Real or bunk? Everything there is to know about the 'China Study' diet

While I loved The China Study because I’m a fact-driven and numbers-based person, this is not a book that everybody would be interested in reading. T. Colin Campbell takes dozens of pages to explain his authority, the organizations he’s worked with, and all of the various studies over the last 30-40 years that went into his assertion in The China Study.

In The China Study he delves into the scientific relationships between protein, Afltatoxin, enzymes, and the effect that protein intake has on cancer initiation. T. Colin Campbell then explains a study involving various tests he performed on rodents that revealed the effects of giving one group of rodents a diet with 20% animal-based protein and another group a 5% animal-based protein diet.

In that study T. Colin Campbell claimed that it was possible to initiate as well as stop cancer cell growth by simply altering the amount of protein the rats had in their daily diet. It was noted that the rats eating a 20% protein diet would not stay as active on their running wheel and would nap and sleep for longer periods. Whereas the rats with a 5% protein diet would run for much longer intervals and not succumb to the “fat rat syndrome” caused by the animal-based protein.

Taking the knowledge from this initial study, Dr. Campbell then was involved in a larger project that studied the diet, diseases, and cancer of people in China. After years of research and studies in China, Dr. Campbell then came to the conclusion that part of the reason people living in the U.S. have much higher cancer rates than those living in China was merely due to diet (particularly the intake of animal-based protein).

The chart below illustrates the average daily diet in China and the U.S. by an individual weighing 143 lbs:

As you can see, the diet of the Chinese involves taking in far more calories per day however a far less amount of fat. They take in greater amounts of fiber and still a healthy amount of protein despite the fact that it comes from plant-based sources and not the animal protein that fills many Americans’ diet.

Other fascinating charts I found throughout the study are the ones that showed the correlation between animal protein intake and rates of cancer throughout the world:

So, while The China Study may be a bit dry for most people, the ultimate conclusion of the study is that the intake of animal-based protein has a “statistically significant association” with a myriad of diseases and cancer. Furthermore, having high amounts of protein in your diet will increase the growth rate of cancer cells, and reversely, you can reduce and sometimes STOP the growth of cancer cells by having less animal-based protein in your diet.

So who is T. Colin Campbell?

Dr. Campbell grew up in a dairy farm (yes, ironic…and he addresses that and his initial animal-protein bias in The China Study). He studied veterinary science at Georgia and went on to graduate from Cornell after getting a M.S. in nutrition and biochemistry.

Upon graduation he served as a research associate at MIT and then worked 10 years in the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition at Virginia Tech where they were responsible for a 10-year study in the Philippines investigating the high prevalence of liver cancer.

After his work at Virginia Tech, T. Colin Campbell started a laboratory program which would study the role of nutrition (particularly protein) in the development of cancer. This program was funded for 27 years by the likes of National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and ultimately the information would be revealed in his national bestselling book, The China Study.

An example 8-Week China Study diet

1. Eat meat only once a week – No, this is not suggested as a part of the China Study, however I believe it will be nearly impossible to eliminate meat completely from most diets.

2. Limit portion sizes

3. Make a concentrated effort to avoid animal-based products

4. Eat primarily plant-based and whole grain food – Beans and grain with vegetables and fruit being the centerpiece. If you want to follow the China Study Diet to the tee, then this is all T. Colin Campbell suggests that you eat.

5. Work out more – Work out at least 4 times a week. 2-3 days of running, and a few days with stretching, yoga, minor weight lifting or some other lesser exercise would work well.

Jason L.

I want to help people change the way they think about finances, their jobs, and their life in general.

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