SSE Talks


The China Study
May 12, 2010 at 3:00 PM EST | C. CAMPBELL


Colin Campbell


Even though Plato—and before him, Pythagoras—briefly wrote, as a Socratic dialogue, about the health value of plant-based diets, we still today don't really 'get it'. Ever since that time, when the idea re-emerges it has been repeatedly maligned and oftentimes with considerable hostility. Now we have extraordinarily impressive 'high tech' modern scientific evidence that a whole foods, plant-based diet not only prevents future degenerative diseases (e.g., coronary, neoplastic, autoimmune), but also reverses these diseases after they are diagnosed. The evidence also is unusually comprehensive and profound, and exists all the way from sub-cellular levels up through whole bodied individuals and their societies and environments. A remarkable unity of purpose emerges within a remarkable complexity of form. Personally, for more than a half century, I have watched and participated in the development of this information all the way from hypotheses generation, data interpretation and publication in the experimental laboratory to the formulation of national and international policies for public health programs. Regretfully, I have also watched the emergence of fads and mythologies that become part of an intransigent status quo. Remarkably, the resistance and hostility against the eventual idea may be just as strong today as it was centuries ago, except now it is catalyzed by exceptional amounts of money. We now have an environment that simultaneously harbors two sharply contrasting paradigms. One is a health-giving paradigm that is without parallel in medical practice and public health communities. The other is a self-serving paradigm that vigorously resists at every opportunity legitimization of the first. Unfortunately, the proponents of this latter paradigm has the funding to do whatever they want in their own self-serving interests, all the way from determination of biomedical research funding priorities to the development of public policy and information programs. The public, although somewhat suspicious of these shenanigans, has a very limited view of how serious is this difficulty, primarily because, like slaves, they feed on the filtered information that they are given. Such is (was?) The price of a financially unbalanced free market system that has led to the wealth of a few at the expense of the health of the many. Is it possible that we might see a meltdown of the contemporary health care system like that of the recent meltdown of the financial system?


T. Colin Campbell, who was trained at Cornell (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology, spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech's Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair (now Emeritus). His principal scientific interests, which began with his graduate training in the late 1950's, has been on the effects of nutritional status on long term health, particularly on the causation of cancer. He has conducted original research nvestigation both in experimental animal and human studies, and has actively participated in the development of national and international nutrition policy.




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