- Is Vegetarianism Healthy
- The China Study
Q. It is my understanding that vegetarianism is healthier, please comment.
A. I know of no conclusive study showing superior health benefits of a vegetarian diet. On the contrary, vegetarians, especially vegans, develop numerous health problems. These links may be helpful:
- Vegetarianism: What the Science Tells Us
- Thumbs Down Book Review: The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health
- The Oiling of America
The China Study
Q. Chris Masterjohn’s critique of the China Study and T. Colin Campbell fails to address a key question: why would Dr. Campbell who was dedicated to the animal food industry become vegan? Additionally, why would Howard Lyman a lifetime cattleman become a vegan activist?Appeals to authority are not arguments. Either the evidence does or does not support veganism. I made several very clear, distinct and approachable criticisms. If they are not valid, Dr. Campbell or anyone else can refute them. Lastly, I’d like to point out that the vegan way of life, a way that respects life, is coming and growing all the time. The meat and dairy industries can make no such claim and are fighting a losing debate. The world has always been a majority of vegetarians and in the very near future the industrialized countries will be, too. In the U.S. we’re only one major media story about Mad Cow Disease away.
A. Chris Masterjohn replies:
First, I’d like to draw your attention to Dr. Campbell’s response to my review:
And to my response to Dr. Campbell:
I think I did address this: Campbell became convinced through his laboratory experiments, his work on the China Study, and the other evidence he presents in the book that animal products are the cause of ill health and that a vegan diet constituted the optimal diet for humans. As I pointed out in the review, his lab evidence indicted isolated casein, not “animal-based nutrients,” as a problem. The data in the China Study do not lend any convincing support to his conclusion, and he presents the work of others with high selectivity and bias. I am not sure what you think I am leaving out.
I do respect life and quality of life is part of the reason I support open pasture farming in addition to nutrition. As far as I know, vegetarianism has been more or less absent for most of human history, so I’m not quite sure what you mean. Even in rural China, Dr. Campbell did not study any vegans.
Q. Where did you get the information for your review of the China Study?
A. The original data including the questionnaire is contained in the following monograph:
Junshi, Chen, T. Colin Campbell, Li Junyao, and Richard Peto, Diet, Life-style and Mortality in China: A Study of the Characteristics of 65 Chinese Counties, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
I borrowed a copy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. You should be able to find this either at a university library or through interlibrary loan.