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on October 18, 2008
I read "The China Study" in one sitting the very day it arrived from Amazon - it blew me away that much! The sheer scope of the research and references, and the clarity of the conclusion they point to, should be enough to turn anyone off animal foods for life.

This book is about as far from a fad diet as you can get - Campbell has spent over 40 years studying nutrition, and has been personally involved in many of the ground-breaking studies this book details (including, of course, the massive China study itself). Not only that, but he came from a background that predisposed him to seeing the typical "Western" diet as the pinnacle of sound nutrition - and yet has come to believe the complete opposite through years and years of research.

I have been a health-conscious vegetarian for nine years, so compared to most people you wouldn't expect my worldview to have been shaken up all that much by this book. However, although my vegetarian diet was based on all the information that was readily available - fruit and vegetables are good, saturated fat is bad, etc - this book still laid waste to some of the myths even I hadn't been able to see through, because there's so much propaganda out there regarding nutrition.

Most importantly, Campbell discredits once and for all the huge conspiracies that have been built around protein and dairy. Most people know vegetables are healthy, even if they don't eat enough of them, but hardly anyone is aware that protein isn't the miracle nutrient it's touted as being. Not only is it very hard to eat too little protein, but most people eat far too much. Similarly, dairy is still promoted as "healthy", especially low-fat dairy (of which I was an avid consumer, until I read this book). We're led to believe we need it for bone health, even though a survey of osteoporosis rates around the world suggests exactly the opposite conclusion. And, as a vegetarian, people were always telling me I needed to eat dairy in order to get a good dose of protein, even though (as Campbell's evidence conclusively shows) the main protein found in milk actually promotes cancer.

The same day I read this book, I became a vegan. Fortunately, my diet had already been a "fringe" diet for years (not that a healthy diet should ever be considered extremist), so I'd long since discovered the joys of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and tofu. But now I'm more determined than ever to "convert" my boyfriend and family to the green pastures of veganism - and I'll start by giving them all this book for Christmas. If you care about someone, and don't want them to die of a premature heart attack or cancer, how could you not give them this book?

Unfortunately, as convincing as Campbell's conclusions are, there are probably many people out there who simply - for some very inexplicable reason - don't care enough about their health to follow his guidelines. It's always baffled me why people continue to take up smoking when they know it's about the worst thing they could do for their health. Similarly, a lot of people who see the animal-based Western diet as the default will probably see Campbell's recommendations as too hard to follow, and will continue to regard healthy eating as somehow abnormal. Despite the solidity of his conclusions, so many people have been indoctrinated with the idea that eating animal foods is necessary for a "balanced" diet that they will remain incredulous, even though the evidence against this idea is so strong. Campbell's exposure of the corruption behind the nutritional information we're given is admirable, though, and I sincerely hope people listen to him.
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on November 26, 2011
This book lets us know of all the myths we have believed to be true about the food we have been eating for years. What an easy read, I found myself picking it up whenever I sat down. It's very interesting and full of information everyone should know. Whether you choose to act on that knowledge now or not, for sure you will reread it later and think -like me-I should have been eating this way for years.
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on March 9, 2007
This is a very good book full of very useful, well researched information. A big volume dealing with extensive study of the way nutrition influences our health and longevity. It should be read by anyone who desires to be healthy, especially by all the followers of the many fad diets (Atkins, SouthBeach, low fat, low carb, you name it...)

China Study also unveils behind-the-scene manipulation of big food business with no regard for consumer health. The authors make a big step forward in honest consumer education, as their integrity and scientific approach is beyond any doubt. Another no-hype volume with down-to-earth, commonsense approach to health and longevity is "Can We Live 150 Year?" I strongly recommend both books for everyone. Get them, and keep them for later reference. Don't miss it.
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on June 9, 2014
Ever wonder why seemingly healthy people following the low-fat dairy, lean-white-meat and fish recommendations of mainstream health professionals still get cancer? Or why nations with the highest calcium consumption from dairy also have the highest rates of osteoporosis? If so, read this book. It provides a summary of both laboratory studies and the China Study to show how and why animal protein causes disease.

Anyone who says that this book is in some way "biased" because it promotes a plant-based/vegan diet, needs to re-read the story of the author. The author was not first vegan and then tried to find data to support this. He began as a researcher trying to develop the health benefits of animal protein, only to find out that it is highly correlated with cancer. He then proceeded to dedicate his career to debunking the false health claims about animal protein and to promote a whole-foods plant-based diet.

If you haven't watched Forks Over Knives, go watch it now. If you have, this book will provide all of the detailed supporting research for the views expressed in the film. Watch the film, read the book, and spread the word!
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on April 26, 2015
It's important to note that this book is not just about the China Project, which was and still is the most comprehensive epidemiological study ever undertaken, but also includes decades of other research (hundreds of studies) done by other nutritional researchers that all point in the same direction as Dr. Campbell's research does. This book inspired me to take the Plant Based Nutrition Program from eCornell, plus change our family's diet to be almost 100% whole foods plant based. My son and I felt immediate improvement in our gut health (both had severe IBS and now are symptom free!). My husband also got on board and lost 80 lbs and went on to compete in Masters level athletics plus was named an All American player last year!. I cannot begin to emphasize how critical this information is for human health. It has changed my family's life 1000% for the better. All the best to you on your journey towards top health!
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on January 6, 2015
As a scientist, it would be remiss of me to read a book so thoroughly researched and ignore its conclusions.

Despite any counter-arguments that have been made against individual components of the book, as a corpus it is the best summation of dietary knowledge I have ever seen and that humans have to date.

And as a life-long steak and potatoes guy it was a difficult message to receive at first; but my body, wife and family have all benefited from listening to the science in here. I've given a copy to everyone I know, and the book keeps on giving.

Some of the more heavy-handed parts can be excused given the difficulty Campbell probably experiences(d) in fighting the status quo; it tends to embitter people being in that situation, but I'm glad he did.
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on April 15, 2008
I tend to be pretty skeptical of nutrition books, particularly those coming from "alternative" perspectives, since they're often quite faddish and unsubstantiated by science. But this one really blew me away.

While the author advocates a diet that might be considered extreme by some -- a whole foods, plant-based, mostly vegan diet -- his background is anything but fringe or faddish. He's got very solid scientific credentials, and came to his conclusions over the course of years of research. Every claim in this book is backed up by references, the vast majority of them to articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals.

As of starting the book, I was an ex-vegetarian who'd gone back to being a moderate meat eater and had been for over a decade now, but by the time I was halfway through it I was pretty sure my eating habits were about to seriously change. I'm not sure any reasonably intelligent and open-minded person could look at the research Dr. Campbell cites and not come to the same conclusion.

Having said that, I don't think the book is quite flawless -- there are times, particularly toward the latter part of the book, when it gets a bit heavy-handed and feels like the author's trying to drive home his point with a sledgehammer. But on the whole that's a small failing compared to the wealth of useful and potentially life-saving information in it -- not enough for me not to give it a 5-star review, though if fractions were allowed I might have gone for 4.75.
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on April 15, 2013
This is an excellent, technical, scientific, well laid out discussion of the effects of the foods we eat on chronic diseases overwhelming the western medical system. The thing that I found most astonishing was that the answer was the same for all the diseases! A high animal fat animal protein, refined carbohydrate diet encourages and promotes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, auto-immune diseases, The antidote is simple, cheap and do-able if you are willing: a whole food, plant-based diet1 The thing I notice without exception is that the proponents of this way of eating are slim, vigorous, vibrant and energetic despite advancing years! If you like a technical analysis of 50 years of nutritional studies, read this book! The scientific proof continues to accumulate.
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on April 6, 2012
This book details the peer-reviewed scholarly scientific research about the impact of diet and nutrition on disease rates. The scientific literature consistently reports that following a whole-foods plant-based diet prevents the diseases associated with affluent societies (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc). The most interesting topic was learning the facts behind the huge meat, dairy, and egg industries who have huge money at their disposal to mislead the public about diet implications on health.

You owe it to your health to read this book and discover the true scientific facts surrounding diet and health, I think it would be the single most important step to living a long and disease-free life.
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on June 8, 2006
One thing this book will make you think about is how our government funds a public health care system largely devoted to expensive and invasive medical procedures, and to putting people on drugs for the rest of their lives.

For me, the most thought provoking and intriguing chapters of this book can be found in part IV, "Why Haven't You Heard This Before?" They include, "Science -- The Dark Side", "The 'Science' Of Industry", "Government: Is It For The People?", and "Big Medicine: Whose Health Are They Protecting?"

I attended the 2006 Vegsource Healthy Lifestyle Expo in California, where Dr. Campbell gave the keynote address. At some point in the future, I'd like to find a way to bring his message to my hometown of Peterborough.

Having a population of only about 75,000, hasn't held us back too much. Apparently Peterborough has the largest cardiology clinic in the province. And I grew up next door to the family doctor whose been largely credited with having the vision to create primary health care teams as a means to improving the efficiency of our system. Thus providing doctors for doctor-less Canadians. In my view, Michael Moore's "Sicko", has painted the Canadian system much too rosy!

If you go to, you can access many more critical reviews of this book ( somewhere around 10% ). And if you go to a "popular American vegetarian website", you can find Dr. Campbell's response to some of the seemingly well researched critical reviews. Some of Campbell's critics claim this book is not a true reflection of the actual study, and that he has a "vegan agenda". If you have access to a copy of this book, read what Colin Campbell says on pages 106 and 107 about how he arrived at his decision to adopt a 99 percent plant-based diet.

It would be interesting to know what all of the colleagues involved in the actual "China Study", think of the Campbell's book. Although they do have at least one top guy in their corner. Junshi Chen's (M.D., PhD., Senior Research Professor Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention) praise for this book can be found on it's first page, along with Dean Ornish and others. Howard Lyman wrote the Preface, John Robbins, the Foreward. For me, these people exude integrity.
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