Archive for the ‘The China Study’ Category

Chipotle-One Answer to Health and the C.Bay

November 22, 2010

The debate over Colin Campbell’s China Study is even more important to a healthy environment than it is to human health. Does anyone in upstate Pennsylvania or in Philadelphia or in Iowa really care about the Gulf of Mexico or Chesapeake Bay?  Fast food is here to stay for reasons that go beyond health or the environment and have to do with a population explosion of people who feel entitled to cheap food mostly animal food. Then there is the economic reality which is that population growth promotes economic activity and is necessary to an overall healthful society. Most young people are unconcerned about their future health or the health of the environment which is so important to those of us who live on the water of Chesapeake Bay  They are primarily interested in their addiction to cheap animal based food. This is the reality. So are we who are concerned and see our water and our soil being destroyed every day just to give up? NO. There is still hope.

Chipotle is a company whose stock is at historic highes. They are a fast food company which specializes in plant food mostly beans which they enhance with some meat in a Mexican tradition. For the last few years they have made a conscious effort to have all their plant food meet organic criteria and their animal food to be pasture raised. Their growth is phenomenal and is an encouragement to all of us interested in the future of our soil and the water quality of Chesapeake Bay. Chipotle is an answer to the growing dilemma of how to feed a growing population without destroying our Natural resources and our health.



CHINA STUDY-Summary of Comments

November 22, 2010

We received e-mail comments from Fred Kirchenmann, Walter Willett, Robert Lawrence and others about our posts on the China Study, which acknowledge many of Colin Campbell’s conclusions and question others. Some of these e-mails can be found under this post and others under the Obesity Post. There are other studies that should be pointed out in addition to those cited. The National Cancer Institute Study made a strong connection between cancer, heart disease and red meat but found fish and poultry to be slightly beneficial. Dr Lauren Cordain in his studies at the University of Colorado found corn fed beef to be 7 times higher in saturated fat then grass fed and that fast food hamburger averages 65% fat. Dr Lawrence reached the conclusion that saturated fat is the culprit rather than animal protein. Except for the China Study, lab studies on cancer where lysine from cows milk was the source of animal protein this conclusion to the China Study can be made. The China Study raises questions important to those of us concerned with soil and water conservation. It must be assumed that all animals used in the research were corn fed. Is there a health difference between pasture raised animal food and corn fed? We know that pasture raised animals actually build topsoil quickly using modern rotational grazing techniques and also can minimize nutrient pollution. Hopefully the China Study is only the beginning of research on these issues. In the meantime we have stopped consumption of corn fed animal products and consume minimal amounts of pasture raised animal products and fish.

OBESITY-More China Study Conclusions

November 20, 2010

Prior to the start of the China study phase of his research, Colin Campbell expected to find a country that suffered from malnutrition, insufficient calories and unable to feed itself. He was surprised to find that the Chinese generally consumed 30% more calories than Americans and that even allowing for a more active rural society their average body weight was 20% lower. Colin Campbell’s research indicates that provided we are not restricting our calorie intake, which is virtually impossible over an extended time frame, those of us who consume a high fat, high protein diet retain more calories than we need and that we store these calories as fat, in our muscle fiber similar to marbling in beef animals, and in more obvious places like around our waist, our butt, and midsection. Basically the Chinese high complex carbohydrate diet with little meat, dairy, and virtually no refined carbohydrates as in processed foods i.e. sodas, crackers, cookies, pizza, chips and etc. keeps them lean along with their use of the bicycle to get to work. Also their rate of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases associated with affluent societies are infinitesimal. As they become more affluent and more urbanized they will lose these advantages. When a Burger King, MacDonald’s, or a pizza store appears on every corner they will have become the same unhealthy society as the US.


COLIN CAMPBELL PhD-Diet and health?

November 17, 2010

What has become so convincing about the effect of diet on health is the breath of the evidence. While a single study might be found to support any idea under the sun, what are the chances that hundreds even thousands of different studies show a protective benefit of plant based foods while and/or harmful effects of animal-based foods for so many different diseases? We can’t say it’s due to coincidence, bad data, biased research, misinterpreted statistics or “playing with numbers.” This has got to be the real deal.

These comments come halfway through the book China Study:

To show you just how strong this evidence is, I will cover five more seemingly unrelated diseases common to America: osteoporosis, kidney stones, blindness, cognitive dysfunction, alzheimer’s disease, need for hip replacement These disorders are not often fatal and are often regarded as inevitable consequences of aging but as we shall see even these diseases have a dietary link.

While many people are trying to avoid the truth about the connection between the current American diet, which is dominated by meat, and dairy consumption the stated reason, lack of excitement, is not important enough to this writer to risk destruction of health. We are therefore eliminating meat and dairy products from our diet. Hopefully we can find creative chefs and dishes that will make for an exciting transition. We will post exciting dishes and names of chefs as we proceed.

The China Study-Professional Comments

November 7, 2010

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.



November 6, 2010

We will be posting comments on THE CHINA STUDY from professionals as they are received. We have two from major public health institutions. The first is from Walter Willett. He was also involved with Harvard’s NURSES HEALTH STUDY another major study of foods relationship to major disease and has made comments to the Washington Post on the National Cancer Institute’s large human study on the relationship between red meat and early death.

WALTER WILLETT- Department Head Harvard University-School of Public Health, Nutrition and Epidemiology– He was featured in the documentary King Corn where he discussed the adverse health effects of High Fructose Corn syrup.

I certainly agree with the point about the adverse environmental effects of our current ag system, and the adverse effects on human health.

However, it is magical thinking that we would have a society that is free from all the diseases that you describe, but we could greatly reduce the rates by not smoking, better diets, and more physical activity.

However, the optimal diet, or environmental situation, does not have to be completely free of animal products, but should move in the direction of being more plant based.  E.g., there is room in a healthy food production system of some pasture cropping and fish raising.

Processing is also a complex issue; surely hydrogenated oils and refined grains have been a disaster for health, but some processing is necessary for digestion, and also for preservation as we can’t produce a year round supply of food locally in the North East, especially at the current population levels. What we need is smart processing that is aimed at optimizing both health and environmental impacts…..fortunately these are not mutually exclusive.

Heart Disease-The Cause Animal Protein?

November 3, 2010

The China Study chapter #5

After the Second World War the National Heart Institute was created at Framingham MA. At that time scientists knew that Americans were leading the world in heart diseases and they knew that greasy plaque was building up in many arteries and that it was connected to fatty acids and high cholesterol but they did not know why. The Framingham study, which identified this mainly American problem, was published in 1955. Among the early attempts to study heart disease Dr Morrison did try reducing but not eliminating animal food in a study group of heart disease patients in 1946 and he had some success. Most of the early research focus was on reducing fat and cholesterol while reducing all animal protein remained in the shadows. Today Americans eat more meat and dairy products than ever and cancer and heart disease are far and away the largest killers.

In 1985 Dr Esselstyn and his wife Ann began a study at the Cleveland Clinic, which involved 18 patients with severe heart disease with a goal of reducing blood Cholesterol below 150 mg/dt. Initially the diet allowed skim milk and non-fat yogurt but was modified to eliminate all animal protein. After 17 years as of 2003 all but one patient was still alive going into their seventies and eighties. These patients had 49 coronary events before they went on a plant food based diet and none afterwards.

Dr Dean Ornish did a similar study. He started with a group of 28 heart disease patients who went on a no animal protein diet except egg whites and non fat milk or yogurt and 20 who were given a standard treatment plan using pills and moderate diet similar to what most patients still receive from their doctors today. The group that were on the no animal food diet reduced their artery blockage by 4% in the first year while the group that received normal treatment continued to suffer increase artery blockage. 200 people have participated in Dr Ornish’s Lifestyle Project, which has saved an average of $30,000 per patient in cost of surgical procedures

Despite all of this evidence, which supports a change to a plant based diet, well meaning institutions continue to recommend moderation in consumption of animal based food rather than recommending a diet based on overwhelming scientific truth. I personally have never had a doctor recommend a plant based diet despite  building evidence that this lifestyle change would improve everyone’s chances of increased longevity a good chance of a life free of  many major diseases. Why? See the end of Chapter 5 of the China Study for some perspective.


Cancer Promotion-The Reversible 2nd Phase?

November 1, 2010

During the initiation phase we have seen how animal protein increased the level of enzyme activity and increased the amount of DNA altering aflatoxin, which is available to attack cell DNA. But what is the affect of protein intake during the important promotion phase, which is sometimes called the reversible phase? To find out Dr Campbell induced cancer into the liver of rats using aflatoxin. He then varied the amount of animal protein consumed from a high of 20% of calories about the amount of the male American diet to a low 5% of calories. Other scientists discovered that little microscopic cell clusters called foci occurred after initiation, which were a precursor of, and predictor of full-blown tumors. This development, cut decades and  prohibitive cost from the lab experiments. However the final laboratory experiment was based on actual tumor development in a massive rat study.

They varied the amount of aflatoxin given to the rats and found that it was the animal protein consumption rather than the level of aflatoxin that caused tumor development. They discontinued all protein consumption for periods of time, which caused tumor development to stop. They then turned tumor development back on by restarting high levels of animal protein consumption. Up to this time they used the casein in cows milk as their source of animal protein. They then switched to plant protein and looked at other animals. The reader can only get a sense of the thoroughness of the lab animal phase by reading the full chapter #3 “Turning off Cancer”. But it was becoming clear to Colin Campbell that in lab animals a pattern was beginning to emerge: nutrients from animal foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant food decreased tumor development in the large lifetime study of rats with aflatoxin induced tumors. They had completely confirmed the Indian studies, which prompted the research.

At this point a scientist from Mainland China came to work in Dr. Campbell’s lab. This relationship was to lead to the largest human study of the role of nutrition and lifestyle in most major diseases in the largest and most comprehensive manner ever undertaken. They went on to the China Study.


The Role of Animal Protein in Cancer Initiation

October 31, 2010

Cancer proceeds through 3 stages; initiation, promotion, and progression. To use a rough analogy, the cancer process is similar to planting a lawn. Initiation is when you put the seed in the soil, promotion is when the grass starts to grow when conditions of moisture and sun are just right, and progression is when the grass gets completely out of control, invading the driveway, the shrubbery and the sidewalk. Chemicals that initiate the process are called carcinogens. Dr. Campbell’s research discovered 5 ways that an excess of animal protein in the diet can influence each stage.

The carcinogens’ that start the process are often byproducts of industrial processes. The documentary Big River a sequel to King Corn, revealed research by Dr. John Wargo at Yale University which focused on atrazine a chemical spray widely used to kill weeds during June in agricultural areas throughout the Country and is thought to be responsible for the cancer epidemic in Iowa. We also have a high rate of cancer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Anyone residing in a farming area is exposed to this chemical spray. Anyone traveling down Route 301 to the Eastern Shore or anyone traveling from Washington to Ocean City on Route 50 while farm fields are being sprayed in June is exposed to this chemical. Obviously everyone of the thousands of people exposed to atrazine do not get cancer. Why?

The body has a defense mechanism for exposure to chemicals. There is an enzyme called MFO, which is responsible for metabolizing chemicals, friend or foe, that enter the body. Paradoxically, this enzyme both detoxifies and produces a toxic byproduct called aflatoxin, which attacks the cell DNA and causes irreversible damage to the cell. This research in laboratory rats reported by Dr Campbell in 1976 showed that this enzyme activity was dramatically increased by levels of animal protein common to the level in the diet of Americans today and was not increased by low levels of animal protein or plant protein. In effect the bodies complex defense mechanizism has been co-opted and used against the body when excess animal protein is consumed.

In order to produce the current level of animal protein we are applying 3 times more chemical fertilizer to corn feed than the corn can use in normal rainfall years. In drought years almost all of the applied nitrogen leaches into aquifers and eventually reaches surface water where it is destroying all water species. We are also taking short cuts in crop rotation to produce corn feed, which is destroying our soil carbon, which leads to high levels of erosion. The manure generated by CAFOs is adding to the nitrogen saturation of aquifers and runoff of species destroying phosphorous.    An unanticipated level of animal protein consumption than our creator anticipated causes all of this destruction. In short our addiction to high levels of meat and dairy products is destroying our most important natural resources and our health.


THE CHINA STUDY- Part One Introduction

October 30, 2010

When a leading agronomist read the paper” America’s Failed Food Production System” which initiated our website his comment was “How can we feed a growing population if we were to return to the agriculture that was practiced when I was a kid?” What we both missed is that plant food is still grown the old fashion way and fruit is still grown on trees and vines the old fashioned way except for the chemicals that are used to control weeds and bugs which are also problematic. It is only animal food production that has changed, dominated field production, and resulted in people in the US consuming double the animal protein consumed by most of the world. The corn used to feed the animals dominates field production and along with the animal manure generated by CAFO’s is the greatest source of nutrient pollution of every river and estuary East of the Rockies. Short cuts in tilled farming rotations are causing the US to lose its topsoil which is estimated to be half lost. Corn feed, chicken, hogs and cattle production are particularly destructive to estuaries like Chesapeake Bay which receive river pollution. So the question should not be about most food but only about animal protein production.

Colin Campbell the son of a dairy farmer earned his PhD at Cornell University in biochemistry and nutrition studying ways to produce more animal protein which at the time most people agreed was the answer to malnutrition in many of the world’s children. Curious about the connection between animal protein and cancer found by Indian scientists and his own observations of childhood cancers in affluent children while studying malnutrition of children in the early 70’s, Colin Campbell spent his professional career focused on lab studies and on the largest human epidemiology study ever conducted on the relationship between animal protein and common cancers, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bone, kidney, eye and autoimmune diseases.

Since animal protein production, CAFO chicken production in our watershed, is so important to our mission to restore LaTrappe Creek we will review The China Study and present other opinions over several posts. We will start with the three stages of cancer, which is where Dr. Campbell’s research started in the early 70’s.