The China Study has had a number of brilliant critiques, which really provide an answer to this question, far better than I ever could. So I’ve compiled this in order to point people at these critiques whenever they ask me “What about the China Study?”
You may be aware that various people; researchers, statisticians, and other interested intellects, have taken the data that Colin T Campbell used as the basis for his book “The China Study”, and put it through their own statistical analyses. In many cases have come to different conclusions. The results question the very conclusion – that we should all eat a plant based, animal product free diet.
You can find the data from the China Study here: http://www.ctsu.ox.ac.uk/~china/monograph/chdata.htm
Here is a collation of the posts that (as far as I can see) have been written by those that have looked carefully at the raw data, and what their statistical analyses of it tells us:
Denise Minger from her blog Raw Foods SOS, wowed everyone with her detailed and in depth analysis of the data from the China Study. From her blog:
For those of you who’ve arrived here on a quest for China Study information, welcome! I realize that some visitors may be solely interested in China Study posts and not want to wade through other entries in search of them—so make it easier to find what you’re looking for, here are the links to all the posts I have on Raw Food SOS pertaining to T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study.”
The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? (My original critique of “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell.)
Forks Over Knives: Is the Science Legit? (A critique of the science behind “Forks Over Knives,” a documentary heavily featuring Campbell and his work.)
The China Study: A Formal Analysis and Response (A referenced, uber-long, and cleaned-up collection of all my criticisms pertaining to “The China Study”—more academic and less colloquial, for anyone who prefers the former.)
The China Study: My Response to Campbell (My response to Campbell’s first reply to my critique.)
One Year Later: The China Study, Revisited and Re-Bashed (A collection of peer-reviewed studies based on the China Study data that contradict Campbell’s interpretations and claims.)
Tuoli: China’s Mysterious Milk Drinkers (Information on the health of a Chinese county that eats nearly two pounds of dairy, ample fat, and 134 grams of animal protein per day.)
A Closer Look at the China Study: Meat and Disease (Associations the “meat” variable has with various diseases in China.)
A Closer Look at the China Study: Fish and Disease (Associations the “fish” variable has with various diseases in China.)
A Closer Look at the China Study: Eggs and Disease (Associations the “eggs” variable has with various diseases in China.)
A Closer Look at the China Study: Dairy and Disease (Associations the “dairy” variable has with various diseases in China.)
Denise has recently done a critical analysis of the data / studies used to justify the points of view in Forks Over Knives “Forks Over Knives”: Is the Science Legit? (A Review and Critique)
And from Colin T Campbell himself, A response to Denise’s Critique: A Challenge and Response to The China Study and his final response: http://www.tcolincampbell.org/fileadmin/Presentation/finalmingercritique.pdf
And here is Denise in the flesh delivering her talk to the Ancestral Health Symposium: “How to Win an Argument with a Vegetarian” ABSTRACT: Vegetarianism is frequently cited as being a healthier diet than omnivorism. This presentation examines the evidence behind vegetarian and vegan health claims, including the Adventist Health Studies, heart disease studies, and the success of plant-based diets ala Esselstyn and Ornish with treating chronic disease.
Ned Kock a university professor. He is interested in the application of science, statistics, and technology to the understanding of human health and behavior. He blogs about evolution, health, statistics, and technology. Ned has also taken an extensive look at the China Study data and has many posts in The Health Correlator:
From an Amazon discussion: Analyzing the China Study Dataset
This is well worth a look – from the post:
I was surprised to find the actual datasets published on the Web. ( http://www.ctsu.ox.ac.uk/~china/monograph/chdata.htm). The data is in an Excel friendly format so many of us can manipulate the data and see for ourselves what we think it says to us.
My day-job is analyzing hard drive failure statistics that result from usage and stress testing; I get paid to make the problems being studied “go away”. I have also recently had a triple bypass, so here I have applied my skills to something much more personal. I want to know what I should eat to improve my health.
I took a close look at the 1989 dataset because I had read about China’s governmental response to the finding that unenriched bleached wheat flour was causing heart disease (http://www.gainhealth.org/china-flour-fortification-in-the-west-region). As I was aware of the recent addition of folic acid to bread in the US and Canada, I was motivated to check this out for myself. I recommend doing this analysis for yourself (or find somebody who is good at math whom you trust to do it for you).
I ran multiple variable regression analysis against items of interest to me like “All vascular disease” and Stroke; comparing the ability of blood plasma and the diet items to explain heart disease. The following lists are what I found the data to say.
These are lists of the ratio of improvement (-) or harm (+) between the diet low and high values, the confidence of the finding, followed by descriptors of the diet item. For instance, the people who ate the most animal protein had 68.9% less heart disease (at 95% confidence) than those people who ate the least animal protein. The people who ate the most plant protein had 64.9% more heart disease (at 89% confidence) than those people who ate the least plant protein.
My findings are collected into three groupings – Diet Factors, Blood Plasma and Amino-Acids
M059 ALLVASCc mortality ALL VASCULAR DISEASE AGE 35-69 (stand. rate/1,000) (IC : Continue reading
Other interesting blog posts critiquing the China Study and Forks over Knives:
Jimmy Moore: Vegan Propaganda Movie ‘Forks Over Knives’ Set To Hit Theaters On May 6, links to videos of Colin T Campbell, and podcast with Denise Minger