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Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,751 ratings  ·  266 reviews
It seemed to be the eternal question: What should we eat to optimize our nutrition and our health? In 2005, T. Colin Campbell's "The China Study" answered this question definitively. Backed by the most extensive study of nutrition ever conducted and bolstered by dozens of additional studies and cases, "The China Study" gave us a simple but powerful answer: Eat a diet based ...more
ebook, 394 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Benbella Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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David
Aug 23, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Renee
"There are these two young fish swimming along and the happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says,'Morning boys. How's the water?' And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, 'What the hell is water?'"

This joke spells out one of the main themes of this fantastic book. Medical science is caught up in a reductionist paradigm, and people don't realize how stuck they are in it. They cannot imagine tha
...more
Laura
First, let me say i've recently adopted a whole-foods, plant-based diet and I eat very few highly processed foods. I bought Campbell's book fully prepared to subscribe to his nutritional wisdom. I'm disappointed to be writing a negative review for his book.

Campbell is an embittered, veteran scientist. His academic science career was clearly full of successes and no doubt, he is a highly competent scientist. This book, however, is so bad that it discredits his expertise. The first nine chapters
...more
Aubrey
Truly profound.

For years now, it all really started in 2007, I have learned more and more on the topics of nutrition and health. I have studied them without hesitation, be it documentaries or non-fiction books. My views have changed so much over those years. My eyes opened way more than I expected, or knew possible. Every day that passes I feel anew because of the knowledge gained. More importantly, I feel empowered.

Nine years ago I was the lead physical training leader for my squadron in the U
...more
Gloria
This is not an easy book to read. It is filled with scientific studies, acronoyms, facts and strong opinions. Campbell is the author of "The China Study" and his persuasive argument is that we need to be a "whole food, plant based" society. Much of the book outlines his research and documents how corporations negatively influence positive change. He is highly critical of factory farms which you might expect, but he is also highly critical of organizations such as the American Cancer Society beca ...more
Tina
If you picked up this book you KNOW a whole foods plant based life is the healthiest way to live.

This book will explain the WHY that information is not mainstream. Why our doctors, our government, our media and our big businesses DON'T want you to know the truth.

Thank you Dr. Campbell.
Shel
T. Colin Campbell's earlier book The China Study (2006) was a distressing, technical read with chapter after chapter filled with research on dread diseases including heart disease and cancer. But it had an uplifting note: a solution!

"Good food and good health is simple," Campbell said. A whole foods, plant-based diet staves off heart disease and cancer — diseases that are not inevitable, but can be prevented, even treated, by eating only healthy foods.

The China Study Cookbook (2013) the "o
...more
Frank Sloth Aaskov
First of all, you will need to read T. Colin Campbells previous book, The China Study, before reading this book, as it otherwise doesn't not make a lot of sense. In his newest book Campbell argues against reductionism in science, where the health of a piece of fruit is reduced to the amount of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre etc.. This indirectly implies that a fruit can be replaced by a pill with the same amount of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre etc., which Campbell shows is impossible, as ...more
Jason Cox
This book, by the author of the China study, starts off with an interesting premise: that a diet comprised of whole vegetables provides the most optimal health benefits to individuals while potentially reversing many ill effects of environmental contact and carcinogens that are consumed.

With all of the interest in anti-oxidant rich food and a general obsession with health topics in our modern culture, this is a timely discussion of a very interesting topic. And from an author who has decades of
...more
Elaine Mccracken
This is an important book that will be read by far too few people. It challenges just about everything we've been "taught" about what we need to do to maintain health and then tells us how we got into this predicament in the first place. Dr. Campbell is very brave to so thoroughly challenge the status quo.
Cindy
T. Colin Campbell follows up his groundbreaking book “The China Study” that examined the impact of nutrition on cancer with “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” which explains why there has been so much resistance by our health care system and government to examine nutrition’s impact on our health. Campbell gives an overview of his research and the reasons why his work continues to be challenged. He provides insight into the medical community, pharmaceutical industry, supplement industry ...more
Susan Clark-cook
An excellent book, dense at points with a lot of scientific information . This book will open your eyes to a whole new world of how we eat, and how it impacts our health, the earth in fact the entire eco system we live in. It points to a better way to eat, to improve our individual health and indeed our entire system. This also points to a way to improve our health care system, the problems that eating the way we do causes us and it is really points the way to a cheap, doable fix . We should all ...more
Jim
I've read several books in the last couple of years that were about nutrition and proper diet. Ideas about nutrition and diet seem to change regularly, and with so many competing theories about what we should eat, it's hard to know who's right, especially since there are radical differences between some approaches to nutrition. But I have to say that author T. Colin Campbell makes a compelling case for a whole-food, plant-based diet. He recommends obtaining 80% of our calories from carbohydrates ...more
Sarah
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would gladly do so. Campbell is a tenured scientist in the research field on cancer. He did not set out to disturb his fellow scientists, or to the monied interests that the science field is currently beholden. However, that is exactly what happened when his research led him to discover that animal protein (milk being the absolute worst) can turn on cancer genes. Campbell is a trained reductionist/mechanistic scientist who with a few others has had to break ...more
Lisa Tener
I started on a whole foods, plant based diet before reading this book, but I find that I need to continue reading such books to stay in the game and remind myself why I need to stick with this lifestyle which goes against the grain (no pun intended). I know, you'd think that increased energy, losing weight, feeling great and being told I look 10 years younger by my husband would be enough! However, I need continual reminders why not to go for the tempting and addictive foods all around me (even ...more
Seán Brady
Book sounds like a full length conspiracy theory about the way our nutrition and medical society is set up. He busts on well respected organizations and talks about his fight to remain in the nutrition industry while trying to expose the evils of the organizations. I don't know how accurate his story is. But, it's an interesting read and if fully true is damning for a lot of nutrition knowledge that is conventional wisdom. I think this is a book which would seem stronger if other authors wrote s ...more
Renee
Truly remarkable book that should be read by everyone! Dr. Campbell takes on conventional
"health"care in the US and shows us example after example of how we need to unlearn pretty
much everything we've been taught about nutrition. Remarkable read! I have become a true fan of Dr. Campbell and his wisdom and insight.
Julie
Dr. Campbell is a biochemist who has spent decades researching the link between nutrition and health. What he discovered was unexpected and shocking, especially to the Western World - animal based proteins are carcinogens and lead to the development of cancer. The results were published in his best seller, The China Study. With this knowledge, you would think that there would be efforts by government agencies or the food industry to change our diets, but although there is a LOT of money poured i ...more
Judith
Excellent explanation of why plant-based diets have yet to hit the mainstream big time. Knowing what I know from reading numerous books and seeing numerous films on the subject, I sometimes wonder why the media is so silent about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet (referred to as a WFPB diet by Dr. Campbell). According to Campbell, there are two primary reasons his work and others are ignored by the mainstream press:

1. The type of research that has been done to show the remarkable e
...more
Sharon Herbitter
Campbell is persuasive as usual. His credentials are impeccable and he backs up his assertions with science and first-person accounts. This book isn't what I'd expected, however. Instead of detailing the latest research regarding plant-based nutrition, Campbell spends most of the book railing against "reductionism" and its paradigmatic grip on science (and much more). Scientists are not interested in something as broad as "eat plants"; they want to study the lycopene in a tomato. This book is Ca ...more
Alan Heffernan
Full of contradictions. Campbell spends an eternity criticising reductionist research yet uses the findings of that type of research to justify all of his claims about wholistic nutrition. It's a logical fallacy from the very beginning.

It's laden with excessive hubris and the mockery of other scientists' methods is completely misguided.

I was expecting this book to be a natural successor to the China Study but Campbell instead continues on his personal crusade (if it can be even called that) agai
...more
Joy
This day in age when diets like Paleo are on the rise, there is no reason that when researching the pros of a plant based diet that an author would neglect to be more thorough in research. Naturally, if I ingest the meat of a cow pumped with hormones (who is force fed a diet that has led even the cow to heart disease), I am exposing myself to the same risk. I wanted to enjoy this book, but I felt it was lacking in precise research that leaves no room for question. I want to know the diets of the ...more
cory
probably the least scientific and most boring dystopian sci-fi i've read this year
Zach
I wanted to like this book. Much of what I've read related to nutrition suggests that a diet based on a complex mixture of whole foods and plants is the best way to eat, and I was excited to read research to supports that conclusion.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the tone of the writing. T. Colin Campbell PhD spends the introduction warning you about them. Those guys don't want you to know the truth. You know how they want to make you fat. You're not dumb enough to be fooled by them! It's sa
...more
Laurel
I got more than halfway through this book, but I am not going to finish it. It is exceedingly redundant.

The thing about nutritional science is that there are just so many conflicting views. I don't know what to believe anymore. This book, a follow up to The China Study , maintains that a diet based in whole foods, plants, nuts and grains (while avoiding meat and dairy) is optimal for health. According to the author, the government, scientists, farmers and pharmaceutical companies don't want you
...more
L
I think this book was maybe a little too technical for me. I enjoyed the overall message and the points it made were dead-on: clearly, nutrition science has become too reductionist, vitamins and supplements cannot compensate for eating "real" foods, and large medical organizations focus too much on pills and synthetic treatment rather than nutrition as a preventative and/or treatment.

My problem was that the science behind it (never let it be said that Campbell doesn't back up his words with proo
...more
Angela2932
Although I liked much of Campbell's book, particularly his elucidation of how the profit motive is strongly intertwined with government food policies, the health care system, and nutritional research, I stumbled on some of his points and conclusions.

In his China Study, Campbell studied AF as an initiator of cancer and he implicated the milk protein casein as a trigger for liver cancer. His results were consistent with earlier researchers and showed that a dose-response curve existed for AF and c
...more
Meghan
This was such a tedious read. Chapter after chapter, I waited for a detailed explanation of his research and findings on the link between diets high in animal protein and cancer. I am sure I would have been persuaded by the findings and by whatever arguments he has about the benefits of a plant-based diet. But they weren't there! It's just one long rant against the medical establishment and a very detailed list of reporters who interviewed him without publishing his thoughts. I suspect those rep ...more
Dana
This is just quite a complex book. I really cannot write a review that will do it justice. The author redefines holisism as wholism - explaining how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the wholist paradigm encompases reductionism, which is today's tendancy to break things down to the smallest parts and examine each individually.
This book is as much about philosophy as it is about diet.
As far as diet goes, the author recommends eating "whole, plant-based foods, with little or no a
...more
Catherine
Important book that will certainly change the way I eat- and just on that alone, a book that impacts my life in a tangible way is rare and I will be talking about it with friends. However even though I was "on his side" there were many times when his strong opinions started to turn me off a little in presentation. I know this is the result of a lifetime of having to defend himself and feeling so passionately about the subject, but I fear not enough people will be swayed to listen with such forci ...more
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Fascinating reading about the benefits of a whole food, plant based diet -- you can significantly reduce your risk of almost every disease -- cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc -- and why just taking a supplement isn't the same thing as eating healthy, real food. A bit of a soap box topic for me -- but one I feel passionate about sharing because of the impact that it can make on people's health. Educating yourself about the impact of nutrition on your long term health and wellness is a ...more
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LDS Ladies Book Club: May Moderator Pick (Whole) 3 27 May 28, 2014 03:46PM  
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Biochemist who specializes in the effects of nutrition on long-term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and the author of over 300 research papers. He was one of the lead scientists in the 1980s of the China-Oxford Cornell study on diet and disease (known as the China Project), set up in 1983 by Cornell University, the Univer ...more
More about T. Colin Campbell...
The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health The Low-Carb Fraud Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes

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“It’s never too late to start eating well. A good diet can reverse many of those conditions as well. In short: change the way you eat and you can transform your health for the better.” 2 likes
“Let’s start with the most prominent ecological crisis of our time: global warming. When you look seriously at the numbers, you find that switching from a meat-based to a plant-based diet would do more to curb and reverse global warming than any other initiative.” 1 likes
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