Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I just finished reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. (Amazon)

It is a strong argument in favor of plant-based diets and focuses on the risks and the negative impact of animal-proteins on health. It is more about the science of vegan diets than Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman. For people who might be slightly turned-off by the sometimes salesy tone of Eat to Live, The China Study might be a better first book to read.

The China Study is an amazing argument with a large array of citations and references to supporting studies. The book also goes into the politics and the issues that cause the argument to continue to be called "controversial" by many. He shares war stories of meat and dairy industry interests getting in the way of an objective dialog and actively sabotaging and "spinning" the debate.

When I worked at Energy Conversion Devices, there was a similar resistance to alternative energy and I know all too well how effective this kind of active campaigning against disruptive science can be.

I am fairly convinced by the book that there is an active interest by those in power to prevent the public from consuming less meat and dairy and believe that information about nutrition and it's impact on our health is being prevented from reaching the public as well as our doctors. The book has provided additional incentive for me to look into the cited sources as well as explore how information about nutrition is reaching my friends in the medical profession.

I strongly suggest you read this book if you have any interest in health, diet and medicine.

EDIT: I should probably add, since people ask, the origin of the title. The author of the book was involved a massive "survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan" and describes and cites this study in the book.


what is their view (both Campell & Fuhrman's) on alcohol consumption relative to the health benefits of their diet ?

Have you stopped drinking 100% ?

I have stopped drinking completely. Fuhrman says you can drink a glass or so of alcohol if you really have to, but since they are "empty calories" it's not helpful for the diet. Alcohol is not an animal protein so it doesn't beat up on heavily in either book, but it has obvious negative effects on your liver that we all already know about.

I think it would probably fit in the same category as sugar or refined starched. Every calorie that doesn't come from whole plants is that much less nutritional useful stuff you're consuming.

Hello, Mr. Ito, I have been following your blog for years, but your interest in Eat to Live made me want to comment a lot ;).

Aside from Eat to Live, I read another book called Fantastic Voyage by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman. Its a very radical and controversial book, but the fundamental diets are very similar. The focus of Fantastic Voyage is life extension (always controversial), and there are some very interesting and radical claims in the book. It's definitely worth reading, as they predict what nutrition is going to be like in the next 50 years. Kurzweil's not for everyone, but I definately love his work.

I also bring this book up because they mention a couple health items that seem to be popular in Japan: Stevia (sweetener) and alkaline water machines. Do you have any views on either of these? Alkaline water seems to be the most controversial section of the book, and stevia is illegal to sell as a sweetener here in the USA (although its available as a "supplement"). Some claim its because of the NutraSweet empire, which came to market at the same time that stevia was banned by the FDA.


Court, sounds interesting. Yes, Ray Kurzweil is always interesting. ;-) I haven't read this book but will order it now.

I really don't know much about sweeteners although my diet blog post:

seems to be a popular post. ;-P

I would be interested in learning more about this.

There are way more arguments for not consuming animal products than health-based reasons. Ethics, for example. Cf. or (both domain names mean "animal rights pictures").

See also and .

I have seen these results before and when you see them plotted on a graph comparing diseases and longevity between chinese urban dwellers, rural dwellers and people elsewhere, it's quite shocking.

Anyway, I would like to hear the case *against* the China Study. I've never seen it reviewed by someone who didn't agree with it. provides a fairly damning review of the China Study. I actually purchased both Eat to Live and The China Study after reading your blog but am continuing to research before I decide what course to embark on. The connection mentioned between the Physicians Commitee on Responsible Medicine and PETA can be found elsewhere -- the link the reviewer provides is obviously bent on critiquing only left-leaning organizations and individuals. Wheels within wheels...
I very much hope you continue blogging your experience with the Eat to Live diet, thanks for the info so far!

Something I learned with all regional and/or racial studies of physiology: Everyone is different and no 2 are the same.

Weston Price approaches diet studies in the same way as the China study, many articles explain Massai, certain areas of Sweden, etc, where meat consumtion nears 100%. But, I am not Massai. I'm Norwegian, but Norwegians who eat traditional diets are not known for their health or longevity. Price's advocacy of milk cancels out anyone who can't digest lactose.

The biggest misconception against Eat to Live is the idea that vegetables don't have protein. It's pointed out in the book (and backed up when reading nutrition information), that calorie-for-calorie, vegetables such as spinach and kale have huge amounts of protein, more than beef or chicken or any other meat. You just have to learn how to 're-eat' in order to learn how to eat and enjoy large quantities of vegetables. You're also allowed to eat meat on the diet, it's just considered less aggressive if one chooses to do so.

I do believe that there are many on this planet who need meat, and some hi-vegetable diets that are popular advocate adding some salmon, such as Dr Weil and Fantastic Voyage. We are omnivores, and I don't believe we evolved this way if meat didn't play a large part in many people's diets.

In the end, everyone's different and one needs to listen to his/her body with complete objectivity when trying anything radical to what his/her body is used to.

Hi Joi,
I've really enjoyed reading about your experiences on this diet and I'm a big fan of E2L and the China Study. Thought you (and other posters) might be interested in these video clips from vegsource (another salesy site with some real info). There's a Q & A w/ Dr. Campbell where he responds to his critics that's particularly interesting.


Just bought the book... your blogging about health has been inspiring and educational. I really appreciate it.