Thursday, July 8, 2010

There is no justification for a plant-only diet

This is buzzing round the blogs at the moment (e.g. read Kurt) but it is something that needs to be promoted so I'll do my bit.

Please read this:

The China Study: Fact or Fallacy?

Denise Minger has analysed the data on which Campbell based his book The China Study in which, to quote wikipedia, the authors conclude:

that diets high in animal protein (including casein in cow's milk) are strongly linked to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.
Denise has gone back to the data and analysed it herself......and the conclusions are a bit different from those that Campbell arrived at.

In sum, “The China Study” is a compelling collection of carefully chosen data. Unfortunately for both health seekers and the scientific community, Campbell appears to exclude relevant information when it indicts plant foods as causative of disease, or when it shows potential benefits for animal products. This presents readers with a strongly misleading interpretation of the original China Study data, as well as a slanted perspective of nutritional research from other arenas (including some that Campbell himself conducted).

Please read the original and check out Stephan, Kurt, Richard and Robb - each with an excellent analysis.

Something that both Kurt and Stephan pick up on is that while animal food is apparently not a problem wheat is.

UPDATE - Campbell responded to Denise's critique......but Denise has taken his response apart again with great precisions.


Weight Loss Glasgow said...

Really Interesting Article.

It's always surprising how much the original data from a study can be 'interpreted' to lead to a conclusion which isn't necessarily supported by the data itself.

I think it's always prudent to have 2 corroborating studies at the least.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people do this BUUUUT I just wrote a post on why vegetarianism does not provide enough DHA or EPA. Thought you might be interested.

Chris said...

Thanks Dan - nice post.

30BaD said...

The correct way to conduct the analysis...

Dr Campbell's response...

30BaD said...

One last thing from the cancer epidemiologist...

Your analysis is completely OVER-SIMPLIFIED. Every good epidemiologist/statistician will tell you that a correlation does NOT equal an association. By running a series of correlations, you’ve merely pointed out linear, non-directional, and unadjusted relationships between two factors. I suggest you pick up a basic biostatistics book, download a free copy of “R” (an open-source statistical software program), and learn how to analyze data properly. I’m a PhD cancer epidemiologist, and would be happy to help you do this properly. While I’m impressed by your crude, and – at best – preliminary analyses, it is quite irresponsible of you to draw conclusions based on these results alone. At the very least, you need to model the data using regression analyses so that you can account for multiple factors at one time.

30BaD said...

BTW - While there may be some discussion about it, and some may have expressed some concern, the National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential. This means there is enough evidence for them to conclude that we can make enough of it without eating it in its preformed state.

Chris said...

Mr Bananas,

thanks for the comments. With respect to your points about causation and that not the trap that Campebell has fallen into himself? Cherry picking stats and presenting certain associations that people assume imply causation.

Anyway, Denise Minger has done a good job, but some one has done her one better. On the Amazon comment section to the book The China Study, Richard Kroker, who says he is an egineer with a PHD has done a multiple variable regression analysis on the China Study raw data that is fascinating. Please check this out.

Chris said...

Campbell's response is also not very substantial - lots of ad hominem in there.

durianrider said...

day crew,nice blog.

How come NONE of these pro meat bloggers have any real muscle with all that protein talk? :)

Come and see if ANY of you guys can out bench press/dead lift us at

Here is the website for the doubters.

Mike Arnstein ran a 2:28 marathon this year at Boston. He is the FASTEST runner in the raw food movement today. Long time vegan and now powered by sweet fruit. How come there is no competitive athletes eating this 'paleo fat diet?' Please shut me up and show me cos Im sick of seeing cardio and muscle deficient paleo crew trying to debunk the china study that us elite athletes are thriving on.

Can you debunk me with a high fat eating paleo athlete?

Didnt think so.. :)

Love, peace and banana grease.


Chris said...

Wow. Not sure where to start with a response to that comment Durianrider.

If I was to tell you to eat like Michael Phelps because he is the world's best swimmer would that trump any argument about the science? At the 2008 Olympics his diet was reported as :

Breakfast: Three fried egg sandwiches; cheese; tomatoes; lettuce; fried onions; mayonnaise; three chocolate-chip pancakes; five-egg omelette; three sugar-coated slices of French toast; bowl of grits; two cups of coffee
Lunch: Half-kilogram (one pound) of enriched pasta; two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread; energy drinks
Dinner: Half-kilogram of pasta, with carbonara sauce; large pizza; energy drinks

So by your "logic" that is how you should eat if you want to be a top swimmer? An example like that doesn't prove the diet is good or bad.

If you want to address the issues that are raised in the criticisms of Campbell's treatment of the China study then feel free to do so. If your argument consists of the line "I eat lots of bananas and no animal products and I still run fast, cos I is elite!" then I don't think you have grasped the issues that are being discussed.

Can I debunk you with an example of a high fat eating paleo athlete? Yes but that isn't the point.

If you are interested in other ideas have a look at the study here:

or for a laugh note how Campbell avoids the issues in this debate about protein:

Daniel said...

Chris, for your information, Durianrider is just spammer like 30BaD and Freelee. I just read the same exact comment at the site Theory to Practice. They are not interested in your logic or reasoning.

Chris G said...

Durianrider misses the point entirely. Its all about health, not how much you can bench or deadlift. How many of these lifters will be mobile in 20 or 30 years after a lifetime of veganism combined with training for those goals? Most paleo or primal peoples wouldnt be able to lift thEse weights either. Most people following a paleo modern diet are more concerend with being healthy for everyday life and their futures.

Dr Eric Berg said...

thanks for sharing your article. its a big help for people who are health conscious.

Ory Ortega said...

Really Chris G? I'm a CrossFit owner and haven't heard a "health" argument from any of my CrossFit friends. To them is about "performing".

And if you wonder if anyone on a Plant based diet will be able to move in 20 years, go ask MIKE MAHLER that has been a Vegan sine he was in his teens and is one of the strongest Coaches around. As well as an authority in Hormone Optimization, someting that most of you writing here haven't even thought about once.

I bet most of you have never gotten a saliva test to see where you stand as far as your hormonal profile.

And visit JON HINDS at his MONKEYBAR GYM and tell JON at his 47 years,after looking at him that his plant based diet is not working for him...or his clients.

But you know the coolest thing about these two awesome Coaches, they respect what other do. Not once have I seen MIKE or JON bash someone's diet once.

So, respect what others do...if they're respectfull. I don't like Vegan assholes or paleo-eating assholes, so if people can come her and write smart interesting stuff...great. If they're too stupid to carry a grown up debat, they don't deserve to be here.