Question About The China Study - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-16-2007, 06:48 PM
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I’ve been reading T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and I’ve only got a few pages left, so perhaps my question will be answered then.



I’ve done a great amount of research trying to find conflicting or contradictory info about Campbell’s study, but so far, the book seems staggeringly credible.



I do, however, have a question that I can’t seem to find the answer to. If you’ve read the book, you know that Campbell talks about the link between cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. with a meat-based diet. He states that in most cases, the countries that do not consume a 20% or higher animal-based diet have lower cases of these diseases. But, what about France? They eat A LOT of diary and meat there, yet I’ve read that these diseases are not as prevalent there. Can anyone explain this or provide me with alternate data?



Thanks!



P.S. I wasn't sure if this was the right section for this, so please move if I've posted it in the wrong place.
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#2 Old 03-16-2007, 07:17 PM
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Well, I don't have any solid data to back this up, but heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are overwhelmingly associated with obesity. France has relatively low rates of obesity, possibly due to the cultural way of eating small amount of rich foods. I have also heard of many Eskimo tribes that have low rates of these diseases but eat almost exclusively fish and fish fat or whale blubber. That may be a similar situation. Or it could be genetics. Who knows!!



Higher animal product intake would be associated with higher income levels, more processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, and therefore obesity, so I am not at all surprised that it would be associated with high rates of disease. Did he isolate these factors out at all?
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#3 Old 03-17-2007, 05:29 AM
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This article talks about the correlation between consumption of animal foods and cancer:

http://www.vegsource.com/harris/cancer_vegdiet.htm

I no longer post here after VB was sold in 2012. (See my profile page for details.)
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#4 Old 03-19-2007, 11:33 AM
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I appreciate the info, but does anyone have any specifics about France? It seems they defy Campbell's logic.
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#5 Old 03-19-2007, 11:49 AM
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I dont know where you got the idea that France consumes a substantial amount of dairy and meat. From this link:



http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/dairyedu/intro.html



France is on the lower end for diary consumption.



Here France is in the middle for meat consumption as a whole, but if you look down at the breakdown, they are low on most forms of meat:



http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus..._meat_and.html



here breast cancer rates are about the same as the US:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/he...ncer-incidence



here deaths by cancer, France is not far off of the US:



http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/he...th-from-cancer
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#6 Old 03-19-2007, 11:59 AM
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Its been awhile since I've read the book, but if I'm remembering correctly I have some issues with Campbell's logic in general. The study doesn't specifically study vegans, but people who don't eat a lot of animal products. It seems like the info is twisted just a bit too much. I want to believe everything he writes, I just can't.



However, if you are simply interested in France statistics a quick google search brings up some info. According to what I found in a few minutes, France does in fact have a high cancer rate. I haven't researched the other diseases you mentioned.



From WHO (scroll down http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/.../2003/pr27/en/ )



Industrial nations with the highest overall cancer rates include: U.S.A, Italy, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada and France. Developing countries with the lowest cancer were in Northern Africa Southern and Eastern Asia. (A complete list of cancer rates by countries can be found at http://www-dep.iarc.fr/.
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#7 Old 03-19-2007, 12:45 PM
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Thanks, Vio1 and Jinga! That's what I was looking for!
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#8 Old 03-19-2007, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinga View Post

Its been awhile since I've read the book, but if I'm remembering correctly I have some issues with Campbell's logic in general. The study doesn't specifically study vegans, but people who don't eat a lot of animal products. It seems like the info is twisted just a bit too much. I want to believe everything he writes, I just can't.

He talks about a diet with 5% meat consumption as far as the cancer is concerned , but he advocates a diet where most, if not all, of your protein comes from plants. So, it seems to be an "almost" vegan study.
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#9 Old 03-19-2007, 01:01 PM
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There is a lot of media info about the French eating a lot of meat and dairy. However, the facts are not that straightforward. Firstly, they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables which are high in antioxidants (along with a little red wine that also has some antioxidants although obviously some knock-on effects too). These mop up some of the free radicals caused by animal foods. However, the biggest reason why they have less disease is simply that they eat less food! Portions are much smaller, and a French woman will have yoghurt one morning if she ate a larger meal the night before. French women think all we British are fat slobs (and are probably right!) So even if a French person eats a little meat and fish a few times a week, this will be a tiny portion, followed by a small portion of cheese - not a huge steak sandwich accompanied by cheesy stringers and a hunk of cheesecake!
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#10 Old 03-20-2007, 11:02 AM
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My boyfriend is French and believe me, they eat a lot of meat in France! Obesity and cancer rates are rising exponentially ('sp?) due to the high content of transfat in our food. However, it is true that we eat more vegetables and unprocessed foods as well. But we DO have cancer...
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#11 Old 03-20-2007, 11:15 AM
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The China Study also assumes that it is the Chinese nutrient composition that determines their disease susceptibility -- and not their genetics, their activity levels (lots of bike commuting), the specific kinds of foods they eat (rice instead of wheat as the primary grain, more milk than cheese, fewer trans fats than some other places, etc.), or the fact that they get up earlier in the day than Westerners do (earlier sunrise).



Sure, nutrient composition is almost certainly a big deal in disease generation. But a study that ignores so many variables, some of which are even likely to be important, is a poor way to prove that.



Big fan of plant based foods for good health -- not so big a fan of the China Study.
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#12 Old 03-20-2007, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robot View Post

He talks about a diet with 5% meat consumption as far as the cancer is concerned , but he advocates a diet where most, if not all, of your protein comes from plants. So, it seems to be an "almost" vegan study.



Yup. That was what I meant. Technically speaking his research, if accurate, would prove that consuming a low amount of animal foods combined with lots of plants would be the healthiest way to go, not necessarily a vegan diet. Studying an all plant diet would require a different study (one based on consuming no animal products, not 5%). Its hard to guess that people would be even healthier if they removed that 5% of meat, eggs, etc. Its possible given the research, but in my opinion he didn't go so far as to prove it. Its an interesting study none the less.
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#13 Old 03-20-2007, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bios View Post

The China Study also assumes that it is the Chinese nutrient composition that determines their disease susceptibility -- and not their genetics, their activity levels (lots of bike commuting), the specific kinds of foods they eat (rice instead of wheat as the primary grain, more milk than cheese, fewer trans fats than some other places, etc.), or the fact that they get up earlier in the day than Westerners do (earlier sunrise)..



I think one of the points of the China Study though, is that the researchers compared people from different regions of China with one another, not with Westerners. So, in a way, the study was controlled somewhat for genetics and lifestyle. Not saying the study was perfect (wouldn't that be nice?) but it's not completely flawed.
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