How Science Misleads
By Dr. T. Colin Campbell
In a recent
article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
http://bit.ly/ ayANT7, Dr. Walter Willett
of Harvard writes:
'In summary, the findings from the EPIC cohort add
further evidence that a broad effort to increase consumption of fruits and
vegetables will not have a major effect on cancer incidence. Such efforts
are still worthwhile because they will reduce risks of cardiovascular
disease, and a small benefit for cancer remains possible. Research should
focus more sharply on specific fruits and vegetables and their constituents
and on earlier periods of life.'
I know Dr. Willett's work well and
have known him personally for almost 30 years. But his views are almost
entirely based on a reductionist research philosophy. This 'approach' is a
serious limitation because in studies that he quotes, however large they may
be, there are virtually no subjects who consume a whole food, plant-based
diet. Thus, these studies are not able to detect the health effects that we
talk about! Instead, he focuses his research on people who consume a diet
relatively high in fat (anything in excess of 20-25% of calories is high by
my standards) and high in protein (most of which is animal-based) . Within
these studies, there are some slight differences because some may consume
more red meat than others, or may consume lower fat dairy products, but
these differences are not that meaningful when compared with the huge
differences that exist for whole food, plant based diets. This is where the
benefits are seen.
His rationale? As I said in my book, he has told
me both privately and publicly that 'I may be right, but no one wants to go
there.' I disagree with this sentiment. If we are going to be scientists,
then let's be scientists by following the evidence where it takes us, not by
seeking to find conclusions that please people with their present habits. I
grew up on a dairy farm and learned to love the farm life and the foods that
came with it, but I soon learned that in health research people's lives are
at stake, and we must set aside our prejudices and other concerns to seek
the truth, no matter where it leads.
Dr. Willett also advocates
focusing 'more sharply on specific fruits and vegetables and their
constituents' as a means of advancing our knowledge. Elsewhere, he has said
(see p. 286 in 'The China Study') that 'specific components of the diet can
be modified, and individuals and the food industry are actively doing so.'
He is referring to industries here such as the vitamin supplement industry,
which attempts to isolate a single chemical from the thousands present in a
food and then claim a particular benefit from consumption of this single
chemical or to industries that remove or add isolated nutrients to their
product, hoping for a marketing advantage. This is preposterous from a
science standpoint, but also preposterous from a moral standpoint ' medical
research today is too often driven by money alone, and not by public health
If we are to change health care, we must set aside personal
interests, politics and money and seek nothing else than the promotion of
health for all.
Are We Crazy? Perhaps, but Hopefully Not
By Nelson Campbell
As we mentioned in the 'Big Idea' section of the website, we have developed
an exciting vision for a replicable wellness program. Elements of this
include foods and other products, education, health services, and social
networking. Our goal is to bring this concept to communities
everywhere, and we hope to leverage our own web community to help in this
This idea requires some money, however, money that we don't
have. So for the near future we are focused on making money through
the sale of packaged food and wellness products. We will do this
through a traditionally organized company and expect to launch a website for
this company soon.
But by the end of the year or perhaps early next
year, we hope to have made enough progress to establish a new corporate
entity to develop our larger wellness model. Importantly, we will do
this in a way that has never been done in starting a company. Namely,
we will organize this company as a 'not-just-for- profit' company, using a
trust mechanism to recycle money back into the cause.
people think I'm crazy when I tell them we will put the stock of this
company into a trust for the benefit of a social mission we define, rather
than using this for our own personal enrichment. I don't believe I'm
crazy. I have been an entrepreneur for close to 20 years and through
trial and error have learned a thing or two about business. No, I am
not crazy ' just committed to obtaining freedom and happiness in my life.
I know this seems contradictory, but before elaborating let me
clarify something: I don't think there is anything wrong with making money
and achieving comfort in one's life. Mark Twain once said, 'Honest
poverty is a gem that even a king might be proud to call his own, but I wish
to sell out.' He makes a good point. Indeed, the idea of
contributing something productive to society and getting fairly compensated
for that contribution is more than OK ' it is virtuous.
is not money; the problem is the value we place on money, power and
reputation above the opportunities in life that can enrich our souls.
Too many of us pursue these false idols to the detriment of other people,
stealing their right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. And we
do this to our own detriment. For reasons that can't be explained in
this short space, I believe happiness comes through a freedom from
attachments to money, power and reputation.
Contrary to what you may
have heard, the world is overflowing with beauty and our lives abound with
opportunity for fulfillment. Hopefully we can take this attitude into
all we do and we hope you can stay with us for the ride.