Doctor's Note

For more on plant-based diets and cardiovascular health, check out these videos:
Why Was Heart Disease Rare in the Mediterranean?
Cholesterol Crystals May Tear Through Our Artery Lining
Heart Disease Starts in Childhood

Be sure to check out Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped as well as Resuscitating Medicare, and don’t forget all my other videos on heart health and heart disease.

Check out my associated blog posts for more context: Heart Disease: there is a cureMagnesium-Rich Foods to Prevent Sudden DeathEating To Extend Our Lifespan; and Treating Crohn’s Disease With Diet.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out Our number one killer can be stopped as well as Resuscitating Medicare, and don’t forget all the other videos on heart health and heart disease. Also, there are 1,449 subjects covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!

  • Gio
    • BPCveg


      Thanks for this thought-provoking link.

      I feel that Dr. Eades’ argument was weak in two major ways, namely:

      #1: The China study was not interpreted with respect to the totality of evidence in favor of a whole foods plant based diet; Of course, no single health science study, even randomized-control trials, provides full-proof scientific evidence. Expert interpretation is valuable since it provides a bird’s eye view.

      #2: A plausible alternative hypothesis was not provided that could explain the correlations found by Campbell and co-workers. These Atkins’ followers seem to have a one-track mind, always blaming refined carbohydrates for everything, with little data to support their position; They never apply the same standard of criticism to their own work as to that of the pro-veg movement.

      Therefore, I find it hard to take Dr. Eades and other Atkins’ followers seriously!

      But, I read ‘The China study’ and think that Dr. Cambell’s claim that animal protein promotes cancer is, at this stage, more of a hypothesis than a medical fact.

  • Mike Quinoa


    Dr. Eades, who wrote the analysis, is a proponent of a high animal protein diet. It makes perfect sense he would find fault with the China Study—I would expect no less. Are there any critical reviews of the China Study made by a detached third-party that you are aware of?

    The real-world experiences of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish in preventing and reversing heart disease, and the methods by which their results were obtained, cannot be refuted. Nor can the evidence found in the PDAY study, which demonstated conclusively the atherosclerotic-producing nature of the SAD.

  • Spiral

    The criticisms against Dr. Campbell’s “The China Study” book don’t hold up very well, if one has actually read the book.

    However, I can see how those criticisms might convince someone to not bother reading the book at all. I think that this is the main purpose of these criticisms, to bias people against Dr. Campbell’s book to the point where they don’t read it and therefore can’t be persuaded by it.

  • I’m also highly interested to find out the truth about the value of the China study and who has the interest in blaming its value.

  • Meha

    Mike Quinoa, do you know Jack Norris and Virginia Messina? They recommend a vegan diet, but are against the Campbell’s approach. It’s the same speech: correlation is not causation, RCT is the golden standart, etc.

  • Mike Quinoa

    Hi Meha,

    Yes, I know of Jack Norris and Virginia Messina. I appreciate the fact they never sugarcoat any contrary scientific evidence re: the vegan diet. They want the healthiest possible vegans out there. To me, a radiantly-healthy vegan is the best advert for a plant-based diet.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Heart Disease: there is a Cure!

  • paulmason1

    Dr. Greger,

    Thanks for your wonderful efforts!

    Have you seen the WHO’s online book, “Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water”, which on page 80 recommends that drinking water contain at least 25 mg of Magnesium per liter, to prevent heart attack and stroke. The Israeli government has just ordered that the tap water of Ashkelon (R/O water from the sea) be fortified with Mg, after urging from Dr. Schechter.

    BTW, I run the world’s leading Online Magnesium Library at
    and I fund $3000 per month to Mg researchers Dr. Burton Altura, Dr. Bella Altura, Dr. Carolyn Dean, and Dr. Andrea Rosanoff.  I also operate the Adobe Springs, a source for bottlers that contain 110 mg of magnesium per liter.   We have a Free Spigot at 19,000 Del Puerto Canyon Road, Patterson, CA 95363 where anyone can come and get all the water they can carry.

    Best Wishes,

    Paul the Mg LIbrarian

  • CAPT Steven Lucks

    This is great but with GMO plants I am glad I take Reliv the optimal non-gmo nutrition see:

  • factUnicorn

    There are a number of issues with Cambell’s (and others such as Ornish) selective interpretation and manipulation of the China Study data. No other study has replicated the findings of the China Study and multiple academics and scientists have handily provided alternative ways of interpreting the data. Oh and three of the five sources cited above are just different publications of the same China Study data.

    Please read the following articles for proper, critical analyses of the
    Study and its misleading use in promising prevention and cures that
    don’t/can’t/won’t deliver.

    Please no anecdotal evidence if you reply to this post – here’s why:

    Eat with moderation. Exercise regularly. Don’t smoke. Limit alcohol. And hope you have decent genes. Now those are replicated, falsifiable scientific theories of maintaining good health.

    • SAD diet…cholesterol 239, plant based diet (NO STATINS), Cholesterol 168…that’s NOT anecdotal you jerk..that’s a fact. And thousands and thousands of plant based eaters get the same results.

      • robert

        My personal China study: SAD diet was 320 total cholesterol, and plant-based is now 158 w/o meds.

    • Kim

      There’s a good reason why it would be difficult to replicate Campbell’s results in another population study: today, virtually no populations follow the eating patterns he found there during his study. In his study, the Chinese ate diets with very low amounts of animal foods vs. diets with slightly higher, but still very low, amounts of it. The Chinese no longer eat this way today, opting instead for increasing amounts of meat; their decreasing health and rising obesity rate is a reflection of this recent change. That Campbell happened to have access to a population eating this way in his time could be seen as a miraculous stroke of good luck. Researchers are not in the same boat today, although smaller studies comparing vegans, vegetarians, and health-conscious meat eaters have been encouraging.

      Also, blogs are not your best bet if you’re seeking to find fault with the study. Denise Minger, seriously? If you know of any peer reviewed articles that have made it into any nutrition journals that demonstrate flaws with Campbell’s work, by all means, provide us with links.

  • Karna

    Are there valid criticisms of T Colin Campbell’s book The China Study? I have become plant based recently and am looking for scientifically based information to share with family. I want to make sure I am using credible information.

    • The China Study was an ecological research study that was very unique in its design for instance in the communities tested they pooled urine and blood samples. Like all scientific studies they can be criticized for their strengths and weaknesses. The conclusions are consistent with the good scientific research and what we currently know about our anatomy and physiology (we are hind-gut fermenting herbivores adapted to better consume starches). The best diet is a variety of whole plant based foods based on adequate starches to insure adequate glucose intake to meet our caloric needs… also insuring an adequate intake of Vit B12. The shifting of the paradigm is occurring but folks hang onto old beliefs and change at different speeds. Critiques are usually well meaning but can reflect vested self interests… pushing supplements like we in medicine sometimes push pills. The best in depth demonstration of this phenomenon is the issue of screening mammography. The science is clear at this point… no screening mammograms for women at any age. The best information on this contained in the Nordic Cochrane Center’s 2012 pamphlet and Dr. Peter Gotzsche’s book which dissects out all the studies and the misleading statistics. At this time as a Family Medicine physician I can no longer recommend them. It saves me some time but I takes a while to explain to my patients the reasons since we have been advocating them for so long. Interacting with others who have not made the shift to the best diet is difficult. The best discussion I have seen is by Dr. Doug Lisle’s video, Getting Along without Going Along. He is a psychologist who works at the McDougall clinic and the video is available through Dr. McDougall’s website. Congratulations on becoming plant based I think you will find it a rewarding and healthful journey.

      • dorange

        I totally agree re: mammograms! Off topic, sorry, but, what would you recommend to women with dense breasts, for example? Ultrasound? MRI? Thermography?

    • Doug

      Karna, please read “The Starch Solution”, Dr. John McDougall. All info is referenced. Weigh yourself. Have your blood tested. Go to the market, buy whole oatmeal for your first breakfast. Buy starches for energy and to maintain a healthy weight. Buy the greens, and other vegetables for your vitamins, and minerals. Get some sun, and a bottle of B-12. Throw out all meat, dairy, eggs, processed food, and oil. Eat all you want to, and as often as you want to. It is a simple, enjoyable, healthy plan.
      A month later weigh. Look in the mirror. Get your blood tested. If you like the results. Stay with it. If not, continue to read commentaries for health information. Even an ol’ blind sow will find an acorn.
      When reading, or watching on, “The Starch Solution”, refrain from reading commentaries. Only a distraction.
      I am 80. Doctors were killing my skinny ass. AAA surgery led to seven years of uncontrollable, high blood pressure while taking three meds for it. Now! On McDougall’s Program, I lost forty lbs. I threw away the meds. Blood tests are excellent. Sleep apnea is gone, Esophageal reflux is gone. I walk three miles per day. I have more energy than at age thirty. My girlfriend is thirty. :-) I started “The McDougall Program 12/4/2012. I love it!
      I will never change back to meat except in a starvation emergency.
      Good luck, and I thank Dr. Greger. He is a great human.

  • Julia Kravets

    I’m pretty convinced about a plant based diet for optimal health. However, this in-depth critique of the China Study leaves me a bit uneasy about the rationale of the evaluation of the data. I would appreciate a response from you, since you seem to be somewhat unbiased in your data analysis, and still fully support a plant based diet.

    Here’s the link:

    Thanks a lot!

  • Luc

    I was in Guizhou about 5 years ago. To 镇远(zhenyuan) means far-away-place , if my translation is right. The hotpot is their favorite food there and I can assure you , when I met up with my chinese frieds there ( not a vegetarian at that time ) we all ate a lot of meat.
    An anecdote : My vegetarian friend who also travels to China often was given the chinese nickname meaning “rabbit” haha

  • dee

    Can congestive heart failure be reversed? if so how? How can you strengthen the heart to get better results on hyour echo-cardio gram?

  • Michele

    I have a question: some studies suggest that the ratio of Omega 3 to saturated fats in the diet is what prevent heart attacks and not necessarily cholesterol levels and they cite the diets of Eskimos. Any studies to confirm or refute this?

  • dorange

    I haven’t read The China Study… yet. Could someone, please, tell me where the Chinese get their B12 from? Does the study say what’s the amount of fat in their diet?

  • Imu2day

    Dr Greger, is there anything else I can do to lower may cholesterol. I have been vegan on a plant based diet for two years. My cholesterol has come down a lot but is still in the high range. I have hypothroid and was told that may be what is keeping my cholesterol high.

  • Ron Brown

    You start off talking about sudden cardiac death, and then you switch over to coronary artery disease. They are not the same thing. Sudden cardiac death often occurs without signs of coronary artery disease. Disturbances in the electrolyte physiology of the heart are often the etiological factor, not clogged arteries.