The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response

3 08 2010

Woefully belated. Endnoted up the wazoo. Marked lack of cutesy.

Click here for the HTML version, or head straight to the PDF:

“The China Study”: A Formal Analysis and Response

(Updated noon-ish PST on August 3rd with typo corrections)

If you haven’t done so yet, also read Campbell’s first response and Campbell’s second response, which this is in reply to.

I’ll see what I can do about getting this set up in blog-post form, but I really don’t have the mental capacity to work on it right now. Sorry. In the meantime, here’s the table of contents so you know what you’re getting yourself into:


Introduction

SECTION 1: Reiteration and Expansion of Criticisms

  1. Linkage of animal protein with cancer by way of cholesterol
  2. Misleading association of breast cancer with lipid intake and lipid intake with animal protein
  3. Supposition that plasma cholesterol increases liver cancer risk
  4. Misrepresentation of heart-protective effects of green vegetables, and the three-variable linkage between animal protein, apolipoprotein B, and cardiovascular disease
  5. Biased use of unadjusted univariate correlations to confer protective benefits of plant foods but not with animal foods
  6. Use of a three-variable chain to connect animal foods with “Western” diseases
  7. Unexplored role of blood glucose, insulin, and disease
  8. Dismissing relevant variables
  9. Errors in the extrapolation of casein to all animal protein

SECTION 2: Biological Models and Cited Papers

  1. Breast cancer
  2. Liver cancer
  3. Energy utilization
  4. Affluent-poverty diseases
  5. Summary

SECTION 3: Response to Points Raised by Campbell

  1. Wheat: confounded variable or legitimate concern?
  2. Selection of univariate correlations and confirmation bias
  3. Tuoli county and erroneous data
  4. Whole-food, plant-based diets versus whole-food diets with animal products
  5. Conclusion

And before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, listen up: Every time I employed a univariate correlation, it was because Campbell had done so first, under the same circumstances. Every. Time.

Also, this is sort of a pre-final version, and there may be typos (please point them out!) or orphaned punctuation (ditto). If I make any changes, I’ll post the updated version with a note.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend a very, very long time not staring at the computer screen, catching up on a couple weeks’ worth of sleep, and hopefully regrowing the little chunks of my soul that died while writing this. Adieu!

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131 responses

3 08 2010
Vajra

Congratulations on completing this paper! I hope that it will be read, and read well, by anyone interested in the fascinating topic.

I downloaded it and gave it a first read. Other than some obvious typos of a clerical nature, I can’t find any significant flaws in the writing or analysis. And this comes from someone with degrees (MRes, PhD) in fields not in biology or medicine but ones that nevertheless require statistical analysis and critical thinking based on that analysis. In short, well done! It is a most impressive paper and one that should stand well on its own.

I look forward to formal responses from those with credentials and experience that are directly related to this paper.

3 08 2010
The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? « Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet

[...] The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? 7 07 2010 [Note: If you're interested in a more thorough, formal, and referenced critique of "The China Study," I've written one and posted it here.] [...]

3 08 2010
Markus

I’ve just finished part III and the conclusion and all I can say is, Thank You Denise for all the work you put in there. It’s nice to see an interestign writing style combined with hard conclusions.

I’ll hope for a response of Chambell where he actually adresses your points, as they are central to his thesis, instead of handwaving them away or ignoring them entirely. However my guestimate of the layout of his response is more along the lines of:

1. Bostering his credentials + a few ad homs
2. Complaining about vilness
3. Pointing out percieved flaws – which he’s himself commiting
4. Dig out some studies to “prove” his point which will be a nice collection of n=1 studies and studies with improper control of variables (this groups gave up smoking, meat, refinded garbade,began exercising – they got better – therfore meat=evil)
5. 1

However, there is alway hope.
Again thanks for your great work

3 08 2010
MA

Purely from a marketing perspective (and that seems to be what he is about anymore), his best option at this point might be just to declare victory and walk away because his science is being shredded so badly.

With his scientific logic laid waste, he has been forced to become the science maverick again and talk about other people being too reductionist and not hearing the same symphony as he does or that his new superior brand of science allows him to use cherry-picked simple univariate correlations as proof that his hypothesis is correct.

4 08 2010
Patrick N.

Yes this is exactly what will probably happen.

Patrick

11 09 2010
Noah

This is -as a matter of fact- what happened.

3 08 2010
anon

Very impressive, Denise.

There may still be some trolling from anonymous ‘epidemiologists’ who refuse to crunch data themselves, but I don’t think you’ll hear any more from Campbell. He is overmatched and he knows it.

Further, you are incredibly gracious toward him and he can’t match that either.

The one response I would look out for is when the true believers physically attack you at public appearances. Insist on adequate security. (I am quite serious.)

3 08 2010
Greg

I’m working my way through your paper and am extremely impressed so far. I wondered if the Campbells had anything in the works already, and maybe this was already up, but the son who runs campbellcoalition.com revised the page about you, not naming you specifically unless one clicks through to Dr. Campbell’s statements, but being extremely dismissive…it makes me wonder if T.C.C. himself will ask him to take it down, as it’s really over the top. Note the out-of-nowhere Weston Price Foundation reference yet again, which takes up almost 50% of the text!

“China Study Critique

A young person with no formal training in biology or experimental research recently wrote a critique of The China Study that was not well grounded scientifically, but which nevertheless has gotten wide circulation on the web. Supporters of the Weston Price Foundation in particular have been active in promoting this paper to laypeople as a serious critique of the China Study, despite its science flaws.

The Weston Price Foundation has been critical of Dr. Campbell and his book, The China Study, for years. It is an organization friendly to the interests of the animal products industry.

Dr. Campbell wrote an initial response to the China Study critique, followed by a second response to follow-up questions by the author. He then wrote a paper on statistics to further clarify the science flaws of the original critique. These are accessible via the links below.”

4 08 2010
Bushrat

I suspect the reason Campbell’s son removed mention of Denise’s name (unless you go looking for it) was because someone might actually go and find this site then use their own reason and come to the conclusion that Campbell is full of shit. Obviously we can’t have someone using their own reasoning instead of relying on authority, can we?

7 08 2010
Frank

Why don’t you just stop?

28 09 2010
Chris

“I suspect the reason Campbell’s son removed mention of Denise’s name (unless you go looking for it) was because someone might actually go and find this site then use their own reason and come to the conclusion that Campbell is full of shit.”

Or because Dr Campbell was actually disgusted with the harassment (such as yours) from omniconfused people lacking understanding and experience with successful diet modification. And/or because this site is based upon applied art and social sanctions.

“we can’t have someone using their own reasoning instead of relying on authority, can we?”

[W]e”??? More social recruitment from those intolerant of anything other than total diet philosophy unanimity…

Chris

11 09 2010
Noah

“It is an organization friendly to the interests of the animal products industry.”

I am sick and tired of this kind of deception. What is wrong with how you think?. The mental image you want to invoke in people when you say “friendly to the interests of the animal products industry” is that of ghastly industrial farming. This is one of the key things that this very organisation argue against. They support, real free-range and organic products and animal wellfare which is pretty much the direct opposite of what you deceptive muppets wants to imply. Is it so hard to say “WAP support freerange, organic farming and freetrade between farmer and consumer with no middlemen”. But alas….

3 08 2010
kat

Even formal, monotone Denise was a pleasure to read. Great points on the Tuoli; Campbell’s mention of them in his first response really opened a can of worms that I’m sure he wishes he could close.

3 08 2010
CPM

Hi Denise,

Great work. You hit so many points I think you could expand or incorporate this into a book or two (with more elaboration and of course more soul.) I think you could do a really good book on the issues with modern Western-style diets and the misguided attempts to fix these.

3 08 2010
Sue

I like CPM’s idea about the book(s). This is truly a masterpiece! Great job!!!

3 08 2010
Alessandro

Excellent job Denise.
Thank you so much.

3 08 2010
Mike

Once again, excellent work, Denise. Any ETA on your post on wheat?

3 08 2010
Archibald Springer

Denise,

Thank goodness the soul, like the liver, has amazing regenerative capability (avoid too much fructose and alcohol, of course). Now go in peace, eat, rest, play, and, above all, get your cortisol under control.

Archie

4 08 2010
neisy

Yessir. :)

3 08 2010
bee

Your “academic-writing-induced soul death” is a great act of service to those interested in nutrition. Bravo and thank you.

This vegan is rethinking her choices.

3 08 2010
Steve-O

Hi Denise,

Been following this discussion for a while. Just wanted to say thanks for all the hard work and passion you poured into this. And extra thanks for making it easy-to-digest for this slightly above average liberal arts major. English does come in handy!

P.S. If you setup a vacation fund, I’ll try to contribute. :)

3 08 2010
Tony

Thank you for this, Denise! I think Campbell should be stripped of his academic titles for his shoddy research analysis and lumped together with losers like Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons who first claimed to produce cold fusion in 1989 but were shown to have engaged in pathological science.

3 08 2010
Jacob

And no other than the great Gary Taubes was the one who knocked them down.

4 08 2010
Tony

Perhaps Gary Taubes can do a mainstream article in the NY Times about Campbell, The China Study and Denise taking him down. Now that’s a thought!

3 08 2010
Richard Nikoley

Great job, Denise — once again and especially. That was quite a read.

Though likely unecessary this time I’ll once again put the shout out and integrate a few other things.

Any word yet from those bananas people, or people who’ve gone bananas?

4 08 2010
Joe D

Yours is a wonderfully written document that I hope many will read as honestly as written. Your alternative hypothesis (e.g., the diseases of civilization are due to Food, Inc., not meat per se), has no counter-examples, unlike Campell’s almost laughable meat-is-the-villain theory (at least when torn apart skillfully, as you have done). Everywhere manufactured food displaces traditional foods (plant based or meat based), health suffers; good grief that is easy for anyone but a man blinded by bias to see.

Campbell, like the equally poor scientist Ancel Keys, pushes a theory that many want to believe (e.g., to support killing animals for nourishment is somehow wrong), and so his pseudo-science crapola is taken as gospel by many. However logical (and accurate) your arguments, you will not penetrate the skulls of many “true believers” (including Campbell himself), although sometimes fanatics do flip.

The Campbell believers are the (mostly) unwitting (and duped) supporters of Food, Inc., for which nutritional confusion/disinformation is their strongest ally. The AMA, AHA, ADA, etc., are always doing their part, too, giving advice that is almost always wrong (and quite self-serving).

It is brave to stand up to the “true believers”, and I hope their inevitable persecution is not taken to heart nor has any actual negative effects. I would hope their loud protests simply serve to spread your message.

In summary, this is the “definitive” criticism of “The China Study” farce to date, and a great service to intellectual honesty. Thanks for huge effort! I’ll be sharing this with many others!

4 08 2010
Tony

Gary Taubes has stated in the past that he would not call people doing bad nutritional research like Ancel Keys scientists.

4 08 2010
Stan Bleszynski

Denise,
(reposting)
I couldn’t find the “MEAT INTAKE (g/day)” datum that would be equal to 121.1 g/day from your spreadsheet myocardial_infarc…, in the original spreadsheets from the Oxford website. In CH89DG.CSV in the row of WA (Tuoli), at 3-rd Xiang and Total M+F (T), in the column labeled as “D049 MEAT diet survey MEAT INTAKE (red meat and poultry) (g/day/…” the actual value is 88.3 g/day. There is also one other county YA (Xianghuangqi , looks like in Inner Mongolia) that has higher value of 104.4 g/day. Could you clarify where did 121.1 meat consumption come from?
Thanks,
Stan (Heretic)

6 08 2010
Chris Masterjohn

Stan — CH89.DG is the 1989 survey. This is part of China Study II. The 1983 survey is what is included in the monograph. That is China Study 1. However, CH83DG contains what should be these data from the monograph, but it is missing boatloads of data, including but certaintly not limited to the Tuoli meat intake.

Chris

4 08 2010
neisy

Hi Stan!

The 121.1g is from page 634 of the book “Diet, Life-style, and Mortality in China” — the monograph for China Study I. I haven’t looked too much at the website data, but from what I’ve seen the numbers don’t match up perfectly with the book. Kind of frustrating.

4 08 2010
Stan Bleszynski

Hi,

That’s what I thought. They either deleted some outliers or more likely, there may have been more data in the original book that were not put in the spreadsheets.

Different but not completely different subject; if you never heard of this story you may find it interesting and perhaps applicable: 8-:)

Trofim Lysenko

Best Regards,
Stan (Heretic)

4 08 2010
Mayhem

The “china study” is the bible behind the vegan religion hiding behind the auspice of science. I’m glad it can be put away now and the mantra of self righteous true believers can be put in its proper place while the rest of us can figure out how to BE healthy instead of BELIEVE healthy.

Ahh what a breath of fresh air. Thanks Denise.

7 08 2010
Frank

I think i am getting nauseous from this love fest. You all sure seem hostile toward any one that has decided not to be a sheeple and not just eat what we were taught from childhood by the money interests in the dead food industry.

7 08 2010
Tony

Spoken like a true believer of the vegan faith. Anyone who questions Campbell’s word is clearly an infidel in your mindset.

7 08 2010
MA

Hey Frank,

It is kind of funny calling the people here sheeple that mindlessly follow special interest groups (here on a raw food blog…). Most people that have come here are probably either paleo-esque or vegan. Vegans follow government and special interest guidelines much more than paleo-esque people do.

Since I have been alive the government and special interests have taught us to eat low fat and whole grain. They said to cut down on meat and only eat fish, chicken or turkey. They have encouraged us to eat high omega-6 vegetable oil instead of animal fat. McDonalds and the rest of the restaurant industry stopped using tallow and other saturated fats because the special interests kept saying these were bad for you. Instead they encouraged them to use hydrogenated vegetable oil called trans-fats.

People don’t give a crap what Campbell or vegans eat. What the problem is that Campbell keeps insisting that his book is science and some people actually believe him. Most of the criticism here is of Campbell’s abuse of science. It is not hostile to question somebody else’s science or lack of it when they claim to be scientific. That is the way the scientific process works.

28 09 2010
Chris

“Most people that have come here are probably either paleo-esque or vegan. Vegans follow government and special interest guidelines much more than paleo-esque people do.”

“Vegetarians are less likely than the general population to follow a conventional religion… are more different then similar in their social backgrounds, political beliefs” – Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. V. 3, 489-490. Solomon H. Katz & William Weaver. 2003.

Have you had any success with elimination diets? Pick a disease and search scientific databases to see whether fruit or meat is negatively or positively correlated. Just go down the list. Fruit intake reverses/prevents/postpones virtually all the degenerative diseases which meat increases, exacerbates or causes.

Chris

28 04 2014
Jo

Agree. It’s quite sad how people can be so brainwashed.

4 08 2010
Bushrat

Hey Denise, one typo: On the top of page 27 you have a sentence beginning “Yet appears Campbell’s chief criterion..” I think you missed the word “it”.

Otherwise I didn’t see a single mistake. A very good paper. I’ll be waiting with interest to see how Campbell digs his hole further.

4 08 2010
Steven Low

Props for doing all the leg work for us. :)

Enjoy your time away from the computer, haha.

4 08 2010
kat

So, the banana people have this posted (sorry about the link length, couldn’t find the PDF anywhere else):

http://api.ning.com/files/F*5wVZaz-*EuQdWPXGMRvNT9yADtGgR1FT5UT7hZP8BftgNXirgHPUvPOh2xkpn4FHGWskuh7sn2FWM3bDkJtEG3W9R3jHtj/ChinaProjectfinalversion.pdf

Seems pretty ridic after reading Denise’s work. Does anyone know if this was this part of “The China Study” book promotion, or is this to promote the “upcoming book” or food line?

4 08 2010
Jon

The 30Bad people are pretty wacky. Their “cancer epidemiologist” said this talking about Denise’s critique of Campbell (apparently the epidemiologist did not realize that Campbell is who this should have been directed to):

“Your analysis is completely OVER-SIMPLIFIED. Every good epidemiologist/statistician will tell you that a correlation does NOT equal an association. By running a series of correlations, you’ve merely pointed out linear, non-directional, and unadjusted relationships between two factors. I suggest you pick up a basic biostatistics book, download a free copy of “R” (an open-source statistical software program), and learn how to analyze data properly. I’m a PhD cancer epidemiologist, and would be happy to help you do this properly. While I’m impressed by your crude, and – at best – preliminary analyses, it is quite irresponsible of you to draw conclusions based on these results alone. At the very least, you need to model the data using regression analyses so that you can account for multiple factors at one time.”

Campbell totally disagrees with vaunted 30Bad cancer epidemiologist and says that he can actually cherry-pick these simple univariate correlations and actually use them as EVIDENCE that his hypothesis is correct:

“I agree that using univariate correlations of population databases should not be used to infer causality, when one adheres to the reductionist philosophy of nutritional biology and/or when one ignores or does not have prior evidence of biological plausibility beforehand. In this case, these correlations can only be used to generate hypotheses for further investigation, that is, to establish biological plausibility. If in contrast, we start with explanatory models that represent the inherent complexity of nutrition and is accompanied by biological plausibility, then it is fair to look for supportive evidence among a collection of correlations, especially when we examine these correlations from multiple biological perspectives.”

So even though the vaunted 30Bad cancer epidemiologist and Cambpell are in total disagreement concerning the science, they merrily share the vegan philosophy so the nasty scientific issues are conveniently brushed under the rug.

15 04 2012
Doug Spoonwod

1. Campell actually agrees with the 30Bad cancer epidemologist about Denise’s analysis. Campbell writes “This blogger is making the same point that I am making but I am puzzled why was it deleted from Denise’s blog?” and then quotes the 30Bad person http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html

2. Campell does not ascribe as much weight to his correlations as you seem to imply that he does. Not only does he point out that the correlations he used had *prior* evidence supporting them, he also says “I must emphasize: the correlations published in our monograph CANNOT be blindly used to infer causality–at least for specific cause-effect associations having no biological plausibility. Nonetheless, they do offer a rich trove of opportunities to generate interesting hypotheses, relatively few of which have been explored to date. In contrast, using models representing biological plausibility, which was determined from prior research, I simply wanted to see if they were consistent with the China survey data.” http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html

So, Campell actualy regards his correlations as rather *weak*
evidence, not EVIDENCE, as you say.

Campbell has not said that he can cherry-pick those correlations. He would have had to have said that he could pick some correlations which support his already somewhat supported hypothesis by , and simultaneously ignore other data.

15 04 2012
M.

“1. Campbell actually agrees with the 30Bad cancer epidemologist about Denise’s analysis…”

Dude, all Denise did was point out the problems of Campbell using simple univariate correlations while ignoring contradictory univariate correlations, multivariate correlations, and confounders. She didn’t really attempt her own epidemiological study of the data and come up with evidence that “meat is good” as the half-witted, banana-gorging, self-proclaimed “cancer epidemiologist” seems to claim. She just showed the weakness in Campbell’s use of the univariate correlations.

She didn’t come up with her own theory about meat or anything; she just showed where Campbell’s own analysis was lacking. All of the epidemiological flaws the “cancer epidemiologist” pointed out were all flaws in fact in the way Campbell used the data – Denise didn’t do her own study – she just reviewed Campbell’s. The “cancer epidemiologist” was so much in “defend banana gorging” mode that she failed to notice the whole thing was a critique of Campbell’s epidemiology and not an original work by Denise. This is all mind-boggling stupid for people to keep pointing to the “cancer epidemiologist” and pretty shady on Campbell’s part because he knows full well that all the flaws she pointed out centered on what he did in The China Study.

“2. Campbell does not ascribe as much weight to his correlations as you seem to imply that he does.”

In the past when faced with criticism by Masterjohn and others for the way he used the univariate correlations, Campbell repeatedly claimed that his univariate correlations were “corrected” or “adjusted” and thus superior to the contradictory univariate correlations mentioned by his critics. His supporters then claimed this meant that he relied upon more advanced analysis – multivariate, confounders, etc…

One of the things Denise did was simply go through and show that his correlations were in fact just the same simple univariate correlations included in the China data and that they had in fact not undergone any more advanced analysis as Campbell had seemed to imply and his supporters claimed. It turns out that by “corrected” and “adjusted” or whatever other terms he used, Campbell simply meant the whole “biological plausibility” thing – not any further analysis. But to this day many of his supporters, especially at 30Bad, still insist that Campbell did in fact use a more advanced analysis but that Denise just isn’t smart enough to figure out what it was.

“Campbell has not said that he can cherry-pick those correlations.”

Actually he did. For years people have pointed out that some of the key univariate correlations in the China data actually show significant correlation between increased animal products and better health. For years people have pointed out that there are no clear-cut associations for poorer health with increased animal products. For years Campbell has rejected these and called these “uncorrected” while at the same time jumping through hoops to string together through intermediate variables to dig up some support for poorer health through increased animal products. This is cherry-picking. This is one of the things Denise has shown in her critique.

Rejecting all the strong statistical correlations associated with increased animal products on the basis that they are not “biologically plausible” is pseudoscience. These are valid hypotheses that can’t just be rejected because Campbell likes veganism and feels that “meat is bad” is scientifically plausible while “meat is neutral” or “meat is good” is not. He goes into Creationsim territory letting his personal beliefs dictate which ideas are plausible and which should be rejected out of hand.

This is in fact why he published this all in a book. Most of his peer-reviewed papers relating to the China data do not support his conclusions in The China Study. Real science does not allow his cherry-picking, “holistic” pseudoscience, and Campbell has in fact lamented that he can’t use this new holistic “science” in journals to support his cause.

Campbell’s scientific rivals in fact have thrown the China data back in Campbell’s face because there is no way it can be used with real science to make the claims that Campbell has. “A survey of 65 counties in rural China, however, did not find a clear association between animal product consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers.” – http://www.ajcn.org/content/71/3/850.full

15 04 2012
Doug Spoonwod

““Campbell has not said that he can cherry-pick those correlations.”

Actually he did.”

I said that Campbell has not said that he can cherry-pick those correlations. Whether he engaged in cherry-picking or not, is not something I commented on. You said “Campbell totally disagrees with vaunted 30Bad cancer epidemiologist and says that he can actually cherry-pick these simple
univariate correlations and actually use them as EVIDENCE that his hypothesis is correct” Again, though Campbell may have engaged in cherry-picking data, that does not mean he has endorsed it. What you wrote implies he has endorsed such.

“Rejecting all the strong statistical correlations associated with increased animal products on the basis that they are not “biologically plausible” is pseudoscience.”

All sorts of strong statistical correlations associated with greater activity of all sorts get rejected by us basically all the time. Such rejections are not pseudoscientific by nature. There exists a very strong correlation between signficiant water consumption and homicide. There exists a very strong correlation between breathing a lot of air and homicide. There exists a very strong correlation between walking a fair amount and homicide. There exists a very strong correlation between viewing grass and homicide. There exists a very strong correlation between talking and homicide. Rejecting all of these, because they are not plausible exaplantions of why homicide occurs is NOT pseudoscientific. And thus your argument about Campbell’s rejections as pseudoscientific falls apart.

“These are valid hypotheses that can’t just be rejected because Campbell likes veganism and feels that “meat is
bad” is scientifically plausible while “meat is neutral” or “meat is good” is not. ”

A correlation is not a hypopthesis. A correlation consists of a statisical relationship of phenomena. It offers no explanation of the phenomena. A hypothesis, on the the other hand, comes as purported explanation as to why a certain phenomena, or set of phenomena (including correlations) occur. You can use a correlation to generate a hypothesis, but unless you do so a correlation just consists of data. So, no, the other correlations are not hypotheses. Are you creating hypotheses from these correlations?

“He goes into Creationsim territory letting his personal beliefs dictate which ideas are plausible and which should be rejected out of hand.”

Plenty of people are not Creationists who also do such. So, no, even given that he has let has let his personal beliefs “dictate” (as if beliefs spoke) what is plausible and what is not, he has NOT gotten into Creationism territory this way.

Real science often does involve overly simplified mathematical models as a tool of research (physics comes as very good example here). One could also accuse physicists of cherry-picking, pretty much writ large. What good do/would such accusations such as “cherry-picking”?

15 04 2012
M.

“I said that Campbell has not said that he can cherry-pick those correlations”

Because Campbell did not use the words “cherry-pick” does not negate the fact that is what his new “holistic science” is all about. This all came up because various critics pointed to the fact that Campbell ignored some rather strong, perfectly valid correlations while combing through the data to find some rather tenuous ones, and Campbell pulled out his new holistic science of “corrected” and “uncorrected” correlations.

He claimed that his correlations are “corrected” while the contrary correlations are not “corrected,” therefore his correlations are evidence and the others simply non-plausible rubbish. He has *said* this is how science is supposed to work. He has said that his holistic science lets him pick and choose which correlations are “correct.” That’s cherry-picking. Whether his particular statement in his “Primer on Statistics” directly implies cherry-picking or not, his other statements have endorsed this.

He used his own “model” to decide which correlations are “corrected” then turned around and used the same correlations to support the validity of his model.

“All sorts of strong statistical correlations associated with greater activity of all sorts get rejected by us basically all the time. Such rejections are not pseudoscientific by nature.”

Again, it goes back to the basis of deciding which correlations should be rejected and which should not. You don’t reject correlations and call them “uncorrected” (or not correct) simply because they contradict your model. These correlations that cast doubt upon a model would seem to be just as enlightening. Again it goes back to cherry-picking. He has enshrined this logic though and calls it his new “holistic” science and laments that he is not allowed to use it in peer-reviewed articles. Top scientists throw the China study in his face, and all he can do is write a book outside of peer-review to make his statistical arguments.

“A correlation is not a hypopthesis”

No, but the point is that Campbell rejected these correlations because “meat is neutral” or “meat is good” are not considered plausible hypotheses by Campbell. That’s far from a decided issue. There are plenty of plausible reasons why increased animal products would improve health in many populations. Again it goes back to cherry-picking.

“You can use a correlation to generate a hypothesis, but unless you do so a correlation just consists of data.”

That only applies to reductionist science, not to Campbell’s holistic science. He can do a lot of shit with his new science.

Campbell thinks all of his study and knowledge of the “symphony” of biochemical processes enables his insight to decide which hypotheses are correct, but in the end he still has to prove it using “reductionist” science. You can’t just pick and choose which data is valid based upon how well it fits the model you are trying to prove, especially when it is still in much dispute, and then turn around and use this data as proof that the model is correct.

“Real science often does involve overly simplified mathematical models as a tool of research (physics comes as very good example here.”

I don’t really understand your point here. Physics creates models so they can be tested and torn apart. When a new particle pops up, they change the model. They don’t disregard this new data as being “uncorrected.” They investigate and figure out what is going on.

15 04 2012
Doug Spoonwod

““You can use a correlation to generate a hypothesis, but unless you do so a correlation just consists of data.”

That only applies to reductionist science, not to Campbell’s holistic science.”

No. That a correlation just consists of data and not a hypothesis comes as indepndent of both “reductionist science” and “holistic science” whatever you mean by those terms. The definitions of the terms “hypothesis” and “correlation” imply that a correlation is not a hypothesis. This consits of a
matter of language.

“Campbell thinks all of his study and knowledge of the “symphony” of biochemical processes enables his insight to decide which hypotheses are correct, but in the end he still has to prove it using “reductionist” science. You can’t just pick and choose which data is valid based upon how well it fits the model you are trying to prove, especially when it is still in much dispute, and then turn around and use this data as proof that the model is correct.”

Actually peope *can* do such. In fact, since you’ve basically claimed that Campbell has done this (I don’t know if he has or hasn’t), you’ve already implied that he *can* do such. Why do you contradict yourself?

“Physics creates models so they can be tested and torn apart. When a new particle pops up, they change the model. They don’t disregard this new data as being “uncorrected.” They investigate and figure out what is going on.”

Physics creates models for all sorts of reasons. Scientistis don’t necessarily change a model when something new pops up. Case-in-point Newtonian physics, which still gets taught, gets used for some purposes, and suffices for some purposes. New data which relativity often addresses gets disregarded, because that would introduce much more complexity than physicists think is needed to solve certain problems. Data outside of a model often gets regarded as “analomous” which parallels “uncorrected” so far as I can tell. Scientists often do NOT figure out what is going on, because what is going on, comes as much more complex than any sort of models imply, and much more complex than any of us know, especially in biological matters.

15 04 2012
M.

“No. That a correlation just consists of data and not a hypothesis comes as indepndent of both “reductionist science” and “holistic science” whatever you mean by those terms.”

I was being facetious. Campbell said that you can do more than generate hypotheses with correlations with his new science.

“Actually peope *can* do such. In fact, since you’ve basically claimed that Campbell has done this (I don’t know if he has or hasn’t), you’ve already implied that he *can* do such. Why do you contradict yourself?”

Meh. People *can* claim the world is only 6000 years old too if they want. I’m just wasting time avoiding doing taxes, but this is starting to bore me.

“Physics creates models for all sorts of reasons…”

Meh. Not really relevant and kind of pointless discussion. If a physicist creates a model that the universe is only 6000 years old and ignores the “analomous” data that says otherwise, he will find himself discussing his model outside of credible science circles (and outside of peer-review, as has happened with The China Study.)

16 04 2012
Doug Spoonwod

No, The China Study did not make it so that Campbell’s work only got discussed outside of scientific circles (whether you find them credible comes as a matter of psychology):

“Dr. Wilfred Niels Arnold, professor of biochemistry at the University of Kansas Medical Center, reviewed the book in Leonardo in 2005, praising its straightforwardness and accessibility:

Any serious challenge to the “American Diet” is bound to elicit some academic, public, and food industry opposition, which will range from mild skepticism through agitated re-evaluation to bitter disdain. What makes this particular contribution exciting is that the authors anticipate resistant and hostile sources, sail on with escalating enthusiasm, and furnish a working hypothesis that is valuable. In fact, the surprising data are difficult to interpret in any other way.[24]

Professor Hal Harris of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recommended the book in 2006 in the “Summer Reading” section of the Journal of Chemical Education: “The bottom line of this thoroughly-documented study is essentially that animal protein is not good for us—even milk, ‘the perfect food.’ My students (and I!)”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study_%28book%29

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002914998007188

http://www.bmj.com/content/317/7170/1411.short

http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/148/6/594.short

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=colin+campbell+china&btnG=Search&as_sdt=0%2C36&as_ylo=&as_vis=0

may not relish the change to a vegetarian diet, but it is difficult to refute the mass of evidence in The China Study.”[25] Also in 2006, alternative medicine practitioners Daniel Redwood, D.C. and Norman Shealy M.D., Ph.D., wrote that the book is different from most other popular nutrition books by offering strong evidence-based explanations for its claims.[26]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, said in his documentary The Last Heart Attack in August 2011 that the book had changed the way people all over the world eat, including Gupta himself.[27]

16 04 2012
M.

Meh. In your links you are conflating the China-Cornell-Oxford Project with Campbell’s pop diet book, The China Study. You don’t think that it is BS to link to a smoking study using data from the China-Cornell-Oxford Project as some kind of support for his pop diet book? Again, I will quote Willet and Hu (see link above) referencing the China-Cornell-Oxford Project: “A survey of 65 counties in rural China, however, did not find a clear association between animal product consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers.” Campbell had to write a pop diet book to claim the association.

5 08 2010
neisy

I love it! This is for a fiction book, right? ;)

I like this part (osteoporosis):

Yet the data uncovered in rural China, along with other studies, do not support this view. Although most rural Chinese in the study consumed little if any dairy and ingested low amounts of calcium in general, they were not at higher risk of osteoporosis. … The best advice is to eat plenty of vegetables such as broccoli and collard greens. These super-foods contain a good amount of calcium, without the drawbacks of high protein.

I came across this not too long ago: “Dietary calcium and bone density among middle-aged and elderly women in China.” (PDF) — co-authored by Campbell. It claims fairly definitively that, in the China Study, calcium from dairy was more bone-protective than calcium from non-dairy sources.

Excerpt:

“An important related issue that needs to be addressed is whether the effect of calcium intake on bone variables is mostly due to the much higher intakes of dairy foods or could be accomplished by a similar intake of calcium from nondairy sources. A partial answer to this question may be provided by a comparison of county WA and the three nonpastoral counties, where total calcium intakes were only modestly different but where dairy calcium intakes were much lower than in county WA.

Before menopause women in these counties shared the same bone mass values, indicating uniformity of peak bone mass at skeletal maturity. However, decline in bone mass after menopause for women in county WA (higher dairy calcium) was at a somewhat slower rate than for women in the nonpastoral areas (without dairy calcium). Regression analysis also showed different bone loss rates between county WA (8.6% per decade) and the three nonpastoral counties (9.2% per decade). As a result, women in county WA had higher bone mass at the distal radius past menopause than did women in nonpastoral counties. Thus, differences in the rate of bone loss between these areas may be related to differences in dairy calcium intake, given that 34.6% of calcium in county WA and none in the other nonpastoral areas was from milk. Indeed, dairy calcium was found to be more significantly correlated with bone mass than was nondairy calcium. … Nondairy calcium, in contrast, showed no association with bone variables after age and/or body weight were adjusted for.

“The results strongly indicated that dietary calcium, especially from dairy sources, increased bone mass in middle-aged and elderly women.”

“Comparison of results in Table 7 reveal that calcium from dairy sources was correlated with bone variables to a higher degree than was calcium from the nondairy sources, probably resulting from the higher bioavailability of dairy calcium.”

“A comparison of the bone mass of women in the five counties revealed that 20% greater bone mass at the distal radius was observed for all age groups of women in county YA, a pastoral county with high consumption of dairy foods, as compared with the nonpastoral areas with lower calcium intakes.”

It helps to actually read the literature before trying to summarize it. Aye! Thanks for posting the link, Kat. :)

7 08 2010
Frank

You must be really loving your 15 minutes. Keep drinking another species milk and in just a few more years you will have all the proof you need concerning any health benefits derived from consuming milk designed for baby cows (dairy calcium). When all the mud slinging is done that is the true, final arbiter.

Please, no references to you know now because of someone you know or this study said that. None of it means anything at all here in these boxes that we put such words. No one has ever escaped reality by typing words to the contrary. I put in my 30 plus years walking the walk and that is the only way for everyone here singing your praises to arrive at what is right and what is wrong. I chose the word “what” instead of “who” on purpose. Grasp that and you will no longer feel the need to write the type of paper that is being discussed here.

7 08 2010
neisy

Hey Frank, I haven’t consumed dairy in five years and have no plans on making it a part of my diet in the future. I’m just pointing out a discrepancy between what Campbell asserted and what his own research showed. Thanks for your comments, though. :)

7 08 2010
MA

Frank,

If you don’t believe in science then that is fine. The main criticism here has been that Campbell abuses science. Nobody is telling you what to eat. It is funny all the people who don’t believe in science come here to defend Campbell’s science.

In the same line it is funny that the 30 Bananas people have a group called “Debunking the China Study Critics” when one of their central claims is that the China Study science is too complicated for mere mortals to understand. How are they qualified to “debunk” something they don’t understand? Of course since they don’t even bother to read what they are supposedly “debunking” anyway there is not much rational thought going on. They are irrational and don’t understand science, but apparently they feel justified in “debunking” science and critiques of science. It is all just more science abuse.

9 12 2011
ladyquizzical

The contradiction you suggest by referencing that article is disappointing. The finding that dairy-sourced calcium is slightly more bone-protective than non-dairy sources at similar intake levels does not actually speak to one’s risk for osteoporosis.

Should you have bothered to exerpt the rest of the discussion, the following is evident:

“It should also be noted that bone mass is not the only determinant of osteoporitic fractures. Bone mass of osteoporitic women, although generally lower, always overlaps with that of their normal counterparts (48, 49)…The low prevalence of fracture of all sites reported in this study suggests that prevalence of osteoporosis in Chinese women may not be as high as originally thought in some reports that were merely based on bone measurement.”

The main conclusions of this paper actually perfectly align with Campbell’s snippet above that you attempted to absurdly discredit with his own research: dietary intake of calcium is important for bone health (intake prior to skeletal maturity, after which it declines consistently regardless of diet) and this can be sourced through dairy as well as non-dairy sources to a lesser extent per intake. Dairy may be the better bone protective source, but it remains to be seen whether bone strength alone is even a reliable measure of one’s risk for osteoporosis. Considering this fact, it is a perfectly sound recommendation from Campbell to advocate instead a robust alternative calcium intake from plant-based sources (while avoiding risks from dairy proteins.)

Where, prey tell, is the discrepancy?

9 12 2011
ladyquizzical

*pray tell

(shame on me! haha)

5 08 2010
Emily Deans MD

Thanks again, Denise!

6 08 2010
Highbury

Thanks so much for posting these. I was up until very recently a staunch believer in the vegan/vegetarian ‘religion'; I guess what finally flicked the switch for me was the fact that I was feeling progressively worse and worse, with even my original health problems flaring up again after a short relapse.
With the help of this blog and others, I came to a similar conclusion that you did some five years ago – it doesn’t matter how much conviction these various authorities and guru’s have on their own notions, if it doesn’t work for you it’s worthless. end of. We’ve got to find out on our own to an extent what we should include in our own diets using the advice of others merely as frameworks.

And one last point if I may, as someone who has dabbled in strict veganism at various stages and endured the culinary delights of what can only be described as cardboard under it’s various guises – going back to animal products has been nothing short of euphoric. :D !!

6 08 2010
Alex

I followed a similar path of following dietary dogma while ignoring my body, and for all the limitations of n=1 studies, our own individual n=1 experiences are what we really should listen to above all. Dr. McDougall can talk about the successes he’s had with starch-based diets ’till he’s blue in the face, but it will never change the fact that a starch-based diet is the absolute worst possible diet for my own body.

As for boring vegetarian “cardboard”, that’s the fault of the cook, not the ingredients. I’m a great cook, and my vegetarian dishes are just as delicious on their own as they are when accompanying a nice piece of meat. I have never understood the notion that vegetarian cuisine is somehow inherently bland and boring. Things like onions, garlic, vinegar, citrus, and the vast array of culinary herbs and spices can make vegetarian food explosively flavorful.

6 08 2010
Highbury

Thanks for the reply & comment :)
And my apologies – I really should have made it clear in my last post. My ire was only intended at the processed substitute foods that are around nowadays.

6 08 2010
neisy

Alex and Highbury, you guys might want to chime in on this thread at Amazon — Campbell is participating in a discussion there and asked this, incredulous that folks may do better on a higher-fat omnivorous diet than a vegan one:

“I have yet to get an answer from you or any other kindred spirits whether you ever tried a whole foods, plant-based diet with little or no added fat/oil, salt or sugar, i.e., no processed foods and, if so, for how long.”

7 08 2010
Alex

My diet was Ayurvedic style, lacto-vegetarian for a couple years before I went back to eating a little fish or poultry 2-3 times a week. My diet was never without added fat, salt, or sugar, and it was never as extreme low fat as Campbell recommends. And, since going paleo, it has never been low enough in carbs to even qualify as a low-carb diet (except for a few days of extremely low-carb eating, earlier this year, and I could not endure the splitting headaches.) So, I really have nothing to offer on that Amazon discussion.

7 08 2010
Highbury

Sadly being from good old Blighty, I don’t think I have access to those boards. But even if this weren’t the case; I can’t see this not being a some what frustrating exercise in futility reading just a couple of pages. In doing so what I’ve gathered is that Dr. Campell has seemingly gained immunity from reasoning. More worringly though; he only seems to making contributions sporadically, popping up every now and then like an irrate jack in the box in possession of perpetually blunt axe in which he intends to take to the world grinding championships… err in other words, if you even mention meat consumption and health don’t expect a nice response from the guy.

6 08 2010
Ed Terry

Can’t wait for your first book to come out. Your writing style and ability to articulate your ideas is absolutely stunning.

6 08 2010
neisy

Wow, thank you Ed!

6 08 2010
anon

I still think the report should be in HTML as well. I think that’s part of the reason the response to the paper has been as muted as it’s been (relative to the other posts.)

PDFs are spiderable, but they aren’t really on the net.

6 08 2010
neisy

Yeah, I’ll be putting it up in HTML this afternoon. For some reason, when I copy and paste it from Word, all the endnotes change to roman numerals! No bueno! So I’m trying to fix ‘em by hand. (Any smarties out there know why this happens?)

6 08 2010
neisy

HTML version is up. Wheat post is next on the list!

7 08 2010
Jenna

Will someone please post this for me on the Amazon link above. I share an account with my husband but don’t want it to be posted under his name, and it won’t let me post it under the account I just created, until I purchase something.

This is it-

I admit I have only read the last few pages of this thread, but I would like to share my experience of 8 years eating a low fat vegan diet and why I have since moved to a different style of eating.

I began McDougalling in 1999 to lose 30 pounds I had gained during college. I was already a vegetarian but eating too much dairy and cheese, along with white bread for basically three meals a day. Following the Mcdougall MWL plan I quickly got back down to my pre college weight and felt amazing. At the 6 month mark I had blood work done and my cholesterol, which had been high even as a vegetarian, was excellent and the doctors wrote me off as a picture of health. I did not bother to get more blood work done for years afterward, partly because I did not have insurance to pay for it and partly because I was convinced the diet I was eating was ideal.

In 2002, I met the man who is now my husband. He was a health conscious omnivore at the time, but gradually adopted my starch and vegetable based eating style the longer we were together, and eventually I convinced him to give up meat completely for ethical reasons. We married in 2004 and soon after began trying to conceive.

I have no history of reproductive issues and no medical issues that would make this a problem. However, in two years of trying to conceive and visiting over a dozen fertility specialists, I could not get pregnant and could not find answers as to why. Only one doctor asked about my diet, and recommended I eat more fat to help with hormones, but I did not give the advice a second thought. We began considering adoption.

At the end of 2006 my husband went out for his nightly jog and came back complaining of chest pains. I drove him to the ER. We learned he had had a mild heart attack. This, despite being an avid exerciser and having no family history whatsoever of heart disease. Although his total cholesterol was very low, we learned that his HDL was one of the lowest the doctors had ever seen and his triglycerides were through the roof.

Obviously this was a shock to both of us as we had assumed we were doing everything we could to stay healthy. At the advice of another McDougaller we were friend with, my husband minimized the starches in his diet and began consuming more vegetables in its place. Soon after I went back for more blood work for myself, and learned I had very low B12, low iron, very low HDL, high triglycerides, and my total cholesterol was nearly as high as it when I was still eating dairy and cheese.

I cannot even tell you how startling it is to discover the things you thought to be truly healthy may be wrong. Up until this point I had only searched for health information within the vegan community and had not considered any other diet approaches, assuming they were all flawed. However, this wakeup call was enough to make me more open minded, and I started looking for health advice from many other circles.

We learned that starches are relatively new to the human diet and that many people cannot handle them as well as animal foods, which have been consumed for all of human history. My husband and I made a complete change and eliminated grains, beans and potatoes and replaced them with oily fish, eggs and grass fed beef, still eating plenty of vegetables and fruit. I began taking coconut oil and cod liver oil. Our diet remained unprocessed like with the McDougall program, but now it was much higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates.

Within months I became pregnant with my first son, who is now healthy and thriving. My husband and I get annual blood work done now as a precaution and three years after making this diet change, our bloodwork is textbook perfect, with high HDL, low triglycerides, healthy fasting glucose and no vitamin or mineral deficiencies. We are both in the best shape of our lives. My doctor has been so impressed with the changes that he recommends our diet to other patients who are at risk for heart disease, and tells us he has seen similar improvements with them.

A diet of whole foods with meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts is the ones our ancestors evolved on and adapted to. I have come to believe that the McDougall diet works at first because it gets rid of the foods most people eat on SAD, such as simple sugars and white flour, as well as bringing the benefits that come from simply losing weight. However in the long term, I don’t think it’s the best diet for all bodies. After being in the McDougaller community for a long time you start to see that many people have problems with their triglycerides and low HDL, and lots of times it does not even work to lower total cholesterol. This is true even years after following the program religiously.

I am happy that others have stayed healthy on plant based diets, but an evolutionary diet makes more sense to me on all levels, and most importantly has given me the best health of my life.

7 08 2010
labrat

done!

11 08 2010
Louis

It’s quite more common than you think. I know of this famous long distance runner who advocated high carbohydrate and low fat diet and he ended up with fatal heart attack while running. Also, the cholesterol tests that you and your husband used in the past are widely inaccurate “calculated” cholesterol test. The dirty secret is that it does not show small LDL particles which often caused by excessive amount of refined carbohydrates consumption. You may look better on the outside but inside, it’s a disaster. You need NMR cholesterol test to test for small LDL. It’s the key to preventing plaque build up in the arteries. You may want to let your doctor know about Heart Scan Blog (free) and Track Your Plaque (paid but a lot more info along with help). They are run by this cardiologist who have gone through similar experiences as you and your husband did.

Throw in vitamin D. Extremely important for your health. It should be part of yearly test as well. Heart Scan Blog highly recommends it.

11 08 2010
John

Jenna,

I opened Disturbing Mcdougaller’s story in lounge. All of my posts were removed by extremely belligerent moderator f1jim. Now the word out there is, you weren’t following the plan properly.

If you are able to see this reply, can you reply as to what you were eating to know if you were following the plan properly or not? Because it is possible that you thought you were following the plan but you didn’t. I want to give them benefit of a doubt.

10 08 2010
Chris Masterjohn

Denise and others,

I found this video of Campbell warning a group of vegetarians that plant fat causes cancer:

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/08/dr-campbell-warns-vegetarians-about.html

To make this a little more amusing, he concludes from this that the problem is animal-based foods rather than animal fat.

Chris

10 08 2010
neisy

Oh wow! Nice find!

Funnily, a few days ago, he wrote this on a thread on Amazon.com:

“When I say “whole” plant based foods, I mean eating the contents of whole plants and I see nothing wrong with palm and coconut products for “raw veggie sauces”, even if they are rich in saturated fats. When did you hear me trash saturated fats?”

Hmmm! :)

11 08 2010
Chris Masterjohn

Ha! Also a nice find!
:)

11 08 2010
Maxwell

TCC: “When did you hear me trash saturated fats?”

Er, on your own website esp

“Although there is no known cure for MS, some clinical studies show that disease progression may be slowed if the saturated fat intake is less than 10 grams daily. Family members can assist the patient in reducing saturated fat, and may improve their own health by following a similar diet. Limiting or avoiding animal products (red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products) and tropical oils (palm, palm kernel, and coconut) is usually necessary to reach this goal, and a nutritionist can aid in following this diet regimen.”

Or from your own China Study book:

p116 of the Broken Hearts chapter: “Why were we succumbing to heart disease in the 60s and 70s, when much of the world was relatively unaffected?

Quite simply, it was a case of death by food. The cultures that have lower heart disease rates eat less saturated fat and animal protein and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.”

27 02 2013
crush

That first quote makes it absolutely, crystal clear, that he is referring to saturated fat in the context of its affect on those inflicted with Multiple Sclerosis. It hardly provides credence to your point.

Likewise, I would point out, that “eat[ing] less saturated fat” does not quantify or suggest to admonish completely the consumption of foods containing saturated fat.

I find your argument poorly cited.

27 09 2010
Chris

“I found this video of Campbell warning a group of vegetarians that plant fat causes cancer:

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/08/dr-campbell-warns-vegetarians-about.html

To make this a little more amusing, he concludes from this that the problem is animal-based foods rather than animal fat.”

Dr Campbell makes it clear that it is not just the animal fat but animal protein in addition to other components of animals that contribute to ‘the problem’.

Chris

11 08 2010
Richard Nikoley

I might should address this, Denise & Chris, since that was in reply to me by TCC (we’ve been at this Amazon forum for months, dead for a long time, but Denise’s goings about must have revived the human skeleton).

Here’s the relevant para from my post:

“BTW, I might out to mention that I did a week recently at a camp where the noon meal was raw vegan and I loved it! I’m a pretty good cook and I’m now on the trail of some of the wonderful raw veggie sauces we had. But even this is not Campbell because copius palm and coconut oils were used in these dishes, so, high (saturated) fat raw vegan.”

And Campbell’s response:

“Wow! What an admission! You ate raw vegan and actually loved it? Go ahead and talk your trash (“what I loath and detest”) and say that I don’t use logic, you define yourself.

You’re getting there. When I say “whole” plant based foods, I mean eating the contents of whole plants and I see nothing wrong with palm and coconut products for “raw veggie sauces”, even if they are rich in saturated fats. When did you hear me trash saturated fats?

You’re making progress, Richard.”

As if I’m somehow dropping meat because I happened to like one meal per day (noon) that was raw vegan as a matter of convenience. We were in a camp…I blogged about it here…

http://freetheanimal.com/2010/07/movnat-day-1.html

…and it was easier not to cook for noon.

Animal based protein intake so far today: 210 grams. I may do another 60 within the hour. Lots of leftover pot roast. And when I sit down it’s gotta be 2/3 of a pound or more, otherwise it’s just not worth the bother.

11 08 2010
John

Jenna,

I had copied and pasted your post on McDougall forum to see what fellow participants think. Blind Zealot F1jim, one of the moderator deletes any post which is not self serving. I can not believe why he has to get downright dirty and personally attack the messenger rather than exploring the science. I have great respect for people like Ornish, Mcdougall, Esselstyn..but this guy threw me off and I’m appalled that Dr McDougall encourages such loyal dogs and leave them out to bark. If the program is so good them you wouldn’t need loyal dogs to bat for you. Isn’t it?

12 08 2010
Tony

Frank (04:49:30) :
“Why don’t you just stop?”

What a whiny response from a Campbell follower.

15 08 2010
Stan Bleszynski

Re: McDougall forum

They threw me out after I posted a recommendation to a sick long term vegan woman (Carrol) and her sick daughter with arthritis, to supplement with the vitamins D3, K2 and A, and omega-3 fats (EPA,DHA) that cannot be obtained from plants. Afterwards I tried to intervene with one of their staffer (Novick) to save a t2 diabetic woman who dropped all her meds, resulting in blood glucose was regularly going over 200mg/dl every day, while being encouraged by Dr. McDougall to persist. Shocking! However, their forum is full of interesting case studies. I no longer try saving them from themselves.
Stan (Heretic)

18 08 2010
John

Will someone please post this for me on the Amazon link above. I share an account with my husband but don’t want it to be posted under his name, and it won’t let me post it under the account I just created, until I purchase something.

This is it-

I admit I have only read the last few pages of this thread, but I would like to share my experience of 8 years eating a low fat vegan diet and why I have since moved to a different style of eating.

I began McDougalling in 1999 to lose 30 pounds I had gained during college. I was already a vegetarian but eating too much dairy and cheese, along with white bread for basically three meals a day. Following the Mcdougall MWL plan I quickly got back down to my pre college weight and felt amazing. At the 6 month mark I had blood work done and my cholesterol, which had been high even as a vegetarian, was excellent and the doctors wrote me off as a picture of health. I did not bother to get more blood work done for years afterward, partly because I did not have insurance to pay for it and partly because I was convinced the diet I was eating was ideal.

In 2002, I met the man who is now my husband. He was a health conscious omnivore at the time, but gradually adopted my starch and vegetable based eating style the longer we were together, and eventually I convinced him to give up meat completely for ethical reasons. We married in 2004 and soon after began trying to conceive.

I have no history of reproductive issues and no medical issues that would make this a problem. However, in two years of trying to conceive and visiting over a dozen fertility specialists, I could not get pregnant and could not find answers as to why. Only one doctor asked about my diet, and recommended I eat more fat to help with hormones, but I did not give the advice a second thought. We began considering adoption.

At the end of 2006 my husband went out for his nightly jog and came back complaining of chest pains. I drove him to the ER. We learned he had had a mild heart attack. This, despite being an avid exerciser and having no family history whatsoever of heart disease. Although his total cholesterol was very low, we learned that his HDL was one of the lowest the doctors had ever seen and his triglycerides were through the roof.

Obviously this was a shock to both of us as we had assumed we were doing everything we could to stay healthy. At the advice of another McDougaller we were friend with, my husband minimized the starches in his diet and began consuming more vegetables in its place. Soon after I went back for more blood work for myself, and learned I had very low B12, low iron, very low HDL, high triglycerides, and my total cholesterol was nearly as high as it when I was still eating dairy and cheese.

I cannot even tell you how startling it is to discover the things you thought to be truly healthy may be wrong. Up until this point I had only searched for health information within the vegan community and had not considered any other diet approaches, assuming they were all flawed. However, this wakeup call was enough to make me more open minded, and I started looking for health advice from many other circles.

We learned that starches are relatively new to the human diet and that many people cannot handle them as well as animal foods, which have been consumed for all of human history. My husband and I made a complete change and eliminated grains, beans and potatoes and replaced them with oily fish, eggs and grass fed beef, still eating plenty of vegetables and fruit. I began taking coconut oil and cod liver oil. Our diet remained unprocessed like with the McDougall program, but now it was much higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates.

Within months I became pregnant with my first son, who is now healthy and thriving. My husband and I get annual blood work done now as a precaution and three years after making this diet change, our bloodwork is textbook perfect, with high HDL, low triglycerides, healthy fasting glucose and no vitamin or mineral deficiencies. We are both in the best shape of our lives. My doctor has been so impressed with the changes that he recommends our diet to other patients who are at risk for heart disease, and tells us he has seen similar improvements with them.

A diet of whole foods with meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts is the ones our ancestors evolved on and adapted to. I have come to believe that the McDougall diet works at first because it gets rid of the foods most people eat on SAD, such as simple sugars and white flour, as well as bringing the benefits that come from simply losing weight. However in the long term, I don’t think it’s the best diet for all bodies. After being in the McDougaller community for a long time you start to see that many people have problems with their triglycerides and low HDL, and lots of times it does not even work to lower total cholesterol. This is true even years after following the program religiously.

I am happy that others have stayed healthy on plant based diets, but an evolutionary diet makes more sense to me on all levels, and most importantly has given me the best health of my life

18 12 2010
Andy

I would be very interested to hear what you think caused your very low HDL, high triglyceride and high cholesterol levels. What percentage of fats do you think your diet consisted of at that time? It seems to me that if you were on a vegan and low fat diet, the only way you could have a high cholesterol level is by your body making cholesterol.

18 08 2010
mark

John,

I believe I saw your post on McDougall forum before it got deleted. I believe something sounds fishy with the moderator F1jim, the guy is clown at best and very pushy and annoying and adamant. Either paid by McDougall or they give him free entry to their seminars and in returns he bats for him mindlessly. Dr M doesn’t perhaps realize this that this is counter productive and that he has pissed many people off.

16 10 2010
Mario Vachon

I thoroughly enjoyed your work.

I will admit that I find all the science surrounding nutrition to be particularly confusing. About 10 years ago, I simply made a decision that with few exceptions, I would basically only eat “real” food. By that I mean meat, eggs (I eat an awful lot of eggs), vegetables, fruts, nuts and seeds. I cheat insofar as I also include cheese and whey protein. On this regimen, I have felt terrific, but it has always nagged at me that perhaps I was doing myself harm by eating significant quantities of meat. Things like the China Study made me question my choices.

While there are still many unanswered questions for me, I feel much more secure that my choices are not incorrect, and I thank you for that.

27 10 2010
Paul Buscemi Ph.D.

If you have not already done so, and if you send the data from the plots of your latest response, I’d like to do a multiple regression on glucose and cholesterol etc.

My interest is on the response to inflammation and its possible causes including glycolysis ( glycation ) and dyslipidemia.

regards,

pb

9 11 2010
18 12 2010
Sam Huff

I was thinking that I haven’t seen the variable of Northern vs. Southern Chinese in the study. This could conceivably account for the rice vs. wheat. The Chinese apparently know quite well who is Northern and Southern.

Southern Chinese eat a rice based diet and Northern Chinese a wheat based diet, so no telling from a China study is possible. Certainly not in a study with less than 70 data points. OMG!

17 01 2011
Calling all Vegetarians!

[...] [...]

26 01 2011
New guy on board

[...] to be working for you! For another take on The China Study (by a raw foods enthusiast) check out Raw Food SOS. Dx prediabetic 02/08 (FBG 127 and 123) A1c: 6.5 (02/08); 6.0 (05/08); 5.5 (11/08) 5.3 (03/09); [...]

19 03 2011
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21 03 2011
Science is the New Personal Development | Sam Snyder

[...] • The China Study – A Formal Analysis and Response [...]

8 04 2011
Good Meat is Dead Meat (Not Meat That Was Never Alive) | AMP3D

[...] (Wrong, wrong, wrong. But I digress.) [...]

12 05 2011
Civil Eats » Blog Archive » The Antidote To Our Health Crisis Is Spinach

[...] illnesses. Denise Minger posted a thorough review of The China Study on her blog, as well as a more formal analysis and exchange with Campbell. Marion Nestle reports that “mainstream scientists find some of [...]

13 05 2011
Forks Over Knives: The Coming Sh*tstorm | The Paleo Periodical

[...] China Study. Here are two of the best debunks of that study I’ve seen: Denise Minger’s Raw Food SOS and Ned Kock over at Health [...]

4 08 2011
Paleo explained - Mythbusting | The Paleo Recipe Book Review

[...] an entire movement — but it’s beenexhaustively debunked. Raw Food SOS’s Denise Minger systematically tore it apart, point by point. Campbell evidently couldn’t (or wouldn’t) distinguish between correlation and [...]

25 08 2011
Forks Over Knives, or Meat Over Veg? » Paleo Diet News

[...] Created and produced by Brian Wendel, the movie features interviews from a long list of supposedly notable people, most of which I have never heard of, but our friend T. Colin Campbell Ph.D. gets top billing as the main interview. Most of us will recognize Dr. Campbell from the infamous China Project study, which was followed up by the China Study book, which was followed up by a thorough debunking of Campbell’s conclusions by Denise Minger. [...]

27 08 2011
Fat, Diabetes, and “Sinister Involvement in Wikipedia” « Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet

[...] is some criticism for the book, as well. Dinise Minger has written several times, including her Formal Analysis and Response, about her interpretation of the data presented in the book, and makes the claim that many of the [...]

27 08 2011
Gordon Wayne Watts

In your response, http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/08/06/final-china-study-response-html/ you’ve made some salient points, Denise, but the fact is that there is a VERY strong positive correlation between a vegan diet and lower rates of both cancer and fertility problems.

Note, if you would, the p-factor, in the graphs on MY research page, mirrors on 3 servers -in case the Internet highway has …uh,,… a ‘traffic jam!’:

http://GordonWatts.com/consumer.html

or

http://GordonWayneWatts.com/consumer.html

or even:

http://Gordon_Watts.Tripod.com/consumer.html

The p-value on the top cancer graph (relating vegan vs animal food with cancer) is SCARY! — it is 0.0000001.

Do you remember your basic statistics, Denise? That p-value answers the question: What are the chances the dots just randomly fell into this pattern like raindrops or whatever… The chances that the pattern is mere “correlation” but not causation is 1-in-10,000,000 –yes!! One in TEN Million!!

NOT done by chance… now… moving right along… look at the tight pattern and the ‘R’ (relatedness) values of each of the graphs, OK?

Now, I do admit -upon reflection -that, as I infer you seem to imply, yes.! – there may BE a common cause: People that are vegans may also BE more careful in other areas of lifestyle, so that may (incorrectly) make it look like the vegan diet is the cause when, in fact, it’s a common cause (health-conscious attitude makes a person vegan AND ALSO have good lifestyle habits), but with so, soooo many data points (see my cancer & fertility graphs! LOL), and such a STRONG correlation (see R-values) AND a low p-value… eh… not by chance, and it IS causation, not just random “correlation.”

The translation of the various R-values means that while other factors in lifestyle may affect health, diet is a VERY strong influence.

Case closed, discussion over: The scientific evidence is OVERWHELMING that a vegan diet is a chief factor in health -and the graphs put into “picture language” what the peer-reviewed scientific papers say in plain-English.

Mind you, the key word is “peer-review” scientific studies –not tripe and urban legend force-fed by the US Government –with such nonsense is ‘Milk Does the body Good.’ — .. LOL… NOT.

The science is in, and the food pyramid is out.

Word.

PS: For further information, please follow the links and see the peer-reviewed studies which I reverence in my various blog postings linked above, including the ‘More References’ link on my main research page above.

Gordon Wayne Watts, editor-in-chief, The Register, scientific research blog
http://www.GordonWayneWatts.com / http://www.GordonWatts.com

ALWAYS FAITHFUL – To God
BS, The Florida State University,Biological & Chemical Sciences
double major with honours
AS, United Electronics Institute, valedictorian, class of 1988

2 04 2012
Carl

How come Denise doesn’t answer this Gordon guys critique?

22 09 2011
Ted Howard NZ

Thank you Denise, your critique is extremely interesting and thorough.

18 months ago I was diagnosed with metastasised melanoma, and given a 50% chance of living 5 months. I went on a RAVE Vegan diet (having been a consumer of much meat and chocolate and sugars in many forms for most of my life) and I am still here, and the last tumour was found over 6 months ago.

My own research aligns quite closely with your conclusions, that sugars are the biggest problem, followed closely by acidifying foods (including most un-sprouted grains). And even after allowing for those factors, there does seem to remain a component that relates to animal protein. The most likely pathway seems to be the overloading of the immune system with protein fragments absorbed into the blood stream during digestion, acting to deplete the ability of the immune system to recognise and deal with cancer cells and tumours.

I have also proved to my own satisfaction, that there is a very strong negative link between vitamin C and tumour progression. 7 times in the last 3 years I have reduced vitamin C intake, and had tumours show up. 4 times I have had them surgically removed and identified, and each time they were spindle melanoma type. The other three times I got them to disappear simply by increasing vitamin C intake to at least 5g twice daily, and about 1 gram per hour in between during waking hours (actually taking up to 20g at a time sometimes, and up to about 70g a day, though it took a few weeks to build to that without the usual high dose side effects).

Not exactly double blind testing, and sufficient for my own sense of understanding. My details are on my blog site – http://www.tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/about for my medical records, and /cancer for what I have done diet wise.

Tomorrow I am going in for a full body CAT scan, I will post the results on my blog when I get them.

During the process, it has become very clear to me that the short and long term incentives to make profit override all incentives to deliver health and happiness to the population, in the current system. There is more money in sickness than there is in wellness.

It seems possible to develop other systems, with different incentive structures, but we don’t have them yet – http://www.solnx.org is one class of possible solutions to that problem.

As a biochemist by training, with 40 years of interest in genetics, I am fascinated by the amount of viral DNA that recent studies have shown to be in our genome, and the many roles that vitamin C seems to play in our immune and anti-viral responses.

I have come to strongly suspect that most cancers have a viral component to their progression, though I have little firm evidence for this, just a very strong intuition.

Thanks again, for a very clear critique, as free of preconceptions and agendas as any I have read.

I honour your integrity.

Ted

22 09 2011
Forks over knives?

[...] [...]

25 09 2011
China Study | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

[...] The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response [...]

18 10 2011
Beyond The China Study: What is Vitalistic nutrition? | Discover Vitality Now!

[...] here, it’s something of a summary of the critique. The full analysis can be downloaded from here. This is the a final write up of a complete critique of the work including two responses from Dr [...]

21 10 2011
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[...]The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response « Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet[...]…

27 10 2011
Quora

Is there any evidence of health benefits for being a vegetarian?…

There are many studies that actually proved the opposite. Meat is the only source to get many amino acids, as well as important fats like short chain omega-3s. One of the most popular studies that tried to prove vegetarianism was superior in terms of h…

24 11 2011
hazhir rahmandad

Thank you very much for your great critique. I had started reading the China Study, but found myself doubting the reliability of findings that come from 65 data points with >360 independent variables. Your critique provided a very good analysis of the weaknesses of these conclusions in light of so limited data and has saved me some time :)

26 11 2011
Rachel

Watched Forks over knives last night and WOW, thank you for this!!!

8 12 2011
Edward

Some credentials of the writer would be nice. Personally, I am in the medical field and would love to hear what level of expertise you draw your conclusions from.

21 12 2011
Paleo Diet News: The Truth Behind ‘The China Study’ » Paleo Diet News

[...] Fact or Fallacy?, and she has also completed a more thorough, formal, and referenced critique in The China Study: A Formal Analysis or Response.  Her blog also outlines an ongoing online dialogue on the [...]

3 01 2012
Eric

Oh no!
Very academic, which is to say absolute point-counterpoint (circular) analysis.
I actually didn’t read more than a few lines. It is the thought style that bull-dozed me.
The Nearings are the best evidence of the clean whole foods lifestyle, but like The Blue Zones phenomena of centenarians, there was a strong physical aspect to their lives, too.

5 01 2012
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[...]The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response « Raw Food SOS: Troubleshooting on the Raw Food Diet[...]…

7 01 2012
Daniel

I appreciated your rebuttal. Beware of people with solutions to any question that are fanatic whether dressed in the clothing of science or faith.

modus omnibus rebus‥optimus est habitu

22 02 2012
The Diet Feud | musther.net

[...] humans – after all, we all hope for a longer life-expectancy than our distant ancestors. The China Study – A Formal Analysis and Response – Denise Minger This is a poorly constructed criticism by a young woman with no scientific training.  It serves to [...]

10 03 2012
The Bulletproof Diet (Upgraded Paleo) | The Bulletproof Executive

[...] China Study is a collection of poor research and misinterpreted results. (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, [...]

15 03 2012
mkittekat.dk! | mkittekatbloggen

[...] har jo har været lidt “nedbrud” her hos WordPress efter et indlæg jeg lavede omkring denne blogger, hvis egen blog er blevet lukket adskillige gange. Derfor har jeg nu taget konsekvensen og [...]

15 03 2012
Velkommen til mkittekat.dk! | mkittekatbloggen

[...] har jo har været lidt “nedbrud” hos WordPress efter et indlæg jeg lavede omkring denne blogger, hvis egen blog er blevet lukket adskillige gange. Derfor har jeg nu taget konsekvensen og [...]

15 03 2012
Forks Over Knives goes under the knife: Plant-based vs. Omnivorous dieting. | jeronkerridge.com

[...] between any food and heart disease. For a more detailed critique of the China Study, please check this out [...]

17 03 2012
Ann

More light traffic over at the China Study boards on Amazon. Wow – the believers really believe the shit out of that thing. There’s simply no swaying them.

22 05 2012
What IsThe Paleo Diet? « mytopweightloss

[...] an entire movement — but it’s beenexhaustively debunked. Raw Food SOS’s Denise Minger systematically tore it apart, point by point. Campbell evidently couldn’t (or wouldn’t) distinguish between correlation and [...]

5 06 2012
Vegetarian Myth and it's Lies? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

[...] many of the claims found in Forks over Knives, you will be able to see through the lies by reading this. Reply With Quote « Previous Thread | Next Thread [...]

8 09 2012
Christi Lewellen

This appears excellent! Cannot hold out to test it!

8 10 2012
Stick a Fork in It « Pythagorean Crank

[...] further perusal regarding the China Study: The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response | Raw Food [...]

21 01 2013
Documentaries I Recommend « A Man's Struggle Against the Beast

[...] for a Vegan Diet is based entirely on the famous China Study, which has been debunked here and here, among many other places. Despite its flaws, the underlying message of the movie represents a [...]

13 03 2013
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[...] The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response by Denise Minger [...]

17 03 2013
What The Hell Is Paleo? | Go Fab Get Fit

[...] an entire movement — but it’s been exhaustively debunked. Raw Food SOS’s Denise Minger systematically tore it apart, point by point. Campbell evidently couldn’t (or wouldn’t) distinguish between correlation and [...]

7 07 2013
Karin

What’s up, I log on to your blogs regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

13 07 2013
Solomon

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13 07 2013
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14 12 2013
Carla

the whole point is not whether science is correct or not. the whole point is that people eat WAY too much meat in industrialized countries. WAY too much. And all that meat eating is causing a lot of dis-ease. And we need arguments to stop people from doing this. The Cattle industry and their minions wouldn’t want you to think that the China Study is scientific. Well, if it is scientific or not doesn’t matter. What matters is the Cattle industry is destructive. And if you argue, oh, we need the cattle industry, then, that tells you to look introspectively at our own societies. Our societies are for the most part destructive. We are destroying each other and ourselves. Denise, your article is very rational. But it does absolutely nothing to stop the destruction of our societies. The destruction of our societies means the reduction of our quality of life on Earth. I’m sick of all the cow piss polluting the rivers, and the chicken abuse by KFC, and the destruction by “vegans” who think tofu is the solution, who use non-organic soy which is the cause of endless acres chopped down in the rainforest. Which brings us to Palm oil and ourangutan habitat destruction. Yes, you can eat meat. Huzzah. You can eat whatever you want. Hurrah. And while you fight for who is right, you will have achieved nothing. Because by the time you achieve your truth, and your “martyrdom”, we will be all scrambling for higher ground. No, beef won’t kill you, but we are killing ourselves by eating too much of it in more ways than one. Dr. Doug Graham rocks your world and you know it! Go raw vegans. Go banana eaters. Go dreamers who envision a better life for animals and humans. Love.

15 07 2014
Simone Herrera

I read “The China Study: Fact or Fallacy?” and was quite impressed. Have only perused “The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response”, but I’m blown away. I’m amazed at the level of research, the level of writing and the tone of the paper (quite a bit of humility; confidence and proficiency as well). The biggest surprise is that a “non-academic” has presented legitimate concerns in a very widely accepted study, in a very respectful, non-confrontational fashion to a “scientific juggernaut” who has unwittingly become the center of a movement.

I’m for good science and a marketplace of ideas. Dr. Campbell deserves his due, for all of his passionate work and a landmark study, but by no means is anyone (no matter how lofty the perch) immune from mistake, misjudgment, bad analysis or changes in scientific perspectives.

It’s good to have debate, especially if it is rational and scholarly. If truth is to be found, it will be through the crucible of debate and the sharpening of thought through the arguments and ideas of “opposing” positions.

To Denise, thank you for your hard work and the time you’ve put into this endeavor. To Dr. Campbell, thank you for taking the time to respond to an article from a “non-academic” who most (as seen on the threads) seem to consider “beneath you” and not worthy of your attention. Takes some nerve and courage to “challenge” a scientist of this caliber and it takes a lot of humility for him to actually reply in a very coherent and thoughtful fashion. Let the debate wage on, I keep learning so much as all of this unfolds.

To all involved, thanks for the enlightenment.

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