally, he found that dairy products are linked to Type 1 diabetes, breast cancer, colorectal cancers, and prostate cancer. Those discoveries led him to take an interest in learning more about protein, and he got funding for the China Project.

The China Study authors determine that the fewer animal products one consumes, the greater the health benefits. They say that the “optimum percentage of animal-based products is zero, at least for anyone with a predisposition for a degenerative disease.”

Source by Cathleen Woods

Latest articles

Related articles


Comments are closed.