The China Study: East vs West, Who Wins For Overall Health?

Health experts today are starting to lean towards more natural diets as a way to create a more healthy and vibrant lifestyle. Though vegans and vegetarians are often the butt of many jokes, there are many nutritionists that argue this lifestyle is the only way to ensure a long and healthy existence. One of the best cases made for this came in 2005 in the form of The China Study by biochemist professor T. Colin Campbell.

This book talks about the many issues that exist with the western dietary lifestyle and how a fully vegan diet can actually help to not only maintain health but also prevent and reverse a variety of unhealthy conditions. Before getting into the details though, it is important to understand the foundation of the study.

The 8 Principles

The author of The China Study set out 8 principles about food and health:

  1. Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
  3. There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
  4. 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.
  5. Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
  6. The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages can also halt or reverse it in its later stages.
  7. Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
  8. Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.

Yeah, that was my initial response too.

Throw Away Animal Products

One of the biggest parts of this plan is to stop consuming animal products. No, this does not just mean only eat chicken or just cut back on meat. It means stop eating and drinking all animal products. Cow’s milk, eggs, chicken, beef, cheese, or anything else that comes from an animal because it does nothing but hurt your body. Instead, you should focus on natural foods that will help promote bodily health. Of course, the China Study doesn’t just make this claim – it backs it up.

Looking At Research

One of the references used in this book was the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, which was employed in 1983 to look at villages in 65 rural counties throughout China. It uses 2 villages in each county (for 130 villages) and selected 50 families at random in each village (6500 families total). They studied one adult in each family using half males and half females to get their data. At the same time, they collected similar information from those on a western diet in the United States. It was found that in China they consumed only 10% of the meat protein compared to the United States (7 grams vs. 70 grams per day). Cholesterol levels were accordingly much lower in China, among other things.

The Effects of a Vegan Diet

More significant than this, the study goes on to show examples where a vegan diet can actually be used to prevent and reverse the ill-effects of certain diseases and physical ailments. From auto-immune diseases to heart disease, diabetes, and even kidney stones, a healthy, natural diet is able to help eliminate these problems.

Perhaps most significantly, they point out how Chinese women suffer from breast cancer at only 1/5 the rate of Westerners, which is due to high plant-based fiber, leafy vegetables, and whole grains. Oh, and this claim is backed up by other independent research.

It’s easy to learn more: just watch Forks Over Knives on Netflix. The documentary is mostly about The China Study applied to Americans with health problems and their health’s growth after switching to a vegan diet. Interestingly, You’ll almost all diet and lifestyle related documentaries on Netflix feature the virtues of a vegan diet. It’s important to know the facts about what we’re ingesting; especially if you want to live long…and prosper.


So, what do you make of all this? Do you think becoming vegan will solve your health issues?

Additional images: Lifehacker



Joseph Macolino
Joseph Macolino
When Joseph is not writing for his Evorath fantasy series, he tries to spend time honing his physical prowess to one day become the Punisher. Most of the time, he just ends up perfecting the art of procrastination by watching Netflix, reading other good fantasy books, or playing some mindless game. Follow him at Evorath