But What About The China Study?

No matter how much information I share proving that animal products are essential (and a ‘lack of’ detrimental), I commonly encounter this:

“But What About the China Study?”

For those that have never heard of My Vegetarian Manifesto…Oops! I mean The China Study; Dr. T. Colin Campbell uses observational data from 65 countries in China to try and prove that animal products increase cancer and heart disease.


Aside from overwhelming the average reader with it’s size and citations, it’s easy to want to believe the information in this book because:

Not to mention Campbell makes sure all the dots are aligned in his research…

…or at least makes them sound aligned.


“But..but..but…Momma says, don’t believe everything you read.”

Along with using adjusted correlations with animal foods, and unadjusted ones with plant foods, Campbell conveniently ‘forgets to mention’ positive associations with high protein and low cancer rates, and low protein and high cancer rates.  For instance:

  • The people of Tuoli consume 45% of their diet from fat, and eat roughly 135g of animal protein and have lower heart disease and cancer than the vegan countries emphasized throughout the book.
  • The people of Longxian consume the lowest amount of animal foods, but have the 2nd highest death rate from heart disease.

Furthermore, the book fails to include associations between other foods, like wheat, and its HIGHER correlation with heart disease (0.67) and cancer.


In fact, Campbell’s data shows:

  • A 7 times greater cancer association with a high-carb/high-sugar diet
  • Fewer cancer deaths with a high animal fat intake

Yet when you take a look at his conclusion in The China Study, he has the reader believing something completely different:

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease.” T. C. Campbell, The China Study

Suggesting that he’s clearly earned his B. S. degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Also stating this on page 132 (by the way):

“Eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0mg is unhealthy.”


Fortunately, we have ‘actual’ experts, that take the time to comb through the original evidence and share the truth.  With Walter Willet and Frank B. Hu being the first in 1998, when they tested Campbell’s hypothesis using the original China Study data, and:

“…did not find a clear association between animal product consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers.”

Followed by Denise Minger (who gets all the credit for many of the points mentioned in this blog), Ned Kock, and Chris Masterjohn, who dedicated their free-time to do a thorough examination of The China Study several years later on their personal websites – rawfoodsos.com, healthcorrelator.blogspot.ca, and cholesterol-and-health.com.

Which, vegetarians and vegans still following the gospel of Colin Campbell, or continuing to reference The China Study (and Forks Over Knives), are highly encouraged to take a look at; as some of the discrepancies discussed here, are just the tip of the iceberg.


As I’ve said before, the biggest mistake you can make in your quest for optimal health is limiting or attempting to replace animal protein.  And ironically, we can revisit Dr. Campbell’s data (with a proper analysis) to demonstrate that a higher intake of animal foods produces a healthier heart.

In the China Study, the 5 regions with the best heart health ate more saturated fat, animal protein, and dietary cholesterol than the 5 worst.

Though, the ultimate irony is that they also ate less plant protein, less vegetable oil, less wheat flour, and less fiber!

But hey, I’m no doctor.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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