The China Study Review
Well I finally finished The China Study so I owe you guys a review of the book. I’ll start out by touching on the end of the book (the part I haven’t written about yet) before sharing my overall thoughts.
THE FINAL CHAPTERS
The final part of the book is titled “Why You Haven’t Been Told This Before”. Dr. Campbell aims to explain to readers why the health and diet information that the public hears isn’t the same as what he has detailed in his book. After all, if all health benefits of a plant-based diet have so much scientific backing, why haven’t we been seeing them all over the news?
First he explains the “dark side of science” – the part where the members of nutrition committees that review studies and create public reports are largely pro-industry. This means they have some sort of connection, often financial, to an industry like dairy, meat, or drug. Because of this they often only promote science that helps these industries, often ignoring the truth. Dr. Campbell has served on (and ultimately been removed from) many of these committees for challenging the recommendations and conclusions they come to.
Dr. Campbell goes onto explain some of the government’s nutrition recommendations and the studies upon which they are based. It turns out that these studies are often incomplete or inaccurate, but by pulling out tidbits of information and twisting words they are able to make claims that benefit food industries. Rarely is there information released that isn’t somehow backed or sponsored by a large corporation. (This goes for fruits and vegetables too, not just meat and dairy).
Finally Dr. Campbell questions if our government is truly doing what is best for us. Did you know that only 3.6% of the U.S. National Institute of Health’s budget is designated for projects related to nutrition? (p. 315) Or that the government offers extreme tax cuts for pharmaceutical industries that make more and more drugs with serious side effects? It seems a little backwards to me.
Dr. Campbell encourages us to take the information he has given us and take charge of our own health.
I was thoroughly impressed with The China Study. It basically provided scientific evidence and first hand accounts for what I had been hearing about nutrition and health. I had heard that eating a plant-based diet was better for health, but this book provided charts and graphs to tell me exactly why and how my body would benefit. I had heard that the government and food industries totally distorted the nutrition information we receive, but now I have specific names and examples of these distortions to back it up.
My only disappointment, as I mentioned in a previous post, is that some of the conclusions and advice aren’t quite concrete enough. I expected Dr. Campbell to be able to say 100% that a plant-based diet is the only way to ever avoid health problems. I wanted him to go into detail about what foods to eat and which ones to dismiss. I guess I thought that there would be some “Monday thru Friday” meal plan like most other diet books.
But not so in this one, and I think it is actually for the better. This isn’t a book about losing weight and telling us the perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All Mr. Campbell wants us to know is that eating plants and avoiding animal products can honestly and truly affect our health. He can’t do anything more than give us the scientific evidence and let us choose for ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we eat oatmeal for breakfast and a salad for lunch each day. It doesn’t matter if we have one apple every day or combine rice with beans to form a complete protein. It is the aggregate effect of all of our nutrition decisions that will lead us to better health.
I think he told the story quite well!