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Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,143 ratings  ·  577 reviews
What happens when you eat an apple? The answer is vastly more complex than you imagine.

Every apple contains thousands of antioxidants whose names, beyond a few like vitamin C, are unfamiliar to us, and each of these powerful chemicals has the potential to play an important role in supporting our health. They impact thousands upon thousands of metabolic reactions inside the
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by BenBella Books
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Geegee Chandler Not good, unless you are looking for something academic and then it might disappoint you. Not easy reading, as it is long, boring and repetitive. Save…moreNot good, unless you are looking for something academic and then it might disappoint you. Not easy reading, as it is long, boring and repetitive. Save your money, and time.(less)
Lesley Looper I'm not very far in yet, but so far, I think Dr. Campbell is on the defensive about his work, which I find off-putting. I hope it gets better.

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Laura Mansfield
Jul 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jason Cox
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: political, nonfiction
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
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vegan
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)
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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 y
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's very hard to know that everything you knew about a certain thing and believed to be true turns out to be wrong.

When comes to nutrition, most people if asked what a healthy diet is they would probably mention what's on the food pyramid that was published in 1974. It has been 40+ years, you would have assumed by now that the education system would have changed that but still people believe in this system!

To be honest I was naive like most people, didn't know a thing or two about diet and jus
Elaine Mccracken
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Frank Aaskov
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sean Brady
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Its very interesting to read this, especially when everyone around me are going on keto or high protein diet. The author might be right - current diets can be all wrong - , never the less, there is the diabetics/obesity dilemma. If one is to stay below 20% for protein and fat, than , 60% or more should be coming from carbs, which can be pro-diabetic. Its hard to feel full on just green veggies.. Puzzling.
Susan Bleyle
This book made me think a lot about the dangers of reductionist science when trying to understand a complex topic like nutrition. I recommend it highly.
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan Clark-cook
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Lisa Tener
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
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
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, health
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.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
The nutritional advice is sensible (it repeats the China Study). The discussion of reductionism and science is extremely simplistic and misleading.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I almost didn't read this because the logic of eating mostly plant-based and unprocessed foods seemed like basic common sense. Then I ended up taking eight pages of notes. I will do my best to create a succinct summary of advice I found the most useful. After note-taking, I realized many of the points I appreciated most (such as the example of Vitamin C found in the apple) were contained in the Goodreads description (so read that too!)

The quick rundown by Campbell says "The ideal human diet lo
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sharon Herbitter
Jun 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Angela Cheney
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
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health-and-diet
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
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
probably the least scientific and most boring dystopian sci-fi i've read this year
Natalie Yuhas
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm sad to give this book such a bad review because Campbell's first book, The China Study, is so influential and amazing. I have followed a mostly plant based diet for years, but found this book extremely frustrating and hard to get through. More than anything, it feels like hundreds of pages of a Taylor Swift-esque defensive and scorned diatribe against the medical community's reductionist approach to health. While I agree with what he is saying about the business of healthcare and how there i ...more
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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

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