8 Jun 2006

Article on "The China Study"

Thought you would like to read this excellent article on the best seller "The China Study". It is a very interesting book and is available from many places like Benbella Books and Amazon.

Eat vegetables to heal and stay healthy
By Sandra Bender
Jun 8, 2006

In January my brother, age 59, was diagnosed with lung cancer, not the smoker's type. In May, my cousin, age 68, had his second heart attack and bypass surgery. Searching the font of knowledge, the Internet, I found surprising information about prevention and healing.

"The China Study," a superbly written book on the study of diseases in China and their relationship to nutrition, provides scientific evidence that whole, plant-based nutrition can prevent deadly and debilitating diseases such as certain types of cancer and coronary heart disease.

All animal products, including red meat, chicken, fish, and dairy products, were implicated in these diseases.

Although eating meat includes saturated fat, eating animal protein is apparently a bigger problem than saturated fat because it increases a person's blood cholesterol more than does saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son, Thomas Campbell, wrote the book, a culmination of a 20-year partnership between Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

Studying the effects of nutrition is complicated because so many things affect our health, such as genetics, exercise, lifestyle choices and the variety of diets we consume.

Studying diseases in China made observations easier to interpret because most of the adults still lived in the villages where they were born and their eating habits and lifestyle remained typical for their area.

Since the 1980s and continuing into the present, Campbell's team of scientists have studied the market places, blood, urine, and deaths of 6,500 adults from 65 countries. The New York Times termed the study "the Grand Prix of epidemiology."

Diseases clustered together in geographic areas, based on diet. Diseases occurring together were cancers of certain types, advanced coronary heart disease, Type I and Type II diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, mental dysfunctions of aging and others.

These were labeled "diseases of affluence" because as villages became wealthier people ate more meat, fish, and fowl.

The food most associated with diseases of affluence was animal proteins. Eating even small amounts of animal products increased diseases. Healthier communities ate whole, plant-based foods that did not have the fiber removed through processing.

"The China Study" breaks new ground because it examines variations in a general population that eats small amounts of animal protein.

Research on Western populations has often failed to show a relationship between diet and disease because most Westerners eat a diet rich in animal products. For example, Harvard researchers have not detected a relationship between fiber and colorectal cancer, perhaps, because all patients were eating too much animal protein for fiber to be protective.

But in China, eating more fiber was consistently associated with lower rates of rectal and colon cancer.

A plant-based diet prevents cancer in a variety of ways. For example, on such a diet, Chinese women's onset of menstruation is a higher average age, 17 years, compared to the U.S. average of 11 years.

Chinese estrogen levels are about half of that of Western women, which decreases cancer risk to one-fifth that of Western women.

Also, higher amounts of antioxidants in the blood meant less cancer of all types in families.

"The China Study" describes the politics of medical information. Most doctors, it says, are inadequately trained in nutrition.

The food industry's institutes such as the National Dairy Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association have combined forces to produce a Medical Nutrition Curriculum Initiative that is provided free to medical schools and promotes a meat-centered diet.

The pharmaceutical and medical device industries spend a lot of money promoting pills and devices.

Who promotes vegetables?

My brother, cousin, husband, other family members and I are adapting to a vegan diet, which is whole, plant-based foods. My brother and cousin are also following their doctors' advice. Changing lifelong eating patterns is not easy. Simple vegan cookbooks can help with meal plans. And yes, Mississippians can eat purple eye peas, tomatoes, greens, and cornbread for a familiar, healthy meal.

Sandra Bender is a community columnist who lives in Petal. You can reach her at

A nice easy, tasty recipe that can be eaten at any time of the day.

Rosie's Pepper and Pine Nut Squares

from Cherry's Vegan Recipes at

1 block frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 red pepper, chopped
Handful of pine nuts
1 red onion
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

Chop onion and garlic and fry in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes.
Roll out pastry and cut into squares (about 10cm/6").
Arrange squares onto a baking sheet and spread out onion mixture on them.
Sprinkle with peppers and pine nuts and cook at 200ºC/400ºF for about 10 minutes.



Dirty Butter said...

Fascinating article, and it's logical! Thanks for sharing it.

Dirty Butter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.