The China Study 
By T. Colin Campbell, PhD Compiled By  

Posted February 13, 2010:  updated October 17, 2021.   Disclaimer The information presented is intended to inform and not prescribe or treat health conditions. 

The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Cancer, heart disease and Long-term Health.

What you are about to read may be a real shocker!  A shocker because the new information defies the traditional information about nutrition.  Yes, much of the Western medicine belief system is now being challenged! The Information herein focuses on how a high protein diet can trigger cancer.

So put on yourself in neutral gear, have an open mind, be receptive and read on.

But before you do, you should know that this information is based on a 27-year China Project research that was done by Cornel University Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry and one of the directors of this study, Dr. T. Collin Campbell, PhD..  He and his son, Thomas M. Campbell, published their findings in a book: The China Study, in 2005.


Funding The US National Cancer Institute (of NIH), along with the American Institute for Cancer Research (Washington, DC), provided the initial funds. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund in England also provided significant support for the Oxford University activity. Since 1993, the American Institute for Cancer Research has provided the primary funds.

However, the majority of the support for this study came from the Chinese people and their government.

By the way, the information about the China Study is not without controversy!  [ Walter Sorochan ] 

The science is clear. The results are unmistakable.

Changing your high meat diet  [ beef, pork, poultry and milk ] can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

People who ate the highest amount of animal meat were most susceptible to cancer!


The authors recommend that people eat a whole food, plant-based diet and avoid consuming beef, pork, poultry and milk as a means to minimize and/or reverse the development of chronic disease. The authors also recommend that people take in adequate amounts of sunshine in order to maintain sufficient levels of Vitamin D and consider taking dietary supplements of vitamin B12. The authors criticize "low carb" diets (such as the Atkins diet), which include restrictions on the percentage of calories derived from complex carbohydrates.

NOTE:  The authors acknowledge that protein is essential to growth and body maintenance; but an excess of protein can be carcinogenic! Wikipedia: The_China_Study


There is a direct link between eating animal proteins [meats ] and cancer. 

fruits vegiproteins To lower your risk of cancer, switch to eating a vegetarian diet that also has a low protein intake.  A vegetarian diet creates an alkali situation in the body which discourages cancer from growing.  A vegetarian diet, that includes plant seeds like beans and sunflower seeds, can supply adequate safe protein. 

Current private, commercial and government health organizations fail to mention this! 

Here is a summary of this new revealing research about nutrition, health and longevity:

The authors state that “several studies have now shown, in both experimental animals and in humans, that consuming animal-based protein increases blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol also raise blood cholesterol, although these nutrients are not as effective at doing this as is animal protein. In contrast, plant-based foods contain no cholesterol and, in various other ways, help to decrease the amount of cholesterol made by the body.”

Animal-based food consumption in China was extremely low by [ North ] American standards. In rural China, "animal protein intake (for the same individual) averages only 7.1 grams per day whereas Americans average 70 grams per day." [ Sorochan's comment: and as high as 150 grams per day; Incidentally, you can get all the required 30 grams of "complete" protein per day from plants foods ]

The findings from the China Study indicate that the lower the percentage of animal-based foods that are consumed, the greater the health benefits—even when that percentage declines from 10% to 0% of calories.

Mechanisms of action

Plants protect the body from disease because many of them contain both a large concentration of and a large variety of antioxidants, which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.  The authors also state that Western diseases are correlated with [ childhood and adolescent ]  growth, which is associated with the increased risk of initiation, promotion and progression of disease, and that growth is correlated with a diet high in animal protein.

Consumption of animal protein increases the acidity of blood and tissues and that to neutralize this acid condition or acidosis, calcium, a very effective base, is leached [ pulled ] from the bones. Higher concentrations of calcium in the blood inhibit the process by which the body activates Vitamin D in the kidneys calcitriol, a form that helps regulate the immune system.

Cancer, heredity and lifestyle:

When people move from one are to another, they adopt a new lifestyle and diet.  Genes do not move or change from area to area; instead it is the diet and lifestyle that changes.

Only 2 to 3 % of cancer is attributable to genes.  Vast majority of change is due to diet and lifestyle.

Cancer genes need "fuel" to be turned on.  This fuel is the animal protein.  When we ingest more protein than the body normally needs then this triggers the cancer genes to become activated. 

New research suggests that we can, or will be able to in the very few years, regulate or modify our bad genes.

Cancer linked to diet

[ The following is a partial list of diseases linked to diet, which are discussed in more detail in the book. ]

The authors state that:
Breast cancer

Breast cancer is linked to the long-term exposure to higher concentrations of female hormones, which in turn is associated with early menarche - age at first menstruation, late menopause and a high concentration of blood cholesterol, and that all of these risk factors are linked to growth and a diet high in animal protein.  The authors point out that the average Chinese woman is exposed to about 35% to 40% of the lifetime estrogen exposure of the average British or North American woman, and that the rate of breast cancer among Chinese women is about one-fifth of the rate among western women. 

Colorectal cancer

Lower rates of colorectal cancer are associated with the consumption of plants high in fiber such as beans, leafy vegetables and whole grains.

Professor T. Colin Campbell discusses, in the video below, his decades of NIH-funded research which show that meat and dairy promote cancer growth and a plant-based (vegan) diet can prevent and even reverse cancer.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent among people who live at higher geographic latitudes, and also among people who consume a diet high in animal protein, particularly cow's milk.  The authors state that Vitamin D is plausibly connected to both of these correlations.

Vitamin D is essential for the proper regulation of the immune system.  People who live at higher geographic latitudes [ e.g. US-Canada border ] usually lack adequate exposure to ultraviolet sunlight; thus resulting in their having a deficiency of Vitamin D.  The consumption of animal protein, especially cow's milk, results in higher concentrations of calcium in the blood, which inhibits the process by which the body activates Vitamin D in the kidneys to a form that helps repress the development of autoimmune diseases.

Heart disease

The authors state that cholesterol, saturated fats and animal protein are three nutrients that characterize animal-based foods, and they ask, "...isn't it perfectly reasonable to wonder whether animal-based food, and not just these three isolated nutrients, causes heart disease?" The authors state that studies show that eating plant protein has a greater power to lower cholesterol levels than reducing fat or cholesterol intake.

They add that "Western" diseases were relatively rare in China by western standards adding for example that "at the time of our study, the death rate from coronary heart disease was seventeen times higher among American men than rural Chinese men.

Table 1  below illustrates that early cancer can be turned off or on by diet.

cancer-diet study

Excess protein [20 %] diet activated cancer tumors in rats!  Cancer genes were turned on at 3 and 9 weeks when the diet was over 5% animal protein. Conversely, cancer regressed [ genes turned off at 5 and 12 weeks ] when protein diet was reduced to 5 %.  Nutrition is the mechanism that activates cancer genes.

Table 2 [ below ] illustrates dosage of protein that triggered cancer in experimental animals. 


Table 2 interpretation:  More protein [ 20 % ] caused huge cancer tumors in an animals.  Normal 20% protein in diet turned on cancer tumor growth.  Protein is needed for body activity but when you eat above the required amount of approximately 10 %, then you increase the risk of cancer growth!  Animals with 5% protein were all thriving and healthy compared to those on a 20% on protein diet and all died.

In the bottom of the above table, Campbell shows that even when experimental animals had a big cancer tumor, the cancer could be turned off and reversed.

Incidentally 20% soy protein [ plant protein ] did not have this affect of triggering cancer growth. Neither did wheat gluten!

Casein, a protein in milk, is a carcinogen far more dangerous than many chemicals!

Body Science:   Our bodies are constantly rebuilding themselves. What you eat today is used in building your body of tomorrow.  This includes a high meat diet that may create acidosis; a long-term build up of acid wastes in body fluids that can trigger cancer.


Controversy is created by organizations and persons having vested interests in the food industry. Vested interest taints the design of research and how information is worded and made available to the general public.  Numerous examples are cited by the authors:

Discrediting unique research design creates controversy:  Do scientists study how a nutrient works in the body by itself or in concert with other nutrients?

The authors point out that many current studies on nutrition are flawed because of their research design.  Most of today's research on nutrients is designed as an isolated or separate nutrient study. For example, vitamin C is studied as a single isolated nutrient and not how it behaves in presence with other nutrients in providing benefits to the body. Nutrients work collectively together and not in isolation.

The information in the book by Cooper, "The French paradox," points out the flaws in using the typical research design as a validation on nutrition information:

"when you realize how unreliable drug trials are, you can understand why we chose to investigate the French Paradox to gain a more accurate insight into the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. Epidemiology studies (i.e. studies of large populations) provide a much more reliable framework for deriving conclusions. As the French enjoy greater longevity and less heart attacks, they represent an excellent group to use as a benchmark for understanding why cholesterol, saturated fats and heart disease, are not linked."

Information suppressed and distorted: Additional controversy has been created by suppression of information by vested interest groups.

"Americans are confused, and I will tell you why. The answer, discussed in Part IV, has to do with how health information is generated and communicated and who controls such activities.  Because I have been behind the scenes generating health information for so long, I have seen what really goes on—and I’m ready to tell the world what is wrong with the system. The distinctions between government, industry, science and medicine have become blurred. The distinctions between making a profit and promoting health have become blurred. The problems with the system do not come in the form of Hollywood-style corruption. The problems are much more subtle, and yet much more dangerous. The result is massive amounts of misinformation, for which average American consumers pay twice."

"Most, but not all, of the confusion about nutrition is created in legal, fully disclosed ways and is disseminated by unsuspecting, well-intentioned people, whether they are researchers, politicians or journalists."

Government agencies block information:  The authors also state that some people in very influential government and university positions have acted "to stifle open and honest scientific debate."  The authors further state that "there are powerful, influential, and enormously wealthy industries that stand to lose a vast amount of money if North Americans start shifting to a plant-based diet."

Campbell observes that "nutrition is what is taking place behind the scenes." The little guys on main street haven't got a chance in today's political-economic world! Reason:  Information in this article is suppressed by big money in agriculture and food companies and indirectly by FDA.  Policy is set by corporations, not common sense scientists.  Its all about who controls information and makes policy!  Control comes from who has the money to keep information coming.  Reforming health care will make little difference  in the big picture of personal health if we do not focus on correcting the diets of the people. The medical problems will continue and the medical bills will continue to be sky high.

Other supporting studies:  There are numerous studies supporting Campbell's observations about vested interest groups controlling information about health and nutrition:  Pushing drugs by distorting data   Death by medicine   Pharma profits  US health care crisis


The China Study strongly points to the need for North Americans to change their diets and dramatically reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Correct an overly-acid body: by cleaning up your diet and lifestyle.  Here is an example of what you can do to get an alkaline body:

  1. Consume 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acid-forming foods [ based on volume ]
  2. Reduce hi protein meats [ beef, pork, poultry, cheese ] 
  3. Drink 6-8 glasses of pure water every day
  4. Drink minimum milk and dairy products 
  5. Eat fresh green vegetables  ( preferably organic )
  6. Eat lots of fresh fruits
  7. Eat seed vegetables [ beans, peas for protein ]
  8. Eat raw nuts, including sunflower seeds and ground flax seeds
  9. Stop drinking sodas
10. Get 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine exposure for vitamin D
11. Eat smaller portions of foods 
12. Cook and eat more home meals
13. Eliminate/minimize fast foods in diet
14. Get fresh air every day
15. Exercise minimum 30 minutes at least four times a week
16. Take nutritional supplements
17. Explore amino acid [ protein ] supplements like Brewer's yeast 
18. Improve your 'Mental State'
19. Practice proper deep breathing for alkalinosis 
20. Monitor/Test your body periodically for acidosis - alkalinity

More information on the above 20 suggestions  coming!

An old dog and new tricks:  And yes, you have adopted eating habits that are hard to break!  Eating is like "apple pie to our culture!" ... it is sacred! Habits are hard to break.  ....  But you do have a choice to make:  live a healthy and long life or become a disabled and chronically sick North American! 
 [ This was a summary from Wikopedia Reference:  Wikipedia: The_China_Study ] 

Quick background comments about Campbell’s book:


Chris Masterjohn: Article by Masrerjohn: Critique of China Study is no longer active.

Debunking "The China Study"

Diets and rebuttal to vegetarian link

Endorsements: A vegetarian endorsement

Dean Ornish MD  Veggie diet reverses heart disease


Arnold, Wilfred Niels (October 2005). "The China Study". Leonardo (MIT Press) 38 (5): 436.

Campbell, T. Colin (2006), The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, Benbella Books, ISBN 1-932100-38-5

The official website promoting the book "The China Study" China-Cornell-Oxford Project: The China Study

Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health" Tom Billings - "The Cornell China Project: Authoritative Proof, or Misinterpretation by Dietary Advocates?" - "Professor T. Colin Campbell PhD: Animal protein (meat and dairy) causes cancer" [show] Links to related articles on Vegetarianism .

Ornish Dean et la, " Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal of Coronary Heart Disease,"  JAMA,1998;280:2001-2007.  Report summary