Exciting Update: Analyzing the China Study

Alright, folks: the hiatus is over. Time to get back into the bloggin’ swing of things!

To kick it off, I want to unveil a special project I have in the works. Some of you are no doubt familiar with the China Study by T. Colin Campbell—a book that has, since its publication in 2005, become wildly popular among vegans and raw foodists as the “final word” linking animal foods and disease. While the book has many strengths, I’ve always been skeptical of its conclusions, and woefully curious about the data Campbell used to decide animal products are universally harmful.

Lo and behold, my knowledge-thirst is quenched! It turns out the entire raw data set is available online for anyone with a bit of spare time (and some knowledge of stats) to analyze:

China Study Data at Oxford University

Not only that, but—after months of searching—I’ve finally managed to get my paws on the original China study book: “Diet, Life-style and Mortality in China,” which is an uninterpreted, 894-page collection of all the correlations the China study data uncovered. Venturing lightyears beyond the effects of just animal protein, this book connects the dots between consumption of specific foods, nutrient status, lifestyle factors, diet habits, and chronic diseases. You can look up fruit consumption, for instance, and see what diseases it correlates with or seems to protect against.  The book is an absolute jackpot of information. And it’s mine, all mine, until July 3rd (when the inter-library loan expires and I have to return it—shucky darns!).

With the data now at my fingertips, I’m researching and analyzing like a maniac. And although I initially started this project out of personal curiosity, what it’s uncovering has been so completely shocking that I’ve decided to post everything I find here on my blog. My next few entries will have some awesome data for you.

But you have to wait, because it’s not in presentable form yet. Oh, the suspense!🙂

In the meantime, I’ll just say that the findings reaffirm what I’ve suspected for a while: Campbell’s “China Study” book is a spectacular example of how you can cherry-pick data to create a trend that isn’t there. And also, wheat may be one of the most toxic things you could ever put in your mouth. More on that later.

Stay tuned.

9 comments

  1. Enjoy your blog and your pioneer spirit as to what works for you. Used to be one couldn’t call themselves a “raw vegan” and eat meat at the same time. In the 60’s there was almost a “class distinction” between the vegetarians and the vegans.
    I tried being vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan for a long time. And, I was encouraged to go to a Nourishing Traditions [based on Westin PRice, DDS] seminar in Vancouver, BC. I went and what I heard was shockingly revolutionary to me. Butter? Eggs? Whole foods? Wasn’t I eating whole foods?
    It took all I had in me to cancel my advance seminar with MCDougall when I returned home. Thank heavens I did! Otherwise, it would have been more of the same: I would have felt like a failure, that it was my fault that I couldn’t do it, that something was wrong w/ me.
    That was 6 years ago. I’m down over 65 pounds, don’t eat sugar or flour and weigh my portions. I still have 20 or so to go. I was overfed and undernourished. I credit Sally Fallon and Thomas Cowan MD for their help in turning my information around. Gary Taubes has since come out w/ a book that is also revolutionary. I adore his work and his guts to put it out there. It took 3 years before I was “sold.”
    My mind is back, my memory is slowly returning, and I can get up and out in the morning w/ less “down” feelings. I am Happy! wow.
    I applaud you for making your own way!! Keep writing and I am, for sure going to keep reading your blog. Thank you.

    Joy,
    Karen
    ps. McD is now promoting the use of sugar. Didn’t he learn anything from Dean Ornish, MD another low fat diet guru… http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2010other/news/weil.htm

  2. Don’t be fooled people, Denise has misinterpreted raw data, just as many inexperienced “researchers” do. Denise is not qualified to read such data correctly.
    Please refer to the use and misuse on pp. 54-82 of the China Project monograph.

    The following is Dr Campbell’s rebuttal. The rest can be found http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/campbell_china_response.htm

    ” China Project results are no exception to these limitations of single experiments. It was very large, unique and comprehensive but it was observational (i.e., not interventional), simply observing things as they were at a single point in time. It provided an exceptionally large number of hypothetical associations (shown as statistically assessed correlations) that may indicate but does not prove cause and effect relationships. These unanalyzed correlations are considered raw or crude. It is highly unusual to find such ‘raw’ data in a scientific report because, in part, untrained observers may misunderstand such raw data.

    For the monograph, we were somewhat uncertain whether to publish such raw data but decided to do so for two principle reasons. First, we wanted to make these data available to other researchers, while hoping that data misuse would not be a significant problem. Second, because these data were collected in rural China at a time when data reliability might have been questioned, we chose to be as transparent as possible. We discussed data use and misuse on pp. 54-82 of the China Project monograph that curiously was overlooked by Masterjohn and Jay’Y’.

  3. Hey Denise, in the Myocardial infarction variables for Excell 2007 data set you have the fish intake times per year data in column O as well (its unnamed).

    Cheers
    – Bushrat

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