The Vegan Bible: The China Study

April 18, 2013 Nutrition

veganThe vegan diet, like many facts about nutrition, is subject to many debates. While some “traditional” medicine doctors and nutrition specialists consider vegans to lack essential nutrients from animal proteins, others say the contrary. If you are interested in healthy eating you are probably familiar with “The China Study” written by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell MD. The book offers clear and concise arguments in favour of a plant-based diet.

Briefly, the authors examine the relationship between animal protein consumption and several chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. One of the most complex study on nutrition was made in China. The researchers analyzed food habits for several years and concluded that people in the rural areas of China where animal food was scarce were less exposed to developing cancer and chronic disease.

A plant-based diet even showed good results in diminishing cancer tumors and cholesterol level, and in curing coronary disease. Based on these findings the authors recommend excluding all animal protein and adopting a vegan diet. Moreover, they enunciate eight principles related to food and health, all of them supporting the conclusion the the vegan diet is crucial to our health:

  1. Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – Food is made of countless nutritive interconnected substances, which generate other substances in the digestion process. All these are processed by our body in order to keep us healthy. At the same time, useless substances are eliminated.
  1. Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health – The authors don’t recommend taking vitamin supplements, except maybe for B12 and maybe vitamin D, for those who spend a lot of time inside, away from the sunlight. They consider the benefits of supplements to be overrated. Having an unhealthy diet and trying to compensate with supplements is considered detrimental to our health.
  1. There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants – The opponents of a vegan diet consider that proteins come only from animal food. Based on their research, the authors argue that plants are important source of valuable proteins without the minuses of animal products: too many fats or cholesterol.
  1. 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 – Basically, research – including those made in China – showed that people with more or less the same ethnic origin can have a very different disease rate. The best nutrition possible helps us activate our healthy genes.
  2. Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals – Studies showed that even when exposed to dangerous chemicals proven to cause cancerm people don’t develop this chronic disease when they have a limited amount of animal protein consumption.
  3. The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages can also halt or reverse it in its later stages – Chronic disease take years to develop. The good news is that in any stage, healthy eating can at least make an improvement if not reverse the disease.
  4. Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board – There is no specific diet for a specific disease, the authors consider the plant based diet effective for any chronic disease.
  1. Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected – Nutrition has an essential contribution to our health but other things are also important: physical activity, emotional and mental state, the overall health of the environment.

Of course there are authors who disagree with his point of view and try to prove him wrong. But we will see this in another article.