T. Colin Campbell

About T. Colin Campbell

For more than forty years, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His legacy, the China Project, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted.  Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He has more than seventy grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding and authored more than 300 research papers and coauthor of the bestselling the book, The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health.

Copyright: The Dairy Education Board Text Only

Sunday, July 25, 1999 

T. Colin Campbell
      Turn to the back cover of many of today’s best-selling books on alternative medicine, and chances are that you’ll find a quote from T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., professor of nutritional science at Cornell University.Dr. Campbell has been one of the great spokespersons for a plant-based diet and is best known for his landmark scientific study, the China- Oxford-Cornell Study. Campbell has linked heart disease and cancer to diet and his work is well respected and accepted throughout the world.CONVINCING EVIDENCEThat study is the most comprehensive investigation of diet and disease in world history. Campbell was once a meat-eater, but the scientific evidence gathered from his work was convincing enough for him to adopt a plant-based diet. On May 8, 1990, Jane Brody of the New York Times wrote:

“Campbell’s China study is the grand prix of all epidemiological studies.”

It is interesting to note that Jane Brody is no advocate of a vegetarian lifestyle, yet, she accepts and praises Campbell’s science.

DIETARY PROTEIN

The major finding from Campbell’s study was that people who eat a typically American animal-based, protein-rich diet have seventeen times the death rate from heart disease as do people who satisfy their protein needs from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. Data from his study indicated that women who derived their protein from meat and dairy products were five times as likely to die of breast cancer than those who ate a plant-based diet.

HERE ARE SOME DETAILS OF THE CHINA STUDY

The China Project is a uniquely comprehensive study that is yielding scientifically solid, groundbreaing information that can directly impact your health now and for the rest of your life -information that you can use on:cancer
heart disease
osteoporosis and
many other topics of concern to you”..The ‘Grand Prix’…the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease… tantalizing findings: -The New York Times

MY CONVERSATIONS WITH DR. CAMPBELL

I met T. Colin Campbell at the North American Vegetarian Conference in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Since that first meeting, we’ve spoken many times on the telephone. T. Colin Campbell is a brilliant lecturer, commanding the attention of his “students” with his sparkling brown eyes and piercing Irish wit.

We have discussed bovine proteins. Dr. Campbell calls casein “carcinogenic.” Casein represents eighty percent of the protein in milk.

We also discussed “politics.” Cornell University has historically been a great friend to the dairy industry. Cornell professors like Dale Bauman, David Barbano, and Culberto Garza have received many millions of dollars from dairy industry sources. The influence of these three men has shaped government policy and influenced dietary guidelines and food pyramids.

CAMPBELL’S LECTURE

The subject of his talk at Johnstown was the confusion in newspapers and conflicting views concerning “information overload.” I took notes at his lecture, furiously scribbling down his words of wisdom. Campbell noted:

“I cannot imagine how the public at large can possibly understand all of the information and dis-information.”

Campbell brought his audience to laughter when he said:

“I can design a study to show that a carcinogen is actually an anti-carcinogen.”

This is exactly what the dairy industry does by promoting cheese and claiming that dairy foods prevent colon cancer.

NUTRIENTS

Campbell challenged the audience. He asked, “How many nutrients are there?” One listener called out “Nine.” That’s what the dairy industry claims can be found in milk. Nine essential nutrients.

In answering his own question, Campbell pointed out that there were countless things in foods which give us benefit, and noted that there were 600-700 different types of beta-carotene, carotenoids found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Campbell taught me that the number of different variations of naturally occurring fiber could be measured in the tens of thousands.

Scientists speculate that an untold number of nutrients have yet to be discovered, but Campbell revealed that the number of known unique nutrients could be measured in the tens of thousands.

HOW IMPRECISE IS OUR INFORMATION

In science, we get caught up in dis-information. Campbell believes that we should re-think our concept of exatly what is a nutrient.

DIETARY PROTEIN

Campbell presented evidence that revealed the average American’s diet. The average intake of protein is 90-100 grams per day. The RDA for protein is 56 grams per day, while the minimum daily requirement is a mere 24 grams per person per day.

I was raised on a dairy farm. I milked cows until starting my doctoral research over 50 years ago at Cornell University in the animal-science department. Meat and dairy foods were my daily fare, and I loved them.

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G. Hodges/Jon Reis Photography

T. COLIN CAMPBELL: This diet ‘can prevent and even reverse 70% to 80% of existing, symptomatic disease.’

When I began my experimental research program on the effects of nutrition on cancer and other diseases, I assumed it was healthy to eat plenty of meat, milk and eggs. But eventually, our evidence raised questions about some of my most-cherished beliefs and practices.
Our findings, published in top peer-reviewed journals, pointed away from meat and milk as the building blocks of a healthy diet, and toward whole, plant-based foods with little or no added oil, sugar or salt.
My dietary practices changed based on these findings, and so did those of my family. So, what is this evidence that has had such an impact on my life?
In human population studies, prevalence rates of heart disease and certain cancers strongly associate with animal-protein-based diets, usually reported as total fat consumption. Animal-based protein isn’t the only cause of these diseases, but it is a marker of the simultaneous effects of multiple nutrients found in diets that are high in meat and dairy products and low in plant-based foods.
Trojan Horse
Historically, the primary health value of meat and dairy has been attributed to their generous supply of protein. But therein lay a Trojan horse.
More than 70 years ago, for example, casein (the main protein of cow’s milk) was shown in experimental animal studies to substantially increase cholesterol and early heart disease. Later human studies concurred. Casein, whose properties, it’s important to note, are associated with other animal proteins in general, also was shown during the 1940s and 1950s to enhance cancer growth in experimental animal studies.

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credit info is included on the chart

Casein, in fact, is the most “relevant” chemical carcinogen ever identified; its cancer-producing effects occur in animals at consumption levels close to normal—strikingly unlike cancer-causing environmental chemicals that are fed to lab animals at a few hundred or even a few thousand times their normal levels of consumption. In my lab, from the 1960s to the 1990s, we conducted a series of studies and published dozens of peer-reviewed papers demonstrating casein’s remarkable ability to promote cancer growth in test animals when consumed in excess of protein needs, which is about 10% of total calories, as recommended by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences more than 70 years ago.
One of the biggest fallacies my opponent presents is that a diet including meat and dairy products is the most efficient way of giving the body the nutrients it needs with a healthy level of calories. Plant-based foods have plenty of protein and calcium along with far greater amounts of countless other essential nutrients (such as antioxidants and complex carbohydrates) than meat and dairy.

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Higher-protein diets achieved by consuming animal-based foods increase the risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and many similar ailments, caused by excess protein and other unbalanced nutrients as well.
It’s also worth noting that the government recommendations for certain population groups to increase their protein and iron consumption come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an agency long known to be subservient to the meat and dairy industries.
The dairy industry has long promoted the myth that milk and milk products promote increased bone health—but the opposite is true. The evidence is now abundantly convincing that higher consumption of dairy is associated with higher rates of bone fracture and osteoporosis, according to Yale and Harvard University research groups.
Pain Relief
Some of the most compelling evidence of the effects of meat and dairy foods arises when we stop eating them. Increasing numbers of individuals resolve their pain (arthritic, migraine, cardiac) when they avoid dairy food. And switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet with little or no added salt, sugar and fat, produces astounding health benefits. This dietary lifestyle can prevent and even reverse 70% to 80% of existing, symptomatic disease, with an equivalent savings in health-care costs for those who comply.

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The Wall Street Journal

This treatment effect is broad in scope, exceptionally rapid in response (days to weeks) and often, lifesaving. It cannot be duplicated by animal-based foods, processed foods or drug therapies.
By contrast, any evidence that low-fat or fat-free-dairy foods reduce blood pressure is trivial compared with the lower blood pressure obtained and sustained by a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Based on the scientific evidence, and on the way I feel, I know beyond any doubt that I am better off for having changed my diet to whole and plant-based foods.
Dr. Campbell is professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University and co-author of “The China Study.” He can be reached at reports@wsj.com.

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