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China study- The vegan argument

by Milos Pokimica ND

by Milos Pokimica ND

Learn About Nutrition

"China study showed that there is no heart disease or cancer or diabetes in undeveloped rural communities in the world with starch-based vegan diets."

When we look at our mortality rates we will soon realize that something is not as it should be. One in four people will die from cancer one in for from heart disease or stroke. Even if we avoid death from some form of chronic disease we will have an increase in risk from many illnesses that will affect our quality of life even if we do not die from them. And this is not natural. In rural China, for example, the situation is different as the China study showed.

chronic disease pie chart

There is no heart disease or cancer or diabetes at such a high rate in the animal kingdom also. What this means is that most of the so-called diseases of affluence are caused by diet. That is it. We all have health issues and diseases because of our evolutionary incongruent life. The genetic predisposition is not a root cause. It was a big debate about the root causes of modern health issues in the scientific community for a long time. Then a line of the studies was conducted and the scientists have found the answer. The scientist looked at people in different parts of the world that were stricken by poverty and as a consequence had plant-based diets that were based on some form of starch like rice for example with no or marginal animal product consumption.

Maybe one of the most extensive studies in this field was The China–Cornell–Oxford Project (The China Study). A large observational study conducted in rural China in the 1980s, co-financed by Oxford University, Cornell University, and the Government of China. The study was comprehensive and included 367 different variables.

China Study
China Study

A total of 65 counties in China with 6,500 adults were examined with a medical examination, blood tests, questionnaires, etc. In 1983 two random villages were chosen in each of the 65 rural counties of China and 50 families were randomly selected in each village. The eating habits of one adult member of each family, half men and half women were examined. The results were compared with mortality rates in those counties for 48 forms of cancers and other diseases during 1973-75.

It was one of the most significant studies ever done known as The China Study.

I will use some quotes from the “The China Study”.

“In rural China, fat intake was less than half that in the United States, and fiber intake was 3 times higher. Animal protein intake was very low, only about 10% of the US intake. Mean serum total cholesterol was 127 mg/dL in rural China versus 203 mg/dL for adults aged 20-74 years in the United States. Coronary artery disease mortality was 16.7-fold greater for US men and 5.6-fold greater for US women than for their Chinese counterparts.” (2)

“When we were done, we had more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between lifestyle, diet, and disease variables.” “The results of these, and many other studies showed nutrition to be far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen.”

And this correlation was for all types of cancers, not just breast cancer that was almost none existent but many other forms of cancers also. They even had a difficult time finding women who know other people who had breast cancer. People who were living in these rural areas of China known about the disease but have never seen it. No acne for example either. Many diseases and cancers are associated with hormones like IGF-1.

No diabetes also. They were eating nothing but rice and still, diabetes was no concern. Paleo diet people have a hard time with that one. They believe white rice is correlated with diabetes like any other refined carbohydrate. Then no heart disease, and so on.

“People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease. People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest.”

Whether you become vegan or not, they suggested you put as many plants as possible on your plate at every meal. The study concluded that the counties with high consumption of food of animal origin in 1983-84 were also expected to have higher mortality rates from western diseases, while the opposite was true for the counties that consumed more plant-based food.

Now we can say this is maybe not related to their diet because there is a lot of other factors like exercise. These people mostly do manual labor, and maybe that was what sustained them. There were other variables too. Also, again this is not the only study of this kind. The problem with this kind of data is that goes against the interests of the industry, and because it is a significant study, it can be a hard time disproving it. What they do is usually make false logic knowing that most people do not care and need to hear something they like to justify themselves their unhealthy behaviors.

There is a good quote from T. Colin Campbell in The China Study that said:

“Americans love to hear good things about their bad habits.”

For example, after the book, The China Study was published and made an impact, the written debate came. In 2008, “nutritionist” Loren Cordain argued that:

“The fundamental logic underlying Campbell’s hypothesis (that low [animal] protein diets improve human health) is untenable and inconsistent with the evolution of our own species.”

She argued that there are cultures like Maasai people and the Eskimos that do not suffer from health issues described by the authors. That is entirely false by the way. However, wait. How far does the evolution of our species go?

It is highly unlikely that educated people like her do not understand how evolution works. Maybe evolution goes as much as we need it to go so that we can justify our agenda. This is an inversion in the purest form. Nothing to do with science.

People like nutritionist Loren Cordain know very well what real evolution look like, they are not idiots. For every single one study, we will have doctors with Ph.D.`s popping up like mushrooms trying to mud the water with different data just enough to make confusion knowing well enough that people do what feels good not what is right. There were charges against Campbell that he distorted and misrepresented the data from the study and that he had numerous flaws in his reasoning.

The problem was it was just statistical correlations. His work is actually not that of a big deal. There were other similar statistical studies and studies in biochemistry that later proved most of this statistical correlation observed in the ’80s in real in vivo and in vitro experiments. This study is old news just the book came out recently and made the system angry. Here is one example from sciencebasedmedicine.org.

“I did not look at the praise or criticism of others until after I read the book, and the following represents my independent impressions. I approached the book as I do any book with scientific references: I read until I come across a statement of fact that strikes me as questionable, and then I check the references given for the statement. This immediately got me off on the wrong foot with this book. In the first chapter, I found the statement: “Heart disease can be prevented and even reversed by a healthy diet.”

The doctor concluded that: “Health is more than just diet.” You can trust The SkepDoc. Forget the study that took ten years and was compiled on 894 pages. She would tell you the real truth. She is a retired family physician who writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices, completed her internship in the Air Force (the second female ever to do so). How wrong of Dr. Campbell to say that. He did write in the book: “Eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.”

This can be an emotional issue because most of us are addicted to our dietary habits. Just imagine that. Dr. Campbell observed a correlation between cholesterol and heart disease back in the ’80s. A very scientific and unbiased review of scienebasedmadice.org. This kind of conflicting data made my life hard. I had to spend years of my own research.

Are you confused? Here is one statistic from the study. In Guizhou county, there was no single recorded coronary artery disease death from 246,000 men over a period of 3 years. There is nothing natural about heart disease.

Number one terrorist killer in the west.

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Passages selected from a book: “Go Vegan? Review of Science: Part 1” [Milos Pokimica]

T.  Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies  NutritionStudies.org

  1. Diet, life-style, and mortality in China : a study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties Diet, Life-style and Mortality in China. A Study of the Characteristics of 65 Chinese Counties: Chen J., Campbell T.C., Li J., Peto R. Oxford University Press, (Oxford, U.K.), Cornell University Press, (Ithaca, NY), People’s Medical Publishing House (Beijing PRC), 894 pp. 1991.
  2. Diet, lifestyle, and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China study. Am J Cardiol. 1998 Nov 26;82(10B):18T-21T.

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GoVeganWay.com brings you reviews of the latest nutrition and health-related research. The information provided represents the personal opinion of the author and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.



In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. GoVeganWay.com does not recommend or endorse any specific groups, organizations, tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned inside.

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October 21, 2021


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