First, I want to thank so many of you who sent kind and supportive notes last month. Although I read them with much gratitude, I did not reply to any - I hope you understand.
Second, this month's newsletter is different. It is about a book - a book about nutrition at that. The name of the book is THE CHINA STUDY. (If you have read this book, you may want to skip the rest of this newsletter.)
Let me offer some background: One of the things I learned as an undergraduate was that I could save myself a lot of time (and impress my teachers) if I read the studies most often quoted by other authors. Back in those days they did not keep lists of articles and books and how often each was cited so I became an devoted reader of footnotes and I would note which authors showed in the footnotes by several different scholars.
Sometimes I ONLY read footnotes - and I quickly learned which authors were considered the 'important scholars' - so important that most everyone cited their work. I would then consult the work of those scholars.....and my teachers were often impressed at my 'discerning tastes'. Of course in those days I was reading philosophy, but the habit of paying attention to footnotes and
citations has never left me.
For the past few weeks I have been reading nutrition. Not dieting. Nutrition.
Now my original reason for starting this 'research jag' was related to heart disease and ways to reverse it. But I soon found the authors who gave evidence of reversal of arterial plaque were all citing T. Colin Campbell who authored THE CHINA STUDY. So I ordered the book through inter library loan and when it came in I found that this it not only addressed cardio issues but also cancer, diabetes and Osteoporosis. (Note the last!)
Some background. Campbell grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania. He was the first in his family to go to college. and he studied veterinary medicine. Then Cornell offered scholarship money in 'animal nutrition'. Later at M.I.T. he was assigned the task of finding out why chicks were dying wholesale. He found there were toxic chemicals in their feed, dioxin and aflatoxin. Later at Virginia Tech he was part of a project that focused on Filipino children dying of liver cancer [aflatoxin grew on the peanuts] but this study raised an odditiy. Children from the poorest families were surviving, while
those whose families were better off were dying.
Well, it is a long story, filled with details of scientific studies. Campbell reads a study from India that 'turns the current ideas upside down' but finds that important researchers in this country assume the authors of the study just 'made a mistake'. But Campbell considers the information. He also continues his own work - including work about nutrition and cancer. (I was fascinated by one set of experiments where they stopped cancer tumors from growing and then
started them growing again all through changes in nutrition!)
But all this is 'lead up' to the main focus of the book - study done in the 1980s when Campbell and the most noted health researcher in China conducted the largest epidemiological study ever done in the world in which they documented exactly what people ate and what diseases they
developed throughout Northwest China.
It is a long story. Their original interest was cancer but they soon found that it was not just cancer but heart disease, diabetes and Osteoporosis were present or absent - depending on nutrition (What people ate since depending on the nearness of rivers and crops grown, nutrition varied in these villages.) And they found clear evidence between area nutrition and the kinds of health problems found in the population.
There is no way I can summarize all their findings but I must say there are impressive [and well respected in the scientific community.]
So, I know that there are loads of books about nutrition. And every few years there are claims that this food or that will cause or reverse bone loss. But as I read this book
I recalled that when Dr. Fujita of Japan was looking for persons with Osteoporosis for his own studies, he had to go to nursing homes. In Japan, at that time, Osteoporosis was
only found in those who were 80 or 90 years of age. But as Japan adopted many American dietary habits that has changed.
So, no I am not making a list of recommendations regarding diet I can not summarize the research in a single newsletter or even on a web page. If you decide to read THE CHINA STUDY, remember that Osteoporosis is NOT its main topic - and you'll read a lot about cancer... about how diabetes can be avoided and even reversed...same with heart disease. But bone health is there.... and you may want to think about this study - and its evidence that nutrition could stop you from losing any more bone!
So there it is. If you have T.V. (I do not) you may have seen references to THE CHINA STUDY. It is not a new book and it probably made a splash when it was published. But if you are the sort of person who wants 'solid research' concerning
your health or that of your loved one, I really recommend taking the time to read this work.
Cambell's research is ....well it is SCIENTIFIC research.... but he embeds this 'dry stuff' in a narration that can carry your along. THE CHINA STUDY is not the fastest read but
I found it to be one of the most important books I have read in the last 7 years [and I usually read about 5- 7 books a week].
3. Last but not least - please give me another month before asking me to reply to queries and emails.
And if you get unsubscribed by mistake PLEASE JUST GO TO THE WEB SITE and sign up for the NEWSLETTER again. I can not do it for you - I do not access subscription info ---- a way to prevent being accused of spam.
Be happy, smile many times a day.Just read the headlines and you will know that there is such a need for laughter and joy in our world.
Thank you for reading this issue. I wish you all the best.
of the studies