Home / Books / Book Reviews / Book Review: The China Study – Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health by Dr. Colin Campbell, PhD

Book Review: The China Study – Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health by Dr. Colin Campbell, PhD

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The China Study is a ground-breaking analysis of more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease. The author is Dr. Colin Campbell, PhD, (with Thomas M. Campbell II) who started his work more than 20 years ago, looking for correlations between disease (heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and what we eat.

The overwhelming amount of research and work that went into this book means it's not an easy read. You will have to think when you pick this book up – that's not a bad thing, but don’t pick up this book expecting to find the newest and greatest nutrition advice from Suzanne Sommers. This book has been a monumental undertaking and is 417 pages, including index.

We are inundated with information about what is good for us and what is bad for us. Most of the time it just depends on nothing more than who is funding the study. Back when big tobacco corporations were losing their grip on the American cigarette market, they actually funded studies to say that smoking was good for your health. While we wouldn’t fall for that marketing scam today, we are still being blasted with information that’s just as bogus. Part of the problem is that we don’t know what’s true and what isn’t because it’s not as in-your-face or obvious as “smoking is good for your health.” The marketing ploys of today are more subtle and far-reaching.

Take lycopene: Dr. Campbell talks about the industry’s love of “tinkering” with what nature is providing us, using lycopene as an example.

Lycopene is found in tomatoes and is considered good as a prostrate cancer preventative. What the industry then did was forget that the start of the lycopene craze was about tomatoes and they started turning and twisting the information to suit their marketing and sales goals.

“As of this writing, there now are 1,361 (!) scientific publications on lycopene cited by the National Library of Medicine. A major market is developing, with trade names like Lycopene 10 Cold Water Dispersion and LycoVit 10% to be used as food supplements,” writes Dr. Cambpell. He goes on to explain why lycopene may or may not actually prevent anything and that isolating lycopene from the actual food is not the answer to our problems.

The reason “industry” messes with anything and everything though it money. They find something “new and exciting” and they run with it. They package it wrapped in the fear of cancer and then they sit back and take in millions. And Americans can’t seem to get enough of it.

The chapters “Government: Is it for the People?” and “Big Medicine: Whose Health are they Protecting” are worth the cover price alone. Dr. Campbell delves into the why the government isn’t doing more about the poor nutritional choices available to Americans and he talks about why big medicine is better off when we are sick. His answers, and the answers produced by his study that has never been under taken before, and will likely never be replicated, is that nutrition is the cornerstone of preventing disease, such as cancer and that animal based protein (as opposed to plant based protein) is not as good for you as the “industry” wants you to believe.

What I find missing in his book is that he doesn’t even mention the damage that vaccines are doing to us and our children. He says, in his chapter on autoimmunity issues, “The immune system is astonishingly complex. I often hear people speaking about this system as if it were an identifiable organ like a lung. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a system, not an organ.”

How then, does Dr. Campbell not even broach the subject of the toxins that are being shot directly into the veins of our babies? Ingredients like aluminum, formaldehyde, aspartame, sodium chloride, aluminum hydroxide, chick embryo cells… the list of toxic and cancer causing chemicals in vaccines is too long to even list in this review. So, the question strikes me – why did Dr. Campbell avoid this topic in an otherwise comprehensive study?

I very much agree with and appreciate all he did write about nutrition and how our bodies work with the proper nutrition. One thing that we Americans don’t do enough of is breastfeed and he likens type 1 diabetes to this, among other things such as the indigestibility of cow’s milk, the fact that baby formula is just totally lacking in any conceivable nutrition at all, and the fact that once an infant becomes type 1 diabetic, he is that way for life. There is a large contingent of people (who grow in numbers everyday) that believe that between the lack of nutrition our babies are getting and the vaccines that are being shoved on us, coupled with the toxic water people use to feed their babies formula and the air quality around us, that we are fully responsible for the disease in our society — as is the government for mandating an ever increasing number of vaccines.

Dr. Campbell even writes on page 192, “Imagine looking at the front page of the newspaper and finding the following headline: “Cow’s Milk the Likely Cause of Lethal Type 1 Diabetes.” Because the reaction would be so strong, and the economic impact monumental, this headline won’t be written anytime soon, regardless of the scientific evidence. Stifling this headline is accomplished under the powerful label of “controversy.” With so much at stake, [money] and so much information understood by so few people, it is easy to generate and sustain controversy.”


The same that is said for cow’s milk in his book is the same that can be said for vaccines.
We have to quit taking the information being fed to us and start questioning everything. This book is beyond ground breaking. It’s heaven sent. I am sad that the number of changes it should promote will likely never come to fruition.

The China Study is not a diet book. Dr. Campbell is very clear about this. His is not a fad book on what to cut out of your diet or how to do squats, it’s about the importance of nutrition and how we have been led to believe “facts” that were never true. The “facts” often come about from people (doctors, scientists, corporations) that have a vested interest in what they produce.

While I do recommend the book, I also want to point out that Dr. Campbell is taking his “findings” and applying them to almost everything. There is a danger in this, as I believe we underestimate how different each of us is inside. What might work for your diet, might not work for mine, and so on. I also think that the complete lack of information on vaccines makes me question how he could have missed those particular toxins while he was looking for reasons we get cancer. It’s been proven that the virus in the polio vaccine SV40 has been found in rare brain cancers (The Virus and the Vaccine by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher).

The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health is a national bestseller for a reason – it's that good. It has great information and while it did not convince me to become a vegan, or even a vegetarian, it did show me the importance of most of the foods I already feed my family.

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About Chubby

  • It’s a shame that health organisation and most media don’t publish about the findings in the China Study.

  • Ms.Clemons,
    Great Review! Some of the book reviews I’ve completed have discussed various aspects of The China Study. I value your opinion.

  • Thank you both for your comments. I agree, it is a shame that our media is so narrow minded when it comes to the information they will feed us.

    Best, M.A.

  • Thanks so much for this review, and for raising a good question! I agree that vaccines are clearly an important health related topic, and my guess as to why it wasn’t included in “The China Study” is because the focus of the book is upon our food consumption habits. The large body of evidence cited revolves around the important question of how what we eat impacts our health–embedded in this core topic is a small section devoted to how diet counters *some* environmental toxins. It would be interesting to see whether individuals raised on the type of diets supported by the book’s evidence (e.g., free of animal-derived proteins, rich in whole grains and leafy greens, etc.) have a lower incidence of the types of conditions correlated with vaccine ingredients in question. Entire articles or additional books could likely be written on that. The focus of this book, however, is upon our food consumption–something that each of us has the power to change immediately in our everyday lives, and something that clearly makes a significant difference in human health. In my opinion, trying to cover *too* broad a field in the book would simply leave the audience feeling frustrated, disempowered, and uncertain how to take action. This book, with the assistance of some of the evidence you’ve highlighted, provides an actionable starting point for all of us.

  • Wonderful points Dave, thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • Abby

    i love this book i just stated reaing it but a freind recommended it and its great!!!

  • KT

    It’s prostate cancer..not prostrate cancer.

  • Speed Simple

    In the revw u ask why Dr. Campbell didn’t talk abt vaccines in his. Well, isn’t obvious tht his study ws on the rlationship btwn the FOODS tht we eat and disease?

  • Speed Simple

    Good rvw though. I just fnshd rding it now.