Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition – T. Colin Campbell

Here are my comments on the book:

What sort of diet should you adopt? T. Colin Campbell, PhD, author of more than 300 professional research papers and the well known book The China Study, states that through his extensive research adopting a whole food plant based diet (WFPB) is the best form out there which consists of whole, plant-based foods, with little or no added oil, salt, or refined carbohydrates like sugar or white flour. This essentially means sticking to foods that are grown naturally and cutting out the processed stuff. Not sure if it’s whole? Just ask yourself if the food you’re about to ingest can be found in nature. Here are some of the points to the book:


1) In America, there’s a tendency to rely on medication to remedy any sort of ailments, sicknesses, or diseases. The problem with this is that a lot of what goes into that medication is chemically processed that may not be healthy for your body from an evolutionary standpoint; your body didn’t evolve to ingest chemicals without long term side effects. Rather than relying on medication, which is usually dispensed to treat symptoms, change your diet to treat the root causes of these health problems as your diet plays a huge impact on your health condition. It’s absurd to believe that medication alone can undo the negative effects of processed foods. For many years, the cost of medically prescribed drugs has been increasing at a rate faster than inflation. Think we’re getting our money’s worth? Think again. Side effects of those very same prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. That’s right! Prescription drugs kill more people than traffic accidents. According to Dr. Barbara Starfield, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000, ‘adverse effects of medications’ (from drugs that were correctly prescribed and taken) kill 106,000 people per year. And that doesn’t include accidental overdoses. Add to that the 7,000 annual deaths from medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 deaths from errors in hospitals not related to medications (like botched surgeries and incorrectly programmed and monitored machines), 80,000 deaths from hospital-caused infections, and 2,000 deaths per year from unnecessary surgery, and the tire-screeching ambulance ride starts to look like the safest part of the whole hospital experience.


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2) If you’re like most people, you were probably taught that certain nutrients, vitamins or minerals are good for a specific function of your body. As true as this may be, the problem with this is that your body doesn’t digest exact portions as is labeled on the nutritional facts. As an example, taking a pill that has 1000mg of vitamin C doesn’t exactly translate into your body absorbing the full 1000mg. This is why a wholistic approach to diet is necessary; in order to absorb the full 1000mg of vitamin C, your body may also need something else to do so. [O]ne of the major problems with modern medicine is its reliance on isolated, unnatural chemical pharmaceuticals as the primary tool in the war against disease. But the medical profession isn’t the only player in the health-care system that has embraced this element of reductionism. The natural health community has also fallen prey to the ideology that chemicals ripped from their natural context are as good as or  better than whole foods. Instead of synthesising the presumed ‘active ingredients’ from medicinal herbs, as done for prescription drugs, supplement manufacturers seek to extract and bottle the active ingredients from foods known or believed to promote good health and healing. And just like prescription drugs, the active agents function imperfectly, incompletely, and unpredictably when divorced from the whole plant food from which they’re derived or synthesized. The reductionist sleight of hand goes something like this Oranges are good fro us. Oranges are full of vitamin C. Therefore, vitamin C is good for us- even when extracted from the orange, or synthesised in a lab and stuck in a pill, or ‘fortified’ into a breakfast cookie. But there’s no evidence that this is the case. As we’ll see, not only do most supplements not improve our health, some that have been studied most intensely actually appear to harm us.


3) Reducing meat consumption and switching over to a plant-based diet is not only healthier but it also helps the world and the environment. The amount of fossil fuels and resources required to produce meat is significantly greater than that of farming plants and vegetables. If you’re concerned about the environment and the planet, the 3Rs are all great ways to contribute, but if you’re looking to help out even more reduce the amount of your meat consumption. In a world where human hunger is endemic, this inefficient use of resources is a tragedy. Among Dr. Pimentel’s findings: Animal protein production requires eight times as much fossil fuel as plant protein. The livestock population of the United States consumes five times as much grain (which is not even their natural diet) as the country’s human population. Every kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water to produce. By comparison, a kilogram of wheat requires just 900 liters, and a kilogram of potatoes just 500 liters. A United Nations-sponsored workshop of about 200 experts concluded that 80 percent of deforestation in the tropics is attributable to the creation of new farmland, the majority of which is used for livestock grazing and feed. So we’ve got a host of interconnected problems that all stem from our addiction to an animal protein-based diet. Simply put, our industrial system of animal production is unsustainable. We’re using up our natural resources, such as fresh water and healthy soil, faster than we can replenish them. And the side effects of our animal-protein driven food economy include environmental toxins and the poisoning of the very are we all depend on for life.


4) If you think that the pharmaceutical companies are looking out for your best interests by  researching and developing new drugs and medicine, think again. As was stated before in the first point, drugs usually aren’t cures for anything, they’re just treatments of symptoms to a health problem. These pharmaceutical companies are out there just trying to sell you something that doesn’t really cure anything when the real solution lays in your diet. Every company is trying to turn a profit, right? If Big Pharma makes money by selling drugs that help people live longer and with less pain, why shouldn’t they? We should celebrate their profitability, because this money returns to the system to fund the research and development (R&D) that creates new drugs and refines and improves old ones. That’s just Business 101, simple enough even for a professor of nutritional biochemistry to understand. Unfortunately, Big Pharma is exempt from Business 101, because of the ingenious and insidious way they get their customers (us) to generously (and unwittingly) pay most of their research bill well before we pay for our prescriptions. Do you pay taxes? If so, you’re contributing to the research budget of the government’s lead health research agency, the N1H, whose research priorities are heavily slanted to benefit Big Pharma. Have you ever made a donation to a private research funding agency, such as the American Heart Association, the ACS, or the American Diabetes Association? If so, you’re directly funding research that frequently creates ineffective and often harmful drugs that are sold to the American people at a huge profit. And those profits go not to us, the real investors, but to the pharmaceutical companies that patent, manufacture, and market these products. We are paying twice for stuff that often does not work at best and at worst is killing us.”


By Ryan Timothy Lee


My rating:
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Check out the book here:
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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