I read The China Study (by T Colin Campbell PhD, pub 2005) a few weeks ago after receiving it as a gift. I always view such books skeptically and became increasingly so after the first few pages and jumping ahead to the recommended eating style. But, I kept reading, skipping around looking for
the methodology and the collaborating independent studies and other researchers/MD's who have reached the same results. It's all there. The clincher is that's it's born out very well by lab (animal) studies, population studies and human trials. I doubt that the conclusion that animal-based protein is bad for your health will be shot down, though I wish it would be.
The gist of the extensive reported research is that heart disease, cancer, obesity, mental degeneration with age and so forth are diseases of the affluent. The rural poor of the world consume far more calories than we do (adjusted for physical activity) and have more than an order of magnitude less disease and obesity problems than we do (age adjusted). Before the industrial revolution in the US, we too had far less of these diseases of affluence because the vast majority of Americans were too poor to eat much animal based protein.
The book may not be as controversial as it sounds. If you were to eat the 8 or 9 servings a day of fruit and vegetables recommended by the Government (USDA), you wouldn't have room for much meat and milk products anyway.
The discussion of why there is so much conflicting, changing and miss-information on nutrition and the politics of nutrition are sufficient reasons by themselves to read The China Study. I suggest everyone should spend the roughly $ 11.00 to read a used paperback at least. You can also read the 130 or so Reviews on Amazon. Whether you decide to modify your diet ore not is not as important as having the most complete and current information on all aspects of nutrition available. It's very readable.
An amusing short chapter on how long it has been known that animal protein is not all that healthy quotes some writings of Plato some 2500 years ago where he recounts a discussion between Socrates and Glaucon. Glaucon is arguing that the citizens should eat meat to make the city a more luxurious place. Socrates argues against it because then the city will become overrun with doctors and lawyers.