T. Colin Campbell, PhD has been dedicated to the science of human health for more than 60 years. His primary focus is on the association between diet and disease, particularly cancer. Although largely known for the China Study – one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever conducted, and recognized by The New York Times as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology”–Dr. Campbell’s profound impact also includes extensive involvement in education, public policy, and laboratory research.
Dr. Campbell grew up on a dairy farm and was the first in his family to go to college, where he studied pre-veterinary medicine at Pennsylvania State University. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, and while completing his first year at the University of Georgia veterinary school, he received a telegram from a well known professor at Cornell University, offering a scholarship and research opportunity too good to turn down.
And so he completed his education at Cornell University (M.S., Ph.D.) and MIT (Research Associate) in nutrition, biochemistry and toxicology. He then spent 10 years on the faculty of Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition before returning to Cornell in 1975 where he presently holds his Endowed Chair as the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
Dr. Campbell’s research experience includes both laboratory experiments and large-scale human studies. He has received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly with NIH), served on grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, actively participated in the development of national and international nutrition policy, and authored over 350 research papers, most published in peer-reviewed science journals.
Throughout his career, he has confronted a great deal of confusion surrounding nutrition and its effects. It is precisely this confusion that he has focused so much on, in recent years.
In order to synthesize the findings of his long and rewarding career, and to give back to the public whose lives are threatened by rampant misinformation and special interests, Dr. Campbell co-wrote The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health (2005, 2016), which has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 foreign languages. He is also the author of the The New York Times bestseller Whole (2013), The Low Carb Fraud (2013), and The Future of Nutrition.
An Insider’s Look at the Science, Why We Keep Getting It Wrong and How to Start Getting It Right (2020). Several documentary films feature Dr. Campbell and his research, including Forks Over Knives, Eating You Alive, Food Matters, and PlantPure Nation. He continues to share evidence-based information on health and nutrition whenever given the opportunity. He has delivered hundreds of lectures around the world and he is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and the online Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate in partnership with eCornell.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 093
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 0:00
The public needs to know this. That we at the present time, we are structured in such a way our infrastructure propelled by or at least provided to the public. The government isn't wanting to provide this kind of information. But the government in turn is reflecting the interests of the corporate sector.
Alex Ferrari 0:36
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I'd like to welcome to the show, Dr. T. Colin Campbell. How you doing Dr. Campbell?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 1:12
Hello, thank you for the invitation.
Alex Ferrari 1:16
Yeah, thank you so much for coming on the show. I've been following your work for many years now, as many people on the show know that I've turned it to, I turned to plant based plant based diet almost a decade ago at this point. And a lot of that had to do with you and the work that you're doing and some of the documentaries that you were in, as well early on in this kind of plant based movement and wanted to have you on the show to kind of demystify a little bit about what plant based diets are and what the myths are, what they aren't, you know, I mean, obviously, you and I should both be dead because we don't eat protein from animals. So you know, how do we get protein and all these kinds of questions. So first question I have to ask you is how did you get started studying this kind of work and, and going down this this plant based world because you started off as a a traditional doctor, correct?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 2:06
No, I actually I got started accidentally, if I can put it that way. I was raised. This has been the last thing that maybe it was on my plate. I was raised on a farm milking cows. I hunted I fished I did all the usual things that most guys in the country do. So then I went vegetarian way to graduate school at Cornell University, thanks to unsolicited invitations more of the professor. But in any case, I went there. And I did my doctoral dissertation, of all things, on advancing the consumption of more protein from animals that he asked his sister was being on a farm, right. It's also consistent with what was generally believed that's high quality protein. So that's the way it was. And then when I got my first academic position, about two years thereafter, I was put in charge of a project, the State Department project, that was that funded the examination of let's say, a new model for putting malnourished children in the Philippines. There, the idea about that was circulating in our community was that these men whose children were primarily deficient in protein, enable protein, especially animal protein. So early on, I learned from almost accidentally, that a few children had some of the most protein in the Philippines had a higher risk for liver cancer. Well, thanks. So here, I'm presented with the dilemma, on the other hand, was mostly given more protein, but yet the ones getting the most protein animal basically out of the higher risk. So I thought my medical colleagues in the Philippines also pointed this out to so I had to come home and start some resource, you know, what's going on here. There was a study out a video at the time to more experimental animals, showing that the higher the protein intake, the greater the risk of that cancer. Those researchers didn't even believe their own research, they said about doing it a different way to try to prove otherwise. I'm gonna so I was so sorry, the same position of way. Anyhow, I got the research money that lasted for many years. So it was well funded during my entire career by mostly the National Institutes of Health as NIH. So it's publishing a lot. I was getting good scores, all that sort of stuff. My question was, Is this true? There's high animal protein increased cancer. So we did this study and sure enough, you know, modest increases in animal protein turned on that cancer really sharply. And it did it quickly. No, we did a study where in the same bunch of plus a small animals if we dropped approach He was switched into plant protein, the cancer got turned off. It was so dramatic. We turn on cancer with feeding more animal protein, we turned it off by decreasing it or replacing with plant protein. Protein is an important notion is absolutely essential. But it turns out after all these many years, we certainly have no need for animal proteins to meet our protein requirements, plants provided all as needed. In any case, that was a result I got, then the next task, and I had a number of graduate students working with me over the years, I wanted to find out what was the mechanism, what was the biochemical mechanism displaying this strange phenomenon. So we started looking for mechanisms. And after about 12 13 14 years, something like that, number, students doing their doctoral dissertations don't just that note other things. Every time we look for a mechanism, we found one, but by what I mean, what I mean by that is, for example, when you increase protein intake, increases the rate at which the chemical carcinogen gets into the cell. Another one, it increases the synthesis of an enzyme that activates that carcinogen, to produce a product that binds the DNA wishes stuff of genes. That's where the mutation start. So increased also the binding of as the carcinogens into the DNA, then it is more things as the cancer start going. At the end of the day, after that number years, I all of a sudden discovered there is no such thing as a single mechanism. That's the basis I should tell you for the entire pharmaceutical industry.
Entire pharmaceutical industry is just the way we've been taken. So there was no such thing as a single mechanism, what it turned out to be was a whole bunch of mechanism, anyone we want to examine, if they were changed by the animal protein intake, some of them most of Murghab, some of them down. But if however rich, whichever direction they went in, they will ended up in the same place, they increased cancer. So that that led to my view is the most important thing I've ever gotten involved in. It changed the whole definition for me of nutrition. Nutrition is not about one nutrient doing one thing to create one disease or preventing whatever the case is. It's about a whole lot of mechanism working together. And they're probably 10 I mean, hundreds 1000s, all working together in a sort of a national network to create a response and outbreaks so fast after and we know this and humans know too. As soon as people let's say with heart disease, they start consuming this kind of diet, just like that, you started seeing a drop in cholesterol, within hours, diabetes, and people with diabetes, they changed their diet to the same formula, the same protocol, the blood sugar drops like a rock. So and when those studies the first one that heart disease was done by my good friend, Dr. Esselstyn, Ornish and others, about 20 years after I started my work, and they weren't, they weren't nutrition, but there is simply just trying this out. And they saw these remarkable results, both really fine people and got some good results. But in any case, so this operates not only in experimental animals, where you can study the biochemical nature of, of cancer, for example, it also operates in humans. And the way I'm really confident to say that is because now we have a ton of research over many, many years, showing very clearly, if you compare countries, as we begin to increase animal protein intake as a straight line relationship, at the very moment that animal protein starts to be added to the diet. So it is small levels of animal protein intakes will cause a significant increase in the risk of a whole bunch of different diseases, from heart disease to different kinds of cancers, you know, to diabetes to chronic kidney disease on Iran. So the story for me after these many years, is that it really I have to say it's an amazing story. And it's very sharply different from traditional thinking, in science, to say nothing of Charpy sharply at odds with what we hear in the public. Because in a public, everybody believes that animal proteins high quality and we have to have some of that obviously, and so forth and so on. That's not true. That's a false dichotomy. And so, as I say, I'd like to emphasize this because I didn't come to this story with any preconceived notions that I wanted to pre that I wanted to prove something different Hey, if I had any bias at all, it was to prove that animal protein is good. We were raised with it. So of course, of course, that's what I ate everything else I know my reserves to read. So it was it took me about, as I say, 12 13 years, or actually more than that, even to really come to terms of this. Because it was on the basis of this science, totally 100% On the basis of the science. So I didn't get into this, for example, being a vegetarian. But that was, that was my not not my cup of tea. It was strictly the science. But obviously, the results are very much in favor of that idea, which is a good idea is premise not a good proposition. The good guys, same thing
Alex Ferrari 10:47
I wanted to ask you, and this is a question I get asked a lot as someone who's vegan or plant based? Is it true that humanity is a general statement at a certain time in history, the hunter gatherer times that they needed to eat that meat brought us out of, you know, out of a place where we were able to get the nutrition that we needed to be able to grow, our minds grew all that kind of stuff. And, and now we're at a place in history, that that is no longer needed, that we have the ability and the technology and the understanding and the knowledge to just eat plants. But that's also why those other people that were talking about 1000s, of years ago had very short lives, as well. So I just wanted to get your take on that.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 11:33
Yeah, sure. I thought a lot about that over the years. That's the popular narrative. Basically, what you were saying, if when you look back in time, that used to be just, you know, for example, 2000 years, million, not a million years, but you know, 10,000 years, something like that. Humans are mostly residing in that Trump of what areas of the world, Africa and so forth, and then, you know, they were probably mostly plant based, if you could Hunter present, possibly. They weren't dying because of that, but there's no evidence of that necessarily. But then it started migrating to the north, they went into the more temperate zones to cold zones. At that point in time, you can I mean, just there's just a common sense kind of answer, I guess, is surmise that at that point in time, during the wintertime, they didn't have access to the to plant foods, right. So they said about killing animals to get the meat to get the fruit that way. That's one version of a fairly popular one. I have a friend though, who, however, who's a professional philosopher. In England, I only recently met him online, he is about never talked to him otherwise, but he likes was on philosophy and so forth. He's got to come up with a new book. Now. It's really fascinating. Namely, he's asking the same question. He himself is a vegan. As for his motivation was, and so he gives lectures around Europe and so forth. He worked with some Spanish of archaeologists and others, that came up with this fantastic, really interesting idea. Namely, prior to the last ice age, they found carvings on the cave walls. And those carvings indicated that the humans who were making the carvings were sort of liking themselves to animals. They're very much akin to animals. You know, they were no spears, no, that kind of stuff, no evidence that they were in the business of killing animals. It wasn't until that Ice Age of some 5000 years or so. And then suddenly, the human emerged that and then the new cave carvings that are now in existence, and they see them, that's when you start seeing the evidence of violence, violence of humans against animals. There's an elephant in Europe, perhaps elsewhere. And so that, in turn, has been likened to let's say, what happened in the Egyptian civilization. Some signers there back in that time, that was even before the Greek civilization. They said the biggest problem with humanity going forward is our ego. Our sense of superiority, or sense of superiority or animals that stuck with us. And so, you know, we just got accustomed, I guess, as a human race. That's perfectly okay to eat animals. I ate animals. You know, that's the way it happened. And so now in the more modern times, when we're getting ready to get into the sciences I have been doing looking at the details. All of a sudden it discovers it eminently abundantly clear. In arguable I would argue in arguable we have no nutritional needs. We have no need for animal food to satisfy our and desert nutrition. In fact, what we see now is exactly the opposite. If we switch from a diet is mostly plant based, I mean most of the animal based food and even some processed foods and stuff like that, if we switched and this had been being done now, as we talk we're doing in recent years, the the effect of that new plant based diet, if you will, on these people with heart disease, diabetes, whatever they see recover in remarkable periods of written short periods of time. It's Unbeliev. Unbelievable. So then it raises the question why, why, and we know this. This, I mean, for me, I defined as the process of nutrition. And what the way I define Nutrition has to do with the fact that it's what happens to food after we consume the food. In other words, our bodies, once once we consume the food, our bodies start processing that food, it digested, it pushes it out onto the little nutrients, and so forth, and so on. And then Mother Nature, I'm going to use that word, Mother Nature decides which nutrient of the 1000s or hundreds of 1000s of nutrient licenses, which wants to put together to do what, what job.
And it might be a little bit different for the liver compared to the pancreas can bear in addition to that, or something else. But overall, what we see now I've come back to what I told you before, that new nutrients, infinite countless numbers of food, each one of them operates by countless mechanisms to produce a consistent broad array of good outcomes. Now, having said that, I can't I can't emphasize enough how I'll use the word provocative. That is because quite frankly, I'm really contesting that idea. Because test number one, our livestock industry, of which I was a part number two, it contests the whole idea that we get healthy by relying on drugs. That's not true. So there's two really huge biggest industries are almost the food industry and the pharmaceutical industry. So the foot, you can see this is so clear, and our policies now in the United States, for example. And I spent some years very much involved in national international policy, both nationally and internationally. So I know what goes on behind the doors behind the curtain, I should say. And, you know, those folks are, you know, personally, I could be fine people. But they don't know what they don't know. They don't particularly care to ask, because that's the that's not that's not hubs pay on their jobs and pay their employment for one thing, but also at the same time, regardless where they get money or don't get money for it. That's the way we all think, oh, animals are important. Yeah, it was very important. We got to have that. Animals milk, meat and eggs to get the protein. Nonsense. Total nonsense. So now, then my view. And I've written some books on this issue, you know, that China Study, and then subsequently to that, that book, incidentally, been, I didn't think this idea was going to sell in the beginning. I was told this all three to 5000. In both copies, I'd be lucky.
Alex Ferrari 18:44
So what can you tell me? Can you tell everybody what the China Study is?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 18:47
The China Study, what happened was it's from the 1960s, when I got involved in this long time ago now, in the 1960s 70s 80s, and 90s, and so forth. As I was getting involved, they're starting to tell the story. I was running into some real serious pushback from my colleagues really serious, you know, throw me out of my society. It's it could you know this than that? Because it held some very senior positions in Washington at the time. And so I got a lot of pushback. And finally, in 1991, in 1990, actually, when a study that we had done in China, we did a VA study, there was a New York Times call it the Grand Prix of all epidemiology. In any case, when they came out with that report and 9090 at the end of the year, was that your kind of August, title if you will get I got a lot of attention. And people wonder, what are they talking about? Well, we're talking about plant based stuff. Then the people who were opposed to my way of thinking were really turned up to turn up the volume. And they were getting pretty nasty. So my wife planted Call me Stop complaining. Why don't you read a book for the public? That was the genesis of the China Study. 10 years later, 2005, I published a study telling the story, mostly from a scientific point of view, not too much more than just told you. But mostly from the surgery point of view. I didn't think at the time, that book, The all the, the publishers that we visited, no go to court was my son, Tom, who's now a physician himself, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, but in any case, we went around looking for a publisher, and we were told, you know, get all we were told, don't put all those references in your book, The public doesn't want to see that. I disagree. We have when with 11 publishers, that basically they didn't like the idea was putting all the publishers in there. They also said, I was sort of telling the story a little bit too high level, you know, and poor, for sure, I should bring it down to the to a 10 year old, I couldn't believe what I heard, but that's what they said. And mine was just what Amazon say be 14 and a half years old. So it was it was up there a little bit compared to a lot of diet books. But they wanted me to do that. And I said, they said I would never sell any books, maybe just enough to two or 3000 or something. You have some libraries might pick it out? Well, it turned out, they were wrong. I went to a small publisher. At that time, just starting out in Dallas, Texas, a man who has some funny resources, he had better a Wall Street broker. But in any case, he started publishing, he said, I'll take it, I'll run with it. And he thought, well, if I could get if I could sell 1000 copies, he said at one point and all the time, he said about 13,000. He covers costs. So that was aiming for with a current book has now sold close to 40 million copies, is they translated into 50 foreign languages, they understand that's a record. It's a record word medical book, the second book called hold, that was a New York Times bestseller also, and then wrote more books. And so the whole all the these different books, I got all of Nashville retire in 2001. So the China study has really, I guess, had an impact. I'm the one who came up with the idea of plant based. And the reason I did that was in the late 90s 70s.
Alex Ferrari 22:33
You coined the phrase.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 22:35
Yes I coined a phrase, I also coined a phrase put a hole in front of a whole plant base. That's the name of my second book hole. But in any case, I did that because I was at that time on the government, so called expert committee, that judges, you established your priorities for funding in Arab cancer research. So that committee was getting a lot of applications from researchers and so forth and so on. At that time, there was just some occasional research was coming in and wanting to study a little bit about nutrition. So my colleagues, they're all cancer researchers. They said, why don't you take it, I was the only one on there. We're in nutrition background. So they wanted me to take some time and then tell them a little bit about discretion. And I did not want to use the word vegetarian. I didn't even know I didn't know the word vegan at that time. I didn't want to use vegetarian, it was fine and dandy. I'm not saying anything against vegetarianism only said that was not my motivation. Because that doesn't sell very good to the scientific community. So I tried to think of something more friendly was, let's say the idea of science. And that's why I came up with the word play bass. And then later, whole, two or three years later, because I was on a, I was given testimony on behalf the National Academy of Sciences and the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, and learning that nutrients consumed alone as supplements, that's not nutrition. We might see some short term benefits, occasionally what looked like benefits, but that's not the way to get her in the session. Right, and we have to sort of consume the whole food. So these days, I just have two simple recommendations, you know, all the complexities, you can leave that to those who want to, you know, bury themselves and that kind of complexity is fun, isn't it? Low interest is not there. But there is a general message here that's really important. Consume plants. This one, just leave it at that because don't place a whole whole variety of them and so forth like that, because the variety is important. Nobody wants to have access to all the different kinds of nutrients in plants, but presume plants. First thing is the second thing as much as possible, consume the whole plant. What I mean by that is, you can chop up you can cook the vote, you can chop it up, dice it up. stuff like that. That's not That's that point, it is not terribly important. The idea is that our body wants to look at, if you will, all the nutrients that are there on plants, make a choice, which nutrients to send here, what's the send there, and so forth and so on. I finally decided, rather strange, I guess Mother Nature is a fascinating concept. Because if we were just to eat plants, and try to make them as whole food as much as possible, as I say, you can mix and match in different ways. But try to avoid those, those, let's say those foods are loaded up with sugar, salt, and fat, that's the other part of the equation. Those nutrients out of contact there, salt, and sugar and fat are very good. When a part of Whole Foods, that's not the problem. When we take them out, we put the oil of plants into a bottle and pour it as a salad dressing or something like that, or we throw out the recipe that's not so good. That's added oil. On the other hand, we don't need to dump a lot of salt on food either you roll that, you know, give some extra flavor to it. That's true. But then refined carbohydrates, you know, pure sugar, you know, go go easy on that, I guess I should say. So those two, two ideas, don't eat animals. Don't eat animals, number one. Number two, stay with the plants and try to eat them as much as possible. Like in salads, and you could cook in on that's why we eat. So anyhow, they, my wife was kind of into this too. And we had four with five children were raised at the time. And so she starts changing our diet in the late 1970s. And we gradually changed and it took us about 10 years. Because mind you were worried the same thing is everyone else's ad and liking it. I like cheese. I like meat, no funny stuff like that. We just you know, as I was learning this stuff, we just dropped one group at a time. The first thing we gave up was red meat. But then we got lots of chicken fish. Were on that go on that journey for a little while. And then we kind of dropped funny dropped that. And then week i My My wife was then later diagnosed with melanoma, which had a serious canceled was a dance No, no, no less had gone to the left plates. That part of the story too. And we were pretty much where we were at that time. And I was surprised to see that. And so they want to take out our lips lip tissue at that time with an operation, very serious cancer. And then also wanted to put it on cable, because she said no to both. Because I hadn't seen the evidence myself in a microscope. And it looked like the kind of evidence they were relying on could be interpreted in slightly different way. She had had the cancer years before and was actually going backwards, was already reversing. Still still there, but no way in. So she did that the doctor he threw up his hands and said, you know, if you don't do what I'm telling you essentially what she was advising you on chemo and stuff. I won't be able to do anything for you in six months. Well, that was now 17 years ago. And so she is she's now 81 Running go to health. I'm 88. And so both of us have lived quite a bit beyond our parents.
Alex Ferrari 28:45
So let me ask you a question when you were when she was diagnosed. So in other words, when she was diagnosed with the cancer, the cancer had already been decreasing because of the diet change. Alright, so they just happen to catch it on the downward but they got concerned because it didn't know it was on the downward they've done it the other way. So but how long before from the diagnosis to the point where she was cancer free? How long? I mean a year.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 29:11
I can't say that because the way to examine that you kind of have to go into buddy and hunt for those kinds of sales. That that kind of analysis wasn't done that kind of testing. Basically, she just wished and felt good about it and ever since.
Alex Ferrari 29:29
She's alive so that there's that. Yeah, it worked obviously. So let me ask you a question because a lot of people I've heard many stories of people who have cancer found that they have different kinds of cancers. And they changed their diet like or there was one one case a very public case I forgot her name but she she was very young but had cancer. I forgot what kind of cancer but she disappeared she decided to go completely plant based. Do you know drinking fresh juices everyday eating fresh festivals? Every day completely changed to a pure diet. And within and she she didn't have a good diagnosis. She then said she had six months after she started doing that. It just started to go it's the cancer started to decrease to the point where it went, completely gone. What advice do you have for anybody listening out there who might have this does have cancer? What can diet do? And what kind of diet can help them?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 30:26
That's a very good question. And I have to be careful. Yes. I know, the way I answered this question, I really wanted to just say it, as I know it, as truthfully as I can. I don't want to make promises Correct. That's not not my territory. And so what I can say is that we know for example, heart disease, let me tell that story first, then people with heart disease thrilly, for long, these are my friends, Dr. Esselstyn, Ornish McDougal, they were signing on to doing that, with with heart disease, almost any stage, you see remarkable recovery, diabetes is a chip shot. Cancer is has been difficult to do that kind of research in humans, because the industry that sells chemotherapy, and worse on that idea are so powerful. So even to attempt to do that kind of study means using one group and not giving them chemo. That's almost like illegal, that is very strongly felt position. So the kind of research that I would like to see done hasn't really been done. The closest to it is actually my son who's working on a stage for breast cancer. And he's pushing, but he has to kind of do it along with their continuing on their chemo. So kind of compromising results. But I can't say more than that. I'll keep my fingers crossed, everything's coming in. Okay, it looks good so far. But so in cancer, the evidence that we'd like to see is not yet quite ready for that sort of thing. But I hear a lot of anecdotal things. Number one, and number two, I know that basically science fairly well enrolled in basically what we see, I think the effect of this diet on cancer patients, how should I say it should be nothing but good. You know, can't hurt. That's right. So you know how good it might be, I don't know, I can tell my wife story can tell some mothers that I've heard of. But that's usually not enough, either. People want to have little more certainty about a disease like that.
Alex Ferrari 32:38
Right. So it's really interesting. It's really interesting, Dr. Campbell, because I when I started my Plant base journey, I did a juice cleanse. That was how I got started with the whole this whole thing. I did a juice cleanse for two weeks, and I was pre diabetic prior to the juice cleanse. And after the two weeks, I chest in my did a blood test just to see where my blood sugar was. And after two weeks of drinking fruit juices, vegetable juices, but there was I mean, I was a meat eater. And sure I was addicted to sugar and all that stuff. So I needed a good amount of apple juice just for me to drink the kale. So I was I had a good amount of of natural juices coming in orange juice, his apple juice is inside of the kale and the celery and the carrots and all that stuff. I dropped from a 110 Blood love blood, blood sugar to a 76. Okay. And I was so confused because I was like, How can my blood sugar drop down when I'm actually consuming more, quote unquote, sugar, but I guess it's the kind of sugar yet I was. So can you explain it? Can you explain to me what happened there and explained the audience what happened there?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 33:52
And you described it really well. And your experience is also telling. Carbohydrate is one of the so called macronutrients and foods that ought to be the main source of our energy. Carbohydrates are only made plants. I mean, it's a little bit of an animal, you know, but you don't count that is carbohydrates and plants and carbohydrates as a class of chemicals is enormously complex. One group of carbohydrates has comes under the category of dietary fiber. Okay, so, carbohydrates are found in grains. Obviously, you started through the kind of thing grains and plants by frankly, there's more more flavors, that it isn't fruits. So in that case, you got a different kind of mixture, carbohydrates. What happens, unfortunately, is instead of when we're eating the plants to get that problem heydays, lovely. That's where we should be getting energy from whenever they have but way back when I'm not sure when this all started, they're able to start striking out of certain plants, the cane the cane sugar cane sugar cane juice, and there started extracting out the sugar that was really sweet. And they could put it in a package and they could no crystallize it and exist and that's so the short answer she was born. Not that kind of sugar taken away from like, in the plants is great if you take it out and this is true for most of them should take out that one nutrient and put it crystallized and roll things in as a sweetness. And guess what, uh, you know, this is? Of course, everyone does. Sweetness is inversely addictive. Yes, sir, we like sweet things we want and more and more is better. And also added oil is kind of addicted to fat. And so salt, there are three. So the three things that you know are most addictive are the things that we'd like to add value to the foods to make it taste a little bit better, if we will. So that's the way our minds work. As we end up consuming too much sugar, that's refined carbohydrates. We use also too much refined flour. Your whole wheat flour is better than just the refined wheat flour. Right. And so somehow, that was not so now I know what their story is the early 1970s. At that time, I was already bought a little bit and some of this story is beginning to emerge at that time. I wasn't formally involved at that point in early 70 Plus subsequently became very much involved in the late 70s, early 80s. At that time, there was a man came out of a doctor's supposedly, he never showed his medical credentials. He wouldn't. But his name was Dr. Atkins.
Alex Ferrari 36:52
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 36:53
And so he, he and many others were not liking this sort of very preliminary evidence at that time that eating plants might be a good idea. Because that's kind of an assault on eating animal foods. And so he wanted to come up with a different point of view. And he said, Hey, there's no problems we haven't health is too much carbohydrate. He just used that word carbohydrate. He didn't say refined to provide you just carbohydrate. And that was an upfront that was that was a direct credit, criticism of eating plants. Because that's really what was it Peter stayed with the idea of refined carbohydrates need to have something because we can't you know that you have free sugar is this not? Everything is toxic in certain levels, but it's not the kind of thing you want to kill. You know, HMR is not like that.
Alex Ferrari 37:50
You drink. You drink a glass of sugar of pure sugar, you're not going to feel good, but you're not going to die.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 37:56
That's about what Yes, but what it is. So it was started out with that his diet. Low carb, he said, well, then that really caught on with the animal industry. They liked that idea that's gonna see, you know, you start use the low carb diet, by the way. Like one of my books was for low carb fraud. So I'm speaking from what I published in 2013, I guess. But Nick has, if you use that kind of diet, you know, you're let's say you're overweight, especially if people are overweight. If they go into an Atkins diet, low carb diet, what happens they lose weight straight off impresses people, Hey, I got I got my answer. You kind of say, and also their blood cholesterol tends to drop somewhat to endless good. So all of a sudden his idea that a low carb diet Wow, this is it for me. But people don't stay on that question I plein air for a few months about it's about gone. And fortunately for them, it's about gone. Because if there was a standard kind of diet, which is low carb, yes, very high in animal protein, very high in fat. We got the record, we got the lifetime records on that. They're in deep trouble. So the low carb diet is kind of a joke. And it really is a misnomer. It's as bad. Is it basically bad nutrition.
Alex Ferrari 39:22
Well, let me ask you, do you do you remember how Mr. Atkins died?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 39:27
Alex Ferrari 39:29
I found that very ironic when I heard that I was like, wow. And yet that's not as publicized. I mean, there's still there's still Doctor Atkins stuff, you know, out there and people are still talking about the Atkins diet. And it's not as popular as it was when I was in a kid, you know, in the 90s. But it blew up in the 90s. I mean, everybody was doing the Atkins diet was the it was the save all, but a lot of damage was done with that with that concept. That idea?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 39:56
Yeah, they changed the name from time to time. I just recently had it It opportunity to redo some of this information at a point in time that was called the keto diet. Yep. Now it's being called the ketogenic diet makes it sound a little fancier, sometimes called the Paleo diet. The Paleo Diet partly is okay, because that I know him, I debated him actually, yeah. But he's opposed the consuming dairy was a step in the right direction. So that color diet, but nonetheless is an example of the continuation of the of the Atkins myths. So it goes up through these years, they come up with different names, from time to time, all we got a new diet or a new diet here is the same old story just wrapped a different cause.
Alex Ferrari 40:43
Now, let me ask you, why is it that doctors are not trained in nutrition? If there's if they're there to help you heal the body? They don't understand the basics of what it takes to fuel the body and heal the body with nutrition, which isn't it? Isn't the father of all medicine, who said, in thy food is thy medicine or something along those lines? And yet, they've come so far from it. When I asked friends of mine who are doctors basic nutritional ideas, I asked, How many hours did you get trained? And they go, we had we had a three hour session? Or maybe we had an eight hour session over the course of a semester talking about basic nutrition. And why is that?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 41:28
There's a very good reason from the scientific point of view, by the way. If we're eating whole foods, okay, is everything working together? Right? The alternative, that point of view, incidentally, is using one nutrient at a time, as I said before, wonders, your time maybe making some supplements, or if you get sick, use one nutrient one one chemical design, that's more of a drug. Okay, so the idea is that using a one thing at a time to treat one condition like that, that is the name of medicine, that is medicine. So here's here's what happens. The so called system authorities, if you will, won't tell you the kind of food we ought to be eaten, because they lead people to believe we should eat a lot of animal based foods, especially industry likes that they don't want to tamper too much with the other guys have agreed to the highly processed, because there's corporate insurance there too. And at the same time, with all this going on, we have drugs by the way we can solve our problems. So the story goes, that is the practice of medicine, I spoken to probably, I think, close to least 130, similar 252 other medical schools myself, I've been invited a number of cases just to talk about the question you just raised, how can we teach nutrition? Well, it's not easy to be honest about it. And it's absolutely needed. But nutrition is not part of the medical paradigm. Why? Because nutrition was way it was everything working together a custom whole food, that's pretty cheap. And we get healthy. And we don't need drugs, right? The medical system is bounded by frankly, historically, the principle that if we get sick, we are feeling bad, we will get a name for our disease. And then we have a drug to treat that disease, presumably operate on one mechanism at a time, if you will. So the whole discipline, the whole industry of say medical care, a lot of very good people. I mean, they got to take care of people, obviously, I'm not, I don't want to talk about the individuals, nothing whatsoever. But I'm simply talking about the paradigm within which we live medicine, the practice of medicine is focused on use of single chemicals to treat illness and know that most of these chemicals are in fact, foreign chemicals. They're called drugs. And in fact, they're very strange. They're not even natural, most of them because a lot of the so called drugs are discovered, initially as some substance in a plant, usually a forest, it was a tropical forest, for example. So but we can't patent those those kinds of chemicals. They're natural. So you can't get intellectual property protection for using those chemicals or anything. So here's the way it goes. You discovered this chemical in the plant and tree why it has this effect here. Whatever you think is pretty good. What happens if you can't sell it that way? You can't package it up, make an invoice. What you have to do is get intellectual property protection. I'm talking about patents, maybe trade more patents and stuff like that. Once you have that kind of protection, let's say for a couple of decades. Now you got to have time to invest in it, then you can't even you can't even patent a natural substance. That's what I meant to say. So what happens is you take the natural substitute you use Hey, good chemistry. So apparently he ended up with a chemical, they're gonna give it a new fancy name, you know, was really derived from the plant substance itself. But you give it a new name because because it really is a little bit different. That's not natural, naked patents. Once you meet your your you're going through life.
Alex Ferrari 45:24
Dr. Campbell, you've been doing this for so long now. And I imagine that you've seen a shift in the world from the moment in the early 70s. To where we are today, where the knowledge is a lot more out there. People understand at least to a certain level, plant based diets, whole diets, Mediterranean diet, these kinds of ideas are in our Zeitgeist much more than they were before. Because I remember in the 70s, the vegetarian was the thin, frail guy sitting in the corner who didn't know what he was doing. He was dying slowly, because he wasn't eating meat. That's the image of the vegetarian or vegan. Do Where do you think we're going to be in 50 100 years from now? Do you think that this new generation coming up, this younger generation gets it a lot more, and isn't fighting against the old ways, like my generation, and definitely your generation is,
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 46:21
At times they have become really discouraged? To be honest about it, because the resistance to this idea is very profound. There's so profound right now just mention specifically how know I'm being recorded in this case, but I published in Science what we do to be legitimate, you know, we do reserve forgiving mind, we do it very carefully. We teach people and all that kind of soft, Tim, when we produce our results is very carefully examines the question. And so we have to get money to do the reserves. Right. So, yeah, well, in any case, the whole system that we now live with, that we call health or health care, is based on the idea of using drugs. Yes. Okay. And so we eat the wrong foods to start with, that comes from one of our departments in the government called department of agriculture, livestock base, and the other department is purchasing drugs as health and human services. So we got a we got a really serious problem here. So what we need to do is actually to do what you're doing. I'm really impressed with with you personally, I think you are really interesting. You've already asked the right questions, and you're the right age. Thank you. So I think that you, you and your comrades can go forward with this knowledge, somewhere, we have to sell the story. And it's really difficult to sell the story, why and what it was going to do, I publish all the, my life was policy papers. Just recently, the last couple of years, all of a sudden, I submitted a couple of papers, one of them is showing how this thing works on viral diseases. It's dramatic. This research that we did in China, when I was wanting to publish a paper, they wouldn't even review it. That's the first time in my life I ever heard that happen. I publish up about 350 papers. And so now all of a sudden, in some lead journals, or in images of turning down the paper they might not like to see published,
Alex Ferrari 48:28
But it was a but it was peer reviewed?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 48:32
They wouldn't even do the peer review of that when you do that. It's just a big dinner. It's really, really serious. It's really become very serious. So I'm right now up to my eyeballs in trying to address that question. And so just in the last couple of years, I've had a couple of papers turned down just because of the title of the paper. They wouldn't even I never had that happen before in my entire career. And I've been on editorial boards myself, but the journals I know how it works. And I had no problem about publishing the papers. Now we have a we got something in the works, that's controlling the whole community of scientists, controlling what gets published, what doesn't. That's where I want to go. And I find that really serious. The public needs to know this. That we are at the present time. We are, you know, structured in such a way our infrastructure, you know, propelled by or at least provided to the public. The government is one provides this kind of information. But the government in turn is reflecting the interests of the corporate sector, of course. So, you know, elected politicians we all know about the 2010 Supreme Court decision called Citizens United. now was the time when the decision was made a five to four decision was close, but they made a decision and big money cookware Russians could use their money as they almost chose you for election officials. So when we got to this night in 2010, elections are bought, politicians are bought and sold.
Alex Ferrari 50:12
Well, that's not that's not new. That's not new information.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 50:17
It happened before in 2010. But 2010 It was kind of legitimized, correct. That's what happened. And now we're in a tough spot.
Alex Ferrari 50:27
Yeah, I think we are in a tough spot. But I do think that this new generation, that's coming up, I do see a lot of hope in these in the eyes of the new generation coming up behind me because they, they're being born into a world where information is available to them, they can watch their these documentaries, these books, this information is out there and IXI extremely easily accessible for the most part. And they're just looking at things differently. Like I was raised, I'm an I'm a Gen X er, so I'm in between the old way of things and the new way of things before the internet and after the internet. So I have a sympathy for both sides, as opposed to my kids who were born in this world, and know nothing else they don't when you tell them the stories of what we used to do in the 70s 80s and 90s. Like, there were no seatbelts what we used to smoke on airplanes, what there were only three channels, the horror, things like that. But I do I do believe that there is some hope. And I'm doing my small part, trying to get information out there and trying to educate people, by having you know, experts like yourself on the show to talk about just different perspectives about things that help the whole body, you talk about whole plants, I talked about the whole body, the mind, body and soul of the individual. And that's why I don't try to focus on just one part of the whole, I tried to touch upon all of it, because it's all important, because you can be extremely spiritual, or you can be extremely bodies based. But if you're not eating the right things, the others are suffering. If you can combine the three together, I think that's how you succeed in life and hopefully help more people in the world. But that is my goal. But I wanted to ask you a couple questions that Dr. Campbell that I asked all my guests. I think I know the answer to the first one, but I'm going to ask it anyway. What is your mission in this life?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 52:20
Well, I sort of asked myself that because I was forced to. My father was a was farmer was a farmer, he only had a couple of years of formal education. I had to drive for five years, 100, just over 100 miles a day to go to school in Washington, DC, why I couldn't go into the local school. But my dad who didn't have that education wanted me to have an education. So he went to special efforts for me to be able to go to a public school in Washington, it was free. So I did that for five years, I was lucky. And so I got a halfway decent education. And there it kept on. So I ended up where I ended up with thanks to a lot of people older than me, my seniors, you know, doing this app and everything else. To give me this position, I forget what your question was,
Alex Ferrari 53:10
What is your mission in this life?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 53:12
Oh, my mission. So yeah, he so my dad was was important, obviously, my life and he used to say, the main thing to remember whatever you do, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I mean, that's, that's pretty special. And so when I was facing science, for example, with this evidence, that animal protein might turn on cancer, let me tell you, that did not set very well. My colleagues said no way, don't go down that road, you're gonna be in trouble. But still, my my option was if it had an option, okay, I'll drop that I'll do something else. We're doing stay with it. So I just stayed with it. For they got I got money from the National Institutes of Health to do that research. I kept getting renewed and renewed. So I would say that as for me, it was just staying with staying with the with the idea. Stay with the results. publish the results, keep taking critique, you know, obviously, that was important part of the constraints or critique. And I just began, I got to a place where I really love science. Because an update notes important thing of all is that I had tenure, early in my life, academic tenure, that's declined. Along with a tenure, most of the time to get to the higher levels of professorship, you can actually get the freedom to speak for academic freedom. So I get academic freedom. Now as my early 30s, I've had more than 255 years, so I'm able to speak without being fired. That is one characteristic in our society that has declined radically. So after idemia Where I've Been so that's my home, I loved it. Because we were encouraged to be skeptical to ask questions to teach all this kind of stuff. That's, that's was boosted. Now. Now, unfortunately, my colleagues in academia, the younger people, especially, they're not necessarily, in fact, very few of them have this opportunity of having a lifetime appointment, you know, to speak freely. So freedom of speech for me is golden. It's golden. And unfortunately, it's missing now an academia to great extent.
Alex Ferrari 55:38
Now, Dr. Campbell, where can people find out more about you, your work and you books and things like that?
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 55:41
Well, we have a website, that is an online program and teaching nutrition. My daughter actually is a president that now is with Cornell. It's called nutritionstudies.org, nutrition studies, all one word, of course, university of Oregon, so we've had that it's done very well. And I think we've got, gosh, over 20,000 graduates, people to get a certificate with that. And so that's an attempt. And now we have a staff and we do various things. But in any case, the idea is to convey this information to the public. And just in the last couple of years, thanks to my daughter who worked on this, we're reaching out to other organizations in the world, you know, giving them micro grants. Now for people who have interesting ideas, and how they convey this information. My oldest son also, he did a film, he's a film producer, you may have heard of plantpure nation. force. Force overnights was the that came out of the China study. I started listening to that just thereafter. And the question I was always getting asked, How can we have not heard this before? That's what my son Nelson, his trainees and economics and government services, if you will. So he went in, had an opportunity to make a film and be lecturing to the Kentucky legislature, you know, on the subject law and my colleague, Dr. Edison at that time, but so the film was that was recorded. And then he went on to develop the story around that. So the second film that I was involved with plantpure nation, eventually at that time, there were a number of films, documentaries that I was in and kind of spreading the word I think film is a big deal. And so it's one way I'm told by those in the trade, that the best way of communicating information or skills, movies, documentaries,
Alex Ferrari 57:51
Dr. Campbell, I've been in the movie industry for close to 30 years. So I know exactly what you're talking about. It's a very, very powerful medium. But Dr. Campbell, thank you so much, not only for being on the show, but for your tireless work that you've been doing over the decades to try to get this message out. And I hope in my small way, I've been able to help you with that mission. So I appreciate you my friend. Thank you so much for all the work you've done.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell 58:14
Well, thank you for this invitation has been wonderful. Your questions are right on point.
Links and Resources
- The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health
- The Future of Nutrition: An Insider’s Look at the Science, Why We Keep Getting It Wrong, and How to Start Getting It Right
- Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
- Dr. T. Colin Campbell – Center for Nutrition Studies
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- FREE Gaia Trail: Discover Gaia’s Thought-Provoking Movies and Inspirational Documentaries
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