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What About The China Study?

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

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

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