Episode 124. A Dialog with Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Oct 15, 2018 | 0 comments

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Show Notes

Best-selling author and nutrition scientist Dr. Thomas Colin Campbell joins Coach Scott Abel for a conversation about whole food-plant based diet, as well as commentary on the myths, business, and politics of nutrition.

Dr. Campbell’s new book, due out in 2019, seeks to answer the question “how can we know as much as we do [about plant-based diet], and still get pushback?” and also will attempt to find out why his evidence-based message on nutrition is so difficult for the establishment to accept.


Why is there so much resistance to plant-based dieting?

  • It’s the whole food—not the individual nutrient in that whole food—that matters.
  • Taking a single nutrient we think matters and put it in pill form doesn’t have the same benefit as when consumed in the whole food. Combinations of nutrients matter.
  • The supplement industry sells “single-cause-single-effect” products.
  • Scott uses the analogy of using vowels and exclamation points for writing. Just because they’re important doesn’t mean they should be used with abandon.
  • Dr. Campbell has gotten to know professional, hall-of-fame caliber athletes who have tried plant-based eating and improved, even when in the peak of their condition. Lower protein, not higher protein, is the key.
  • Most people think protein only comes from animals. We [can] get ideal levels of protein from plants.
  • Animal-based protein associates with increased risk for cancer and heart disease.
  • Oils out of a bottle, or refined sugars, are also a problem.
  • Dr. Campbell grew up on a dairy farm and never had any intention of learning what he has about dairy products.
  • The meat and dairy industries, as well as fitness industries, have a lot to lose if [plant-based eating] catches on.
  • Glutens belong to a class of compounds called lectins which affects a small percentage of the population (perhaps 2-3% but not 30 to 40% of the population).
  • The Plant Paradox falsely demonizes lectins as a class and which demonizes plant-based foods.
  • Complexity creates confusion. This plays into the hands of people who want to take a small piece of information and exploit it.
  • Fame and fortune take precedence to actually helping people.
  • Reliable science involves experimental testing of hypotheses, professional review of results and publication in peer-reviewed professional journals.
  • The average person doesn’t understand what makes one piece of research good or bad.
  • Campbell is 84, does not use drugs, although he acknowledges their value where they are clearly indicated.
  • Scott asks if there’s any supplement he’d recommend. B12 maybe.  It’s not harmful.
  • Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies offers an online course and certification in Plant-Based Nutrition.
  • If a dietary lifestyle of using whole plant-based foods were fully adopted, healthcare costs could be easily reduced by 70-80%.
  • Scott: Two essentials of any diet strategy: 1. Must be sustainable and 2. Must serve the body. Campbell agrees, particularly to sustainability.
  • We need to start thinking about sustainable food production.
  • Campbell doesn’t like the term “vegan.” It’s born out of ethical considerations and doesn’t take science into account. Also, the vegan diet has a high degree of fat in it…they’ve traded one type of fat for another.
  • Scientists whose work Dr. Campbell respects and admires:
    Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Pam Popper, Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Neal Barnard.


About Dr. Campbell

  • Thomas Colin Campbell, PhD., is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.
  • He received his Bachelor of Science from Penn State University, and his Masters’ Degree and PhD form from Cornell, where he currently works in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
  • Has dedicated his ~60-year professional life to the science of human health, focusing primarily on the correlation between diet and disease, and in particular, cancer.
  • Has authored 339 research papers, and is the recipient of more than 70 grant-years of peer reviewed research funding, mostly from the National Institutes of Health.
  • Campbell co-authored the landmark book, The China Study, with his son, Thomas Campbell MD, which has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide…and wrote the New York Times bestsellers Whole, and The Low Carb Fraud.
  • Several documentary films—Forks Over Knives, Eating You Alive, Food Matters, and PlantPure Nation—feature Dr. Campbell and his research.
  • He has been active in national and international policy development on food and health for over 20 years.
Select Books* on our topic by T. Colin Campbell

The China Study
The Low Carb Fraud
Whole, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
The Campbell Plan

* available on Amazon


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