Book Summary: The China Study, Part 3

Wow, did you think I would ever get through that book?  Neither did I!  Now I can finally watch the Documentary: Forks Over Knives with an objective view.  Here’s the last of the summaries, and my favorite thus far.  (Parts 1 and 2 here, here, here, and here).

Part III – The Good Nutrition Guide

Americans love to hear good things about their bad habits.  He is trying to eliminate confusion on nutrition.

Chapter 11:  Eating Right.  Eight Principles of Food and Health

  1. Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.  Nutrients are better when consumed as food.
  3. There are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
  4. Genes do not determine disease on their own.  Genes function only by being activated or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
  5. Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.  One surprising thing he said: “You aren’t doing yourself much good by eating organic beef instead of conventional beef that’s been pumped full of chemicals.  The organic beef might be marginally healthier, but I would never say that it was a safe choice.  Both types of beef have a similar nutrient profile.”
  6. The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).
  7. Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
  8. Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence.  All parts are interconnected.  Being a runner, I see this often, so I was happy to hear him put it straight: “People wonder if they can erase bad eating habits by being a runner.  The answer to this is no.”
Chapter 12: How to Eat
  • Supplements are not needed, except B12 and vitamin D for those who spend no time outside or live in cold climates.  That’s it.
  • Try to eliminate meat, but do not obsess over it.
  • Try to do it cold turkey.  It is easier to quit smoking all at once instead of cutting back to 3 cigarettes a day, and then 2 and then 1.  Just do it cold turkey.
  • Some tips to help with the transition:  eating plant-based it cheaper!  It’s worth it.  Eat well – you will feel satisfied.  Eat enough.  Weight loss will be a natural side effect, but don’t go hungry.  Eat a variety.
Part IV – Why Haven’t You Heard This Before?
  •  p.249 “There are powerful, influential, and enormously wealthy industries that stand to lose a vast amount of money if Americans start shifting to a plant-based diet.  Their financial health depends on controlling what the public knows about nutrition and health.”  Scary.
  • p. 250 “The entire  system – government, science, medicine, industry and media-promotes profits over healthy, technology over food and confusion over clarity.  Most…of the confusion about nutrition is created in legal, fully disclosed ways and is disseminated by unsuspecting, well-intentioned people.”
Chapter 13: Science – The Dark Side
Campbell shares a personal experience about being hired by the FDA to be chair of a committee of scientists investigating the potential hazards of using nutrient supplements.  He was early in his career and had no strong opinions about nutrition.  He just wanted to promote honest and open debate.  He quickly found that he was the chicken in the wolves den.  He wanted to expose truth, but the committee wanted more to promote what they needed to for their organization, including publishing fraudulent health claims.
Chapter 14: Scientific Reductionism
It has been a longstanding trend that the media focuses in on individual nutrients
The emphasis on low-fat has promoted the invention of all kinds of “healthy” low-fat foods, so now you can still eat all the junk you wanted before and not feel guilty about it, because it is “good for you.”
He exposes several flaws in the famous Nurses’s Health Study.  Virtually all the subjects under the study consumed diets that cause disease.  It focused on fat consumption, which was low, but the foods being consumed were anything but healthy.
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