Eight principles of food and health:
- Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
- There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
- Genes do not determine disease on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
- Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
- The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages can also halt or reverse it in its later stages.
- Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
- Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.
The China Study is a 2006 book by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D. It examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products and illnesses such as cancers of the breast, prostate, and large intestine, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, degenerative brain disease, and macular degeneration. The book had sold 500,000 copies as of January 2011, making it one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition.
“The China Study” of the title is taken from the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a 20-year study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, and the University of Oxford, described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology.” T. Colin Campbell was one of the project’s directors. The study examined mortality rates, diets, and lifestyles of 6,500 people in 65 rural counties in China, and concluded that people with a high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to suffer chronic disease, while those who ate a plant-based diet were the least likely. The study was conducted in China because it has a genetically similar population that tends to live in the same way in the same place and eat the same foods for their entire lives.
The authors conclude that people who eat a plant food/vegan diet—which avoids animal products such as beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk—will minimize or reverse the development of chronic diseases. They also recommend adequate amounts of sunshine to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D, and dietary supplements of vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products and to minimize the usage of vegetable oils. They criticize low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, which include restrictions on the percentage of calories derived from complex carbohydrates.