Even with no randomized studies proving that you should?
What should humans be eating? That’s the question that I began studying in 2002. Six months later, I concluded—without a doubt—that we should be eating a whole foods, plant-based diet. From my “big picture” industrial engineering point of view, it just made total sense. For me, it was a blinding flash of the obvious. But, it has still never been “proven” with randomized clinical studies that WFPB is the best diet for humans.
It has also never been proven from randomized studies that we should be breathing air, drinking water and having sex. But we all do it anyway. So why is our food any different? Because there’s a lot of money riding on the continuation of our love affair with meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods three meals a day. And the “experts” who want that diet-style to continue have tons of randomized studies to support their case.
Why aren’t there any randomized studies supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet? Because no one has put up the money to pay for them. But like air, water and sex—I don’t think we need those studies in order to be certain what we should be eating.
I think we just need to explain the WHOLE impact that the way we eat has on our health, our planet and the long-term sustainability of our species. Once people everywhere fully understand the “big picture,” many of them will choose WFPB—because it’s the “obvious” solution to so many of the world’s problems.
Dr. Campbell says you must study the WHOLE body to understand how nutrition really works. Likewise, I say that we must study the WHOLE world to understand what we should be eating—indeed what we must be eating—if we want to ensure the long-term survival of our great-grandchildren and their great-grandchildren.
On Sunday morning, I watched two videos (provided below) featuring two separate debates between Dr. Campbell and “experts” who promote meat-based eating.
Both of the experts he debated have impressive credentials as you can see at the end of this blog. My conclusion after watching both videos was that we can’t win these battles with a bunch of randomized studies. We must appeal to the common sense of the billions of humans who truly want to do the right thing.
What if I were debating? Since I am not a doctor or a scientist, I would rely on my “industrial engineering” view of the “BIG PICTURE” to make my case—and I think that I could get that done in four minutes with a dozen slides.
The Bottom Line. The arguments supporting a whole foods, plant-based diet are many and they are sound. The problem is that arguing about the findings of randomized clinical studies does nothing to help enlighten the casual listener to the staggering and disturbing consequences of our highly popular food choices in the western world.
Another problem is that over 90% of our medical doctors and our nutritional scientists are currently eating meat, dairy and eggs on a regular basis. Naturally, they want to go on believing that they (and their parents) haven’t been wrong all these years. They want to hear good news about their bad habits and they particularly like it when they hear that news from highly pedigreed experts.
Regarding the debates mentioned earlier; it was watching them that inspired me to go ahead and publish my 4-minute PowerPoint (soon to be a video) mentioned earlier.
For your convenience, here are the credentials for the two MDs featured in the following debates with Dr. Campbell.
Dr. Eric C. Westman. Associate professor of medicine at Duke University Health System and director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. He combines clinical research and clinical care to deliver lifestyle treatments for obesity, diabetes and tobacco dependence. He is an internationally-known researcher specializing in low-carbohydrate nutrition. Dr. Westman is currently the vice president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and a fellow of the Obesity Society and the Society of General Internal Medicine. He is also co-author of New Atkins for a New You.
Dr. Loren Cordain. Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. His research emphasis over the past 15 years has focused upon the evolutionary and anthropological basis for diet, health and well being in modern humans. Dr. Cordain is the author of more than 100 peer review publications, many of which were funded by both private and governmental agencies. He is the recent recipient of the Scholarly Excellence award at Colorado State University for his contributions into understanding optimal human nutrition. He is the author of The Paleo Diet.
In this debate (Campbell v. Westman), each of them had 18 minutes to make their case. Dr. Campbell for a whole foods, plant-based diet and Dr. Westman for a high protein, high fat, low carb diet. Then, they had a rebuttal and some Q & A from the audience. My guess is that the people who arrived as meat-eaters also left as meat-eaters. Each side probably feels like their guy won.
80-minute debate with Dr. Westman
30-minute discussion with Dr. Cordain on Larry King Now
- Call me at 917-399-9700 if you’d like me to speak at your venue. That’s what you can do to help ensure the longterm sustainability of our species.
- One of my 2012 blogs on this topic. How many PhDs does it take to figure out what we should eat?
- Click here to order WHOLE from Amazon.
- From their 2013 Spring Journal. The Kaiser Permanente Plant-Based Diets paper.
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation