We found this on Twitter and thought it prudent to share with so many of our vegan followers who regularly comment.
Vegetarian? Vegan? You Need to Know This About The China Study by Dr. Mercola
One of the major storylines in Forks Over Knives follows the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the book The China Study. Many who hold strict vegetarian views still hold up The China Study as the authoritative “proof” that eating meat was harmful, but I and many other nutrition experts believe this work has some fundamental flaws.
For starters, the very title of the book is inaccurate and misleading. It is not a study but a comprehensive set of observations. While this approach can be valuable, it can never prove Campbell’s assertion that animal protein should be avoided, as he never tested that theory on real live patients … The data from Dr. Campbell’s China study was first published in the tome Diet, Life-Style and Mortality in China. It contains several thousands of statistical correlations, which Campbell insists show that animal protein intake is convincingly associated with the prevalence of cancer.
For a detailed review of the China Study you can review my previous article on it, however, it’s important to realize two things:
The China Study was an observational study, correlations deduced from it do not — in fact, cannot — prove causation. As Dr. Michael R. Eades, M.D. has pointed out, all you can really do with data from an observational study is to form a hypothesis, which must then be tested in randomized, controlled trials, to ferret out the truth about whether or not x actually causes y.
In many cases, the data (presented in arduous detail in the book Diet, Life-Style and Mortality in China) do not show statistically significant correlations between animal protein consumption and disease such as cancer at all. On the contrary, it would seem that sugar and carbohydrates are correlated with cancer — not animal protein. In addition, the data indicate that fat is negatively correlated with cancer mortality, which again contradicts the claim that meat is harmful.