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Forks Over Knives And The China Study: Endophilia Cell Damage And More

Updated on January 2, 2014

The China Study is an investigation into the relationship between animal protein and degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The study was headed up by Professor T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. who has been a researcher, lecturer and policy advisor for cancer and nutrition for almost 40 years. The study is considered to be "the most comprehensive survey of the connection between diet and disease in world medical history." The New York Times called the investigation the "Grand Prix of all epidemiological studies." Professor Campbell states in his report about the study that there is a major difference between this study and all previous studies that relate to degenerative disease and nutrition. All previous studies focused on "single factors and single diseases" which have produced inconsistent result because they were conducted in developed countries where the majority of people eat a similar diet.

In rural China where the project was conducted, unique conditions exist making it the ideal "living laboratory." Most of the people live their entire lives close to the place of their birth and due to strongly held local traditions and the lack of food distribution most people consume locally produced foods. Another major factor that makes rural China the ideal study location is the huge rate at which the prevalence of diseases vary from region to region. The China Project is the first major study to look at "diseases as they really are, multiple outcomes of many interrelated factors."

The China Study was published in 1990 after a decade of intense effort showing more than 94,000 correlations between diet and disease. One of the major findings of the study is that diseases considered to be a normal part of aging, are not normal. The findings indicate that most cancers, cardiovascular disease and other types of degenerative disease are preventable with a plant based diet. Another significant discovery involved the relationship between milk consumption and osteoporosis. For years people have been told to drink milk to prevent osteoporosis. Campbell's research with high dairy consumers proved the opposite to be true. Consuming either high or low-fat milk leads to acidosis in the body. In an attempt to bring an alkaline/acid balance the body leaches calcium from the bones which leads to osteoporosis.

During the same time Campbell was working on the China Study, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn was conducting a compelling study of his own that examined the effects of diet on endophilia cells which are the lining of veins and arteries. In 1988 scientists discovered that endophilia cells produce nitric oxide which causes blood to flow smoothly and inhibits the formation of plaque and inflammation. The study showed that when the typical animal protein diet was consumed that endophilia cells were damaged and veins and arteries no longer had a defense against plaque and inflammation. However, when a strictly plant based diet was consumed, the damage to these cells ceased and was actually reversed. Furthermore a strictly plant-based diet has been found to completely reverse all forms of degenerative disease.

Forks Over Knives Official Trailer

The recently made film documentary "Forks over Knives" studies in depth the findings of Dr. Collin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. The film explores changes in the American diet in the last 100 years. Around the turn of the 20th century, Americans consumed about 120lbs of meat annually. By 2007 that number rose to 222lbs. In 1909, Americans consumed about 290lbs of dairy products, but by 2006 intake rose to 605lbs. One big reason for the dramatic rise in consumption of meat and dairy is because protein has been promoted as the most important nutrient for good health. It has been believed and taught that the only way to get the protein requirements needed for good health is by consuming animal protein. The research clearly shows that consuming animal protein does not promote good health.

Research has found that cholesterol is the substance that builds up in arteries, which leads to heart disease. Countless studies have proven that the only dietary sources of cholesterol come from meat, dairy and eggs and that this type of cholesterol tends to stay in the blood stream and causes arteries to become clogged.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn made some startling discoveries when he began to study cancer geographically. Among the studies he found that in 1958 the number of deaths from prostate cancer in Japan was 18 but in the United State which was approximately twice the population of Japan, deaths from prostate cancer were 14,000. In all the geographic studies performed showing near nonexistence of cancer there was the absence of meat and dairy. One of his most interesting findings involved historical data that had been overlooked.

In World War 11 the Germans occupied Norway. One of the first things they did was to take all the livestock to feed their troops. The Norwegians only option was to consume a totally plant-based diet. The death rate from heart disease up until this time had been steadily rising for years. During the years the Norwegians ate no animal protein there was a huge drop in heart disease. After the war they began to consume animal protein again which caused a huge rise in deaths from heart disease once again.

John McDougall M.D. studied the change in diet in Japanese people who moved to Hawaii. He found that those who ate totally plant base diet in their homeland were thin and healthy into their 80's and 90's. However their children and children's children whose diet had changed to an animal protein diet in Hawaii became overweight and developed degenerative diseases.

The main reasons many people feel the need to eat animal protein today is because of a belief that it is the only way to get the protein we need from food. The truth the research from Dr. Campbell And Dr. Esselstyn reveals that a whole food plant-based diet provides all the protein and other nutrients we need to live a long and healthy life.


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    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg COA OSC 

      6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      I don't mean to be rude, and this hub is wonderful. But there is a key error: it's not endophilia cells, it's actually endothelial cells. Indeed it's an easy mistake to make, but your hub is wonderful!

    • techygran profile image


      6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      thank you for this hub, Steve... we are long-time flexitarians, having run the gamut from a meat-eating childhood to the "Small Planet" style of vegetarian in the early 70s (ah, all those eggs, all that cheese)through vegan and into raw veganism for a bit, and every so often eating some salmon or turkey. But we have great respect for the recently published research by the authors involved in "Forks Over Knives" and others. We are back to being vegan, and low fat vegan, too. Your hub is a good reference for when we are feeling tempted to chow down on something with a mother and a face... voted up!

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Hi Steve, Thanks much for the reply. However, it is generally assumed that neurological degeneration cannot be reversed, merely slowed/stopped, with better diet. I doubt that a 5+ year ongoing dementia can really be cured, especially when CT scans and MRIs show definitive brain mass shrinkage and loss. I am referring to my mother in this case, who has been diagnosed with the dementia FTD. My long-term care article discusses some of her health issues. Her neurologist stated that the damage was irreversible.

    • profile image

      Melissa Goulet 

      6 years ago

      Great Article! You said everything I have been trying to say for years! Thank you!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Fascinating hub, steve ... thanks.

      I am always interested in nutritional research and this has given me a lot of food for thought ... so to speak.

    • stevemark122000 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Sunnie!

      Hally, as with all degenerative diseases, a plant based diet is effective at stopping and reversing the damage caused by meat, dairy, damaged fats, msg and simple sugars.

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Any word on how a meat-free and dairy-free diet affects Chinese rates of neurologically degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's and other dementias?

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      This book honestly changed my life. It was one of the first books I read in my transition to being a vegetarian. This book is wonderful and will honestly make you rethink your diet choices..




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