The China Study-Professional Comments


ROBERT LAWRENCE- Director-John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health- The Center for a Livable Future


I am familiar with Colin Campbell’s China Study and have hosted Colin at the Bloomberg School of Public Health on two occasions to discuss his work. I think the epidemiologic association he found between high levels of consumption of animal products (meat, eggs, and dairy) and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers has been validated by more recent publications from the Nurses’ Health Study at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, the comparison of life expectancy and disease burden among Seventh Day Adventists, and others. I think the association points to amounts of saturated fats rather than protein with contributions from nitrosamines in cured meats and hydrocarbons produced by grilling. The Nurses’ Health Study does suggest that there is something in red meat that is unhealthier than poultry but the design of the study limits our interpretations to epidemiologic associations rather than causal pathways.

There is no question that grass-raised cattle are better for the ecosystem, but there is still some uncertainty about the claims for greater omega-3 PUFAs and some of the other health claims. I’m surprised that Walt Willett “warns that it can have too much iron.” Perhaps if one were to consume at the high-meat  rates typical of the current American diet but certainly not if consumed in moderation.

I hope this helps.



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