The China Study Smackdown Roundup

I could not be more thrilled with the response and piling on over yesterday's post signaling the thorough and exhaustive discrediting of The China Study and the exposing of T. Colin Campbell as the scientific fraud that I believe he is.

And if you haven't had a chance yet to read Denise Minger's expose, STOP what you're doing and go read it, instanter. The China Study: Fact or Fallacy. And know this: even if you don't care about T. Colin Campbell, The China Study, hapless vegans, or anything else surrounding the general outrageous morass of lies, lies and damn lies, the reason reading Denise's post is important is for the education in critical scientific thinking it affords. Indeed, Campbell will always have his sycophants but we can all afford to brush up on the idea of being honest and fully integrated with facts of reality, and especially when we find ourselves in the position of wanting very badly for something to be true.

So without further delay, let me list the blog entries I know about so far that helped to promote this important work. If you did a blog on it and are not on the list or you know of a post that's not on the list, please drop me an email so I can add it.

  1. The China Study exposed: actual data does not support vegetarian health claims (at Hunter-Gatherer)
  2. China Study Problems of Interpretation (at Whole Health Source)
  3. Polish a turd and find a diamond? (at PaNu)
  4. The China Study: Junk Science and Lies (at Robb Wolf)
  5. There is no justification for a plant-only diet (at Conditioning Research)
  6. Rest in peace, China Study (at The Healthy Skeptic)
  7. “The China Study”, Debunked (at Theory to Practice)
  8. "The China Study: Fact or Fallacy?" (at Let Them Eat Meat)
  9. Destroying China (the Study that Is) (at Aspire Natural Health)
  10. The China Study Discredited (at Food Renegade)
  11. The Study Everyone Talks About: Part 2: The Ravaging Reviews (at Feasting on Fitness)
  12. Debunking The China Study (at Crossfit 1776)
  13. The Debunking of the China Study (at TJ's Gym)
  14. Thoughts on Friday from the middle of the road! (at A Moderate Life)
  15. A Critique Worth Reading (at For His Glory & for Our Good)
  16. "T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study: Finally, Exhaustively Discredited" (at Crossfit Peachtree)
  17. The China Study: Crushed by its Own Data (at The Spark of Reason)
  18. China Study & T. Colin Campbell: Someone just made you their vegan bitch (at Paleo-ish)
  19. The China Study: Evidence for the Perfect Health Diet (at Perfect Health Diet)
  20. The China Study Has No Clothes: Smackdown Of T. Colin Campbell (at Nutrition and Physical Regeneration)
  21. The slam-dunking of "The China Study" (at the shmaltz)
  22. China Study Shakedown (at Natural Messiah)
  23. The China Study Toppled – A Tale of the Confirmation Bias (at Lean, Mean, Virile Machine)
  24. Slaying of a Hypothesis (at Animal Pharm)
  25. "Epidemiology is Bogus" (at Evolutionary Psychiatry)
  26. China Study Unveiled -- Not Supporting Veganism (at Primal Wisdom)
  27. China fiction? (at The Heart Scan Blog)
  28. The China Study - A Superb Analysis (at Primal Muse)
  29. Chipping Away at the China Study (at Liberation Wellness)
  30. The China study: Debunked (at Food, flora and felines)
  31. Buh-bye, China Study (at The Low-Carb Curmudgeon)
  32. China Study Debunked (at The Red Pill)
  33. Around the Fitness Horn (at x lyssa)
  34. RAW FOOD SOS sobre o China Study (at Canibais e Reis)
  35. Die veblüffende Biegsamkeit von Fakten: The China Study (at Urgeschmack)
  36. Veganbibelns fall (at Kostdoktorn.Se)
  37. Weekend Link Love (at Mark's Daily Apple)
  38. The China Study (at Kat's Food Blog)
  39. Debunking junk science: goodbye china study (at abundant brain & health)
  40. China Study Unmasked (at AgingBoomersBlog.com)
  41. Denise Minger Refutes the China Study Once and For All (at The WAPF Blog)
  42. "The China Study" Considered Harmful (at Metamodern)
  43. The China Study vs the China study (at The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.)

Hope I didn't leave anyone out. All of that link love and I can imagine Denise's blog was just popping with traffic yesterday and that no doubt will continue for some time. I know I had the best traffic day I've had in a while at about 7,000.

If you have a blog and still haven't written a post linking up Denise, it's still not too late, and I'll be happy to list you above.

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Comments

  1. Hi Richard! I LOVE your posts on The China Study and your highlight of Denise’s thorough work. She emailed me about her article as well, and I referenced her in my own series on the topic. On my blog (Feasting on Fitness), I summarized the reviews and research countering The China Study in a two-part series, please check it out:
    http://feastingonfitness.blogspot.com/2010/04/study-everyone-talks-about-part-1.html
    Thanks!

    • Got it, Kristy. I put up Pt2 since that was the one specifically that linked Denise, but of course anyone can get to Pt1 if they like.

      Thanks. Also added a link from Food Renegade.

  2. Here’s a blog entry from 5 years ago that dealt with the China Study and the issue of wheat:

    http://bradmarshall.blogspot.com/2005/12/is-wheat-killing-us-introduction-maybe.html

    • Wow, that guy nailed it back in 2005.

    • Sonagi says:

      I read that blog entry and noted a few incorrect assumptions by the blogger and some commenters.

      First, while wheat products consumed in China today are made mostly from unenriched, refined flour, that was not true back in the 70s when the data was collected. Zhejiang University Professor of Nutrition Duo Li confirmed in a brief email to me today that rural Chinese ate whole wheat products and that refined flour was rarely consumed.

      Second, northern Chinese do eat more tubers that can be stored over the winter. They also eat pickled vegetables, especially cabbage, just like Koreans and Japanese. I do not know if pickled vegetables are widely consumed among ethnic minorities in Western China, but they are and have long been a winter staple in eastern and northeastern China.

      • Sonagi: Doesn’t matter if the wheat is refined or not. It’s bad news either way. If you get into the Weston A. Price Foundation’s work you’ll find that wheat contains several antinutrients that can only be neutralized through an acidic soaking or fermentation of some kind. And I mean thorough fermentation, not “add a packet of factory yeast and let rise for an hour.” We’re talking twelve hours or more of old-fashioned sourdough leavening and it still may not be enough.

        This is China we’re talking about. Which do they eat more of, bread or noodles? Do noodles require fermentation before they are made? In my experience, no–not even in China.

        You would actually be better off eating refined wheat if you’re going to eat wheat at all, in my estimation, because then you’re only dealing with the starch and your body at least is semi-equipped to deal with that. And then you get into excess glucose consumption and all the health consequences *that* carries.

        And this is when we’re talking about fresh wheat. I don’t know about China, but over here much of the wheat we eat is rancid to some extent. Has to be, because it’s not refrigerated in whole form and those polyunsaturated oils in the grain are very unstable. Even worse when it’s ground up and turned into things like wheat flour and wheat germ. So then you have the adverse consequences of eating rancid oil. Yummy.

        Hey Richard: Thanks for the mention! :)

      • Sonagi says:

        You’re preaching to the converted, Dana. I do not eat wheat. I went to the trouble of clarifying the type of wheat flour consumed then because one commenter on Denise’s blog miscommunicated some information from Chris Masterjohn. That commenter thought the wheat flour consumed during the period of the study was refined, processed wheat flour. It was not, according to the Chinese professor I contacted.

      • I didn’t think it was anything, I was trying to find out exactly what is was, since the monograph doesn’t note it one way or the other. Several other bloggers assumed it was refined flour, which I noted. Nor did I miscommunicate what Chris said, as they way he wrote it, which I noted, could easily have been understood that way. How else would you take “modernized”? And he used that as a description of dairy as well, which leads to further questions, at least in my mind.

        As for the differences in impact of refined wheat versus whole wheat, there is a whale of a difference, but I will cover that in an upcoming blog post touching on the work of Robert McCarrison in particular and tangentially the research of Weston Price.

        Thanks for the additional data point, but its just that, another data point. It doesn’t answer the question definitively.

  3. Annon says:

    Thank you for this post Richard! To the bottom of the birdcage forthwith China Study!

  4. Richard,

    Just wanted to thank you for breaking this. Denise clearly busted her ass to put this together and deserves the well-justified attention. I know I’ll be able to have a snappy comeback for all those “But what about The China Study?” questions from now on.

    May I also (oh-so-humbly) point out my take on the situation at my blog Lean, Mean, Virile Machine:

    http://theguycancook.com/blog/2010/07/09/the-china-study-toppled-a-tale-of-the-confirmation-bias/?ref=lmvm

  5. the low-fat raw vegans have been talking about it too (with predictable results):

    • Jeez, just a look convinces me to save it to tomorrow. Not like it”s anything like the contiensuous rigor that we see in the paleosphere regularly. Check out the moronic comments.

    • Sarah Madden says:

      Oh geez.. WHY did I click on that link. The human brain’s capacity for cognitive dissonance amazes me. Don’t read this if you don’t want a rise in blood pressure!

    • Paul C says:

      The time has come for those folks to admit they wouldn’t eat meat even if Superman flew down and said his powers came from meat, not the sun. Talk about surrounding yourself with yes-people. You can’t even register on the forum unless you convince the moderator you fit in with the belief system.

    • I was just going to mention this thread. WOW. They start attacking her character almost immediately and most of them refused to even read her post. It made me a) a little sad for it’s clear Denise put a lot of work into that analysis and was very unbiased and b) in awe of the sheer ignorance displayed. I wasn’t even angry, just amazed.

    • That 30BAD crowd reminds me of the paleo website guy who de-linked Free The Animal because Richard blogged about eating… OMG! Clutch the pearls!… potatoes. I think when diet becomes that much of a religion it reflects a seriously dysfunctional mentality.

    • LeonRover says:

      Of course they are too uneducated to realize that the origin of their acclaimed authors name is:

      Campbell: from Cam Beul (Gaelic for “Crooked mouth”)

      What can I say??

    • Wondered when you were going to get off your ass, Micheal.

      I’ll add it tomorrow. Too deep into the scotch just now. Plus a flight of excellent old vine zin with a steak at a resto just now

  6. Richard, just wanted to thank you for bringing this to our attention. Word spread VERY fast once it hit your blog!

  7. Hey Richard, here’s my post: http://theshmaltz.blogspot.com/2010/07/slam-dunking-of-china-study.html

    Not as analytical as others, but hey, just helpin’ to get the word out!

  8. “She’s no longer a vegan, so her word is biased!”

    Ugh, yeah, let’s start with conclusions and work backwards. Brilliant!

  9. Thanks for posting this Richard. I have not yet read the study but did bookmark it to look at later (probably tonight or tomorrow). It is long but a must read for EVERYONE. Thanks for posting this with all articles that you could find that commented on the original essay. I will be checking a few of them out and will be giving this some love next saturday as it is well deserving.

  10. Annlee says:
  11. LOL “Polish a turd and find a diamond?”

    Here’s what I like about all of this: if enough people write quality posts, when people search for “China Study” on search engines they are going to find a lot of blogs discrediting it.

    Yep, I just googled it. Right now Masterjohn is #6 (first page). On the second page, we have Whole Health Source at #11 and Food Renegade at #14.

    I personally greatly dislike all of this vegetarian propaganda. I read “Diet for a New America” in college, drank the Kool-Aid, and ended up with a bunch of cavities and 2 root canals.

    • Oh and you and Robb Wolf are on page 4.

    • I went too long relying on beta carotene for my vitamin A and fried my reproductive system for three years. It was so bad I couldn’t leave the house the first couple of days and had to break out the cleaning-rag bag for backup. Got on the vitamin A… stuff normalized. I think I may have fried my daughter’s kidneys when she was in utero, too–she was born with urinary reflux and her right kidney’s noticeably smaller than the left. Had to have corrective surgery when she was a year and a half old. Vitamin A plays a role in kidney development in the fetus. They told me it was “probably genetic.” Sure it was–a genetic response to malnutrition. They’d tested me multiple times (GTT) for gestational diabetes, apparently I was borderline, and NO ONE tells you you need real vitamin A if there’s any chance that’s your problem. I think I also had thyroid issues–you need real vitamin A then too. No, they tell you to avoid liver when you’re pregnant because you might hurt the baby. It is so gross. I mean, I don’t like liver, but just knowing I needed A and could at least take fish liver oil would have saved me and my daughter so much grief.

      All the vegans want to talk about is do you get enough protein. But there are LOTS of things you need and don’t get. Vitamin A, the proper form of B12, the proper form of K2, saturated fats (except for coconut and palm oil), minerals that your body can actually assimilate… etc. Nope, we won’t talk about those. It’s maddening.

  12. Thanks for the link through to my site Richard.

    Just had a look around many of the paleo sites linking to Denise and mine seems to be one of only a few that have had an anonymous commenter suggest Denise is not qualified to anlyse & interpret the data. One only needs to look at the link they left – vegsource.com to see where their bias sits.

    • Probably the same “John” who spammed all of Denises posts and both of mine with the exact same comment. I deleted and banned him.

      I don’t mind disagreement but this was just spamming.

  13. So…obviously when you were in the Nav you couldn’t possibly have been that fat. What happened between when you got out in ’92 & ’07, with this revelation to “do something about it”? How did you get that fat in the first place? I think you must be around 48 years old or so? I’m 46. Your story sounds remarkably similar to mine. Was it getting away from the PT of the navy, the fitness tests, perhaps being on the weight control program while continuing to eat everything & anything? I ask because I also served, from ’85 to ’92, always on the wrong side of the nearly impossible standards but I think I looked OK in uniform and was good in my job. That, however, was never good enough since I didn’t meet the “standard” on body fat percentages, which by the way were measured weekly! After I got out, unable to stand it any more, I balooned up to 236. The weight since then has come & gone. These days I’m doing a sort of modified Atkins under a dr.’s supervision. Finally, it’s going well & I have some hope of living a “normal” life.

    • I kept in pretty decent shape in the Nav. I attribute the gradual ballooning to a few factors:

      1. Went from an active job of walking around a lot, standing OOD underway, climbing up & down ships ladders all day to a desk job at home.

      2. I was 31 when I got out. I got older and metabolism did what it does to a lot of folks pushing 40 (most of the gain came in the last few years).

      3. Poor food choices a lot of the time, including pretty regular consumption of fast food.

  14. Paul C says:

    If you all haven’t had enough of getting riled up, here is a call-in radio show (free MP3 download) with Margo Wootan on Wisconsin Public Radio that really got me steamed on the drive home.

    As a policy maker, she suggests nutrition basics should be taught in school, but she has some important basics wrong. Her responses to some of the callers are frightening, like the poor pregnant girl that is wondering why the government is supplying her with refined garbage.

    http://wpr.org/wcast/download-mp3-request.cfm?mp3file=bme100706m.mp3&iNoteID=91245

    • I was on WIC with my daughter and I went through a vegan phase after she was born. (yeah, yeah, yeah…) I was aware something was wrong with me and trying to address it on basically no good knowledge. Oh to have known then what I know now. Anyway, I did that, and then I went back to animal foods eating and looked at low-carb again and you know, from either perspective, what WIC hands out is not acceptable. Too much sugar, too much starch–even the whole foods you get are not the be-all, end-all. If the government really wanted to help poor people then they need to provide meat, not agricultural surplus and they need to offer classes on traditional foodmaking, especially bone broth preparation, which not only supplies necessary minerals but has a protein-sparing effect, which would stretch their meat dollars (or the government’s).

      Anymore when there’s a food drive, it isn’t a perfect solution because canned meats often have soy broth in them, but that’s what I donate… canned meat or canned fish. I figure there are enough people donating garbage, someone’s gotta balance it out. A lot of food banks will accept meat donations from hunters, but obviously it doesn’t go far enough and food banks don’t serve everyone who is food-insecure.

    • and actually, I’m going “the government needs to do this” but the truth is we need to jump the gun and get more private individuals out there teaching this stuff. I envision a group of people getting their finances squared away a la the book Your Money Or Your Life so that they don’t need to work for a paycheck, then turning around and teaching valuable food preparation skills at their local community centers, churches (many churches have a kitchen and classrooms), etc.

      Dr. Weston Price used to have a setup in Cleveland (I think–I always get it confused with Cincinnati) where he would serve lunch to underprivileged children, following his own nutritional principles. Probably the best food those kids had their entire childhoods. That man was a hero. And didn’t wait for funding from Uncle Sam.

      Doesn’t mean I don’t think it’d be nice to have Uncle Sam’s backing. But I gotta be realistic.

  15. It’s interesting to see a vegetarian epidemiologist suggesting that Denise Minguer should also do a huge, extensive epidemiological analysis the authors of the CHINA STUDY should have donne in the first place. Did they ever donne this detailed analysis of the data, and so where is it published? I’ve read Denise’s main article and the meat article, and they’re nothing less that objective and logical. The so called ecological data surely includes some confounding factors, but it is unlikely it will be turned 100% upside down after adjusting for confunders, otherwise ecological data would have to be totally disconected from planet Earth.

    http://www.30bananasaday.com/group/debunkingthechinastudycritics
    http://www.30bananasaday.com/group/debunkingthechinastudycritics/forum/topics/my-response-to-denises

  16. Maybe all is not lost (although the comments will make you think it is):

    http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/07/12/lunchtime-poll-vegetarianism/?hpt=Sbin

    Don’t give up on meat!

    Also if anyone has the energy for a comments battle, there are some citations of the China Study in there that could use a Minger Rebuttal.

  17. Campbell’s response:

    http://tynan.com/chinastudyresponse

  18. Richard, I added a link to Denise’s great dissection on my blog at

    http://agingboomersblog.com/china-study-unmasked/

  19. Denise delivers yet another crushing smackdown:

    http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/07/16/the-china-study-my-response-to-campbell/

  20. Mine came out a little later but here’s my review of Denise’s review if you’d like to include it in your list:

    Chris

  21. Hervé Musseau says:

    Read Denise’s post after it was mentioned in Eric Drexler’s blog :
    http://metamodern.com/2010/07/11/“the-china-study”-considered-harmful

  22. I am discouraged by the absence of scholastic rigor in your post on this subject. Please don’t confuse what you are doing with science. This is “social networking”, which is valuable only for reasons inherent in that construct. Scientifically, it seems clear to me that you have your hypothesis, and you will cherry pick where you need to in your efforts to confirm your preconceptions. Denise’s impoverished attempts at being a statistician, biologist, or nutritionist (she is none of these) is embarrasing to read, as a scientist, and is, in a scholarly sense, bereft of merit.

  23. T Colin Campbell only gets a fraction of the credit that he deserves. History shows that all greatness is discredited first, then accepted as gospel. The earth used to be flat…people were tortured and killed for stating that we are not at the center of the universe and so on.., you know the rest. Only those “pioneers” who REALLY were interested in furthering the health and performance of humans would leave their comfort zone and discover and then APPLY what works better long enough to even understand what this whole discussion is about. I challenge ANYONE to challenge T Colin Campbell on the fact that a whole plant based diet (not processed plant foods weak in fresh fruit or greens, or silly “vegan” or “healthy” snacks and all that mumbo jumbo in a package) produces superior health, AND athletic performance in strength, endurance and flexibility. History, numbers and thousands upon thousands of case studies do not lie. Look around you. The human body does not lie either. Just take a close look… do you dare? If you look at meat eaters long enough you will see what happens to these poor people. The only ones who survive on animal foods are those who eat very small amounts, usually less than 5% of their diet, as Campbell points out. How many people even know that even most carnivorous animals easily eat the bulk of their diet from whole plant foods? I only enjoy criticisms and arguments when they come from serious people with serious knowledge and experience. ANYone can argue. But only a stubborn few, such as Campbell, actually ADD to our knowledge and experience base…. which is quickly deteriorating … especially due to the internet. “Research” and “Metadata” and “Experience” seem to be meaningless in most cases. Please will someone (ANYONE) show some viable arguments that are backed up with equal triple reviewed metadata? Please!!!! I am so bored with those who, due to their own ideas… grasp on to arguments just for the sake of NOT leaving their “dark cave” of what they are used to…. come on, people.. leave your comfort zone just for a moment… you may discover.. God forbid! that the rewards and pleasures and REAL comfort that you get in return is more than you ever imagined.

Trackbacks

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