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Debunked – The China Study

By Mikhaila

I’m going to keep this EXTREMELY brief, and very simplified. If it’s too simplified for people’s liking let me know, but I don’t want to bog people down with information. Comment with thoughts, suggestions, other studies you’d like to know about, or more areas to read about the china study.

What is The China Study?

When discussing an all meat diet, I’ve heard The China Study brought up numerous times. I wouldn’t say all of the science in it is bad, but the author makes conclusions you can’t make, generalizes, and leads readers to the WRONG conclusion.

The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term HealthThe China Study is actually a book written about a number of “studies”. Dr. T. Cloin Campbell of Cornell University and some of his colleagues studied the diet hundreds of thousands of people in China. They ended up publishing that animal protein contributed to a plethora of disease. This was a gross inaccuracy on his part for the reasons listed below, and contributed to God knows how much suffering.

Where did it go wrong?

  • Campbell links “animal protein” to cancer and autoimmune disorder’s. The studies in the book linking “animal protein” to disease, are done based on casein (a protein in cow’s milk). He generalizes and instead of being clear “casein causes…..” he writes that “animal protein causes….” This is wrong. Casein and meat are NOT the same AT ALL. He discusses casein causing Type 1 diabetes but doesn’t talk about gluten’s role in Type 1 diabetes, or fructose’s role in insulin resistance, or sugars role for that matter. The main mistake he makes, that caused God knows how much suffering, is lumping casein and meat together.
  • Campbell doesn’t look into carb consumption or sugar consumption. He omitted information in order to get the result he wanted. This book could easily have been just as popular if he didn’t omit key information, and was specific that he was talking about casein (not animal protein in general).
  • He suggests limiting cholesterol food to ZERO. We’re slowly finding out that cholesterol actually isn’t bad for you, and suggesting people eat zero of it is ridiculous. We need cholesterol to form our steroid hormones, process vitamin D, and form cell membranes.

Where did it go right?

Casein is linked to cancer and autoimmune disorders. I suggest avoiding dairy almost as much as I suggest avoiding gluten. But lumping dairy in with meat is a huge mistake. They are not the same.

What we can take away from it:

Be careful what you read. Most studies on diet are done badly and lead people to the wrong conclusions. Casein (dairy) should be avoided.

Further reading on The China Study:

Chris Kresser wrote a blog post about it, and it’s really worth reading. It covers way more than this oversimplified post.

Some readers have mentioned Michael Greger and nutritionfacts.org. This is one of the (many) reasons I think that doctor is a crook. He’s looking for anything that supports what he believes instead of looking for the truth. Compare what he writes to what Chris Kresser writes about The China Study and see for yourself. He lists The China Study as some of the evidence of plant-based diet without actually looking into the science behind it.

Join the Conversation


  1. I hope you are having a good day.

    – The China study is the largest of its type, which has ever been performed.

    – Dr. Campbell has worked with thousands of people which used his methods and found results.

    – Not all Meat is equal – Research into the GMO’s, preservatives, antibiotics and other methods used.

    – Yes, Dairy was proven beyond a doubt by the Study to increase Cancer risk.

    – There is nothing comparable to the China Study for Gluten. In fact, it is merely an opinion to stay otherwise.

    – Your Dad is a Scientist and he follows the evidence. Let your dad look at the China Study and attempt to find an error. The Science is pure and concrete.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Mike
      I suspect you have not read any critiques of the China Study, for if you had then you would not be writing what you write. If you had read the data behind the China Study, instead of the interpretation of the data, your understanding might be different, non? I understand you are firmly committed to your point of view. Mikhaila is not firmly committed to her present point of view, she is committed to surviving and thriving and taking care of her new baby. To that end she has found a diet that allows her to do so, and has researched why that might be so, and her point of view will change as she continues to research and test her understanding with her diet/lifestyle.

  2. I’m kinda bummed to hear that casein is linked to cancer. (What can I say; I love dairy.) Can you point to any solid research that corroborates this? Thanks for your work. Very interesting.

  3. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver and a small amount from your food.
    My gut feel is cholesterol levels go out of whack because of a lifelong sedentary lifestyle… sitting too much on your butt and not stressing your body with grinding, laborious work… symptomatic of the bureaucratic class pushing pencils/pens.

  4. Good Evening,

    I hope you are having a good day. Kenn, I hope you follow Dr. Peterson. His most famous interview to date is with Kathy Newman. Her tactic of Ad Hominem “strawman” was comical at best, and dangerous at worst. “So what your saying is” has become an internet meme. Read your comment back, and ask yourself, if you are doing the same?

    The story of Mikalia is inspiring. I hope many people realize, the power the human body has.

    I studied the China Study in detail, and have lived on a Plant-Based lifestyle for 7 months. I do not mention my personal experience or others, as I wish to stick to the topic.

    The truth is my main aim. My research has found, there are four big problems with the SAD(Standard American Diet)

    – Sugar

    – Dairy

    – Meat

    – Eggs

    Conclusion: My intention, is to get to the truth.

  5. Just a thought about dietary studies based on china and milk. Isn’t that absurd to compare to europe considering how recently milk has been introduced into the asian diet.

  6. Here is a 1-hour debate between the Keto and the Plant-based lifestyle.

    A friendly discussion between Kip Andersen, Dave Asprey, and Dr. Joel Kahn. The question they explore is, “what is the ideal diet?” Each guest approaches this subject in a very different way, and we hope that the dialogue between them can bring more clarity to this perennial question.

    Kip Andersen is the director of the documentary “What the Health;” Dave Asprey is the author of “The Bulletproof Diet;” and Dr. Joel Kahn is the author of “The Whole Heart Solution.”

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