Can cancer be prevented or reversed by changing your diet? Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that the research he has conducted suggests the answer is yes. Dr. Campbell is the author of The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health. He talks with Dr. Oz about his decades of research and his findings on nutrition, health and diseases.
Dr. Campbell says that much of the research in The China Study points to higher rates of cancer and other chronic diseases in people who ate a diet of animal-based foods. He says that in certain areas of countries like China and the Philippines—where a plant-based diet is a way of life—cancer and other diseases do not naturally occur. "As soon as they start putting small amounts of animal food in their diet, basically blood cholesterol levels … start to go up … cancer starts to emerge, heart disease starts to appear," he says.
In light of his findings, Dr. Campbell, who grew up on a dairy farm, says he started eating an animal product-free diet, low in protein. "It turns out that protein—which is sort of the hallmark of animal-based foods—is associated with the emergence of these kinds of diseases, and it doesn't take a lot," he says. In fact, Dr. Campbell says a diet made up of about 10 percent protein is plenty enough, but he says most Americans consume between 11 and 22 percent. "As soon as we start exceeding the amount (of protein) that we actually need—and protein is an important nutrient—what happens is it just turns on cancer growth," he says.
In experiments using rats, Dr. Campbell says that cancer and other diseases can be reversed or stopped—even when the disease is in advanced stages—by introducing an animal-product free, low protein diet. "The concept that disease can be reversed, even when it is quite advanced, is really exciting," he says.
Dr. Campbell says that a diet as close to 100 percent plant-based as possible is optimal, but in the American society, it is hard to maintain. "It is hard because [animal-based diets] is the way our society has been cultured—this is the way we have been educated, this is the way the industry works," he says.