The China Study examines the link between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer. The book is “loosely based” on the China–Cornell–Oxford Project, a 20-year study which looked at mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases from 1973 to 1975 in 65 counties in China, and correlated this data with 1983–84 dietary surveys and blood work from 100 people in each county.
The authors conclude that people who eat a predominantly whole-food, vegan diet—avoiding animal products as a source of nutrition, including beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, and reducing their intake of processed foods and refined carbohydrates—will escape, reduce, or reverse the development of numerous diseases. They write that “eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.” The book recommends sunshine exposure or dietary supplements to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D, and supplements of vitamin B12 in case of complete avoidance of animal products. It criticizes low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet, which include restrictions on the percentage of calories derived from carbohydrates The authors are critical of reductionist approaches to the study of nutrition, whereby certain nutrients are blamed for disease, as opposed to studying patterns of nutrition and the interactions between nutrients.
The China Study
In 2005, T. Colin Campbell, PhD and his son Thomas M. Campbell, MD, shared the China Project findings along with additional research with the world in The China Study. Their best selling book examines the connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and the source of nutritional confusion produced by powerful lobbies, government entities, and opportunistic scientists. The China Study is hailed as one of the most important books about diet and health ever written.