Book Summary – The China Study, Part 1 Continued

Chapter 4:  Lessons from China

  • In the early 1970’s a survey was conducted in the entire country of China, which revealed that cancer was geographically localized.  In some areas, cancer rates were 100 times the rates of the lower areas (in the U.S. we see at most 2 to 3 times, so 100 times is enormous).
  • Why?  This was the beginning of “The China Study.”
  • In the USA, 15-16% of total calories comes from protein (80% of that protein is animal protein), and in rural China, only 9-10% total calories come from protein (only 10% of that is from animal sources).
  • The Chinese are consuming an average of 2641 calories, with 14.5% fat, and Americans are consuming 1989 calories with 38% fat.   The Chinese eat higher calories, less fat, less protein, less animal protein, more fiber, and more iron.
  • Diseases of Affluence (Nutritional Extravagance): Cancer, Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diseases of Poverty (Nutritional Inadequacy and Poor Sanitation):Pneumonia, Ulcers, Digestive Diseases, Tuberculosis, Parasitic Diseases, Rheumatic Heart Disease.  Notice no cancer!
  • One of the strongest predictors of Western Diseases (diseases of affluence) is blood cholesterol.
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels are linked to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other western diseases.
  • Many prominent heart doctors have never seen a heart disease fatality among their patients with a blood cholesterol level below 150.
  • Nutrients from plant-based foods are associated with decreasing levels of blood cholesterol.
  • There is a lot of confusion among scientists regarding questions with dietary fat – how much, what kind, Omega-6 or 3, what kinds of oils are okay, etc.  When details are studied in isolation, results can be misleading.  We need to look at how networks of chemicals behave instead.
  • Only 2-3% of all cancers are attributed to genes.  The rest are strongly influenced by diet.
  • There is an interesting relationship with dietary fat and breast cancer.  Higher fat can influence early menstruation, high cholesterol, late menopause, and higher exposure to female hormones.  This can extend the reproductive life from beginning to end by 9-10 years.  This extra decade of exposure to hormones can greatly influence a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
  • A large survey in China revealed that the average age of a woman’s first period was 15-19 years old.  In America, the average age is 11.
  • The more colorful your produce, the higher antioxidant levels, which shield you from free-radicals (cancer-causing agents).
  • Again, the benefits do not lie in an individual nutrient or mineral, but in the whole food.
  • Don’t reach for a vitamin.  Eat it in a fruit or vegetable instead.
  • The Atkins diet reaks havoc on your system.  Don’t do it.
  • The low-carb diet craze is unfortunate.  Carbs are our friends.  Just make sure they are from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.    Many people think they are eating a healthy vegetarian diet by eating lots of pastas, highly processed crackers and chips, white flour, etc.  This is the reason carbs have gotten a bad rap.  That is the stuff that puts on weight and doesn’t add nutritional value.
  • Chinese are more physically active than Americans.  Their calorie intake is 30% higher, yet their body weight is 20% lower.
  • They are eating the right foods (plant-based protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and riding their bikes!
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