What About The China Study? | The Paleo Diet®
noun_Search_345985 Created with Sketch.

Try The Paleo Diet®!

Learn more. Get recipes & meal plans. See the science.

What About The China Study?

By The Paleo Diet Team
April 11, 2013
What About The China Study? image

Dr. Cordain,

I am an undergraduate student that's dabbled with both the Paleo Diet and vegetarianism for several months now. I hope you can answer a question that's troubled me greatly.

I'm having trouble coming to terms with what I see as contradictory data on diet. I read the Paleo Diet almost a year ago as it came recommended to me from a fitness website I was browsing. The site raved about how healthy the Paleo Diet was, and how it could work well for an athletic lifestyle. That winter I began to eat much more in the way you described. I came into conflict last summer, working at an environmental nonprofit. My employer has been vegan for a while now and recommended I read another diet/health book called The China Study. Touted as the largest epidemiological study ever performed by man, the study reported that across the board vegan diets proved to be the healthiest among living human populations. My initial reaction that my protein intake would be too low if I pursued such a diet was alleviated by the research provided by the book.

I'm having trouble reconciling these views. Both you and the author of The China Study (Dr. Colin Campbell) provide compelling research to back up your points, and I can't see where to draw the line. The logic behind The Paleo Diet makes more sense to me than the logic of a vegan diet, but I can't argue with the enormous amount of data Dr. Campbell has on current living populations and the health they enjoy. Can you shed some light on this for me?

Thank you for your time,

Ryan

Maelán Fontes' Response:

Hi Ryan,

We have a PDF that's available for download on our web site that includes two papers: Dr. Cordain's The Evolutionary Basis for the Therapeutic Effects of High Protein Diets and Dr. T. Colin Campbell's paper entitled How Much Protein Is Needed? Dr. Cordain's online "debate" with Dr. Campbell was originally commissioned by Robb Wolf, a strength & conditioning coach, formerly a research biochemist, who hosts a blog discussing intermittent fasting, fitness, and paleolithic nutrition (robbwolf.com).

We hope you find this information useful.

Maelán Fontes, MS, Ph.D. candidate in Medical Sciences at Lund University, Sweden; International College of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Even More Articles For You

Autoimmune Disease: Drawing the Lines of Defense
Is adopting a Paleo diet the only way to avoid the onslaught of processed foods and food additives that are causing a wide range of autoimmune diseases?
By Stephanie Vuolo
Gee, What's the Skinny on Ghee?
Many in the Paleo community use Ghee for cooking despite the fact that it comes from dairy sources. The founder of the Paleo Diet answers the question: is ghee Paleo?
By Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Protein, Fasting, and the mTOR Pathway
Over-eating, especially of protein, activates the mTOR pathway which some researchers associate with increased cancer risk and shortened lifespan. Balancing macronutrients, like protein, can be challenging, but by looking at our hunter-gatherer ancestors lifestyles we can see that fasting may be one way to help keep mTOR in check.
By David Whiteside
Paleo Leadership
 
Trevor Connor
Trevor Connor

Dr. Loren Cordain’s final graduate student, Trevor Connor, M.S., brings more than a decade of nutrition and physiology expertise to spearhead the new Paleo Diet team.

Mark J Smith
Dr. Mark Smith

One of the original members of the Paleo movement, Mark J. Smith, Ph.D., has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the benefits of Paleo nutrition.

Nell Stephenson
Nell Stephenson

Ironman athlete, mom, author, and nutrition blogger Nell Stephenson has been an influential member of the Paleo movement for over a decade.

Loren Cordain
Dr. Loren Cordain

As a professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Loren Cordain developed The Paleo Diet® through decades of research and collaboration with fellow scientists around the world.