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Why Is Nutrition Ignored in Medicine? | Campbell

Professor Campbell explains the reasons why nutrition and its impact on health are not considered relevant in medicine.
16:42 English English

Professor Campbell explains the reasons why nutrition and its impact on health are not considered re

TEDx talks
Published on:
3 December 2018
T. Colin Campbell
Number of views:
472'836 on 7 September 2021
Health, Principles/General, Medicine, Nutrition
Functional Food, Vegan nutrition
Healthy, Wholesome, Health

As a renowned researcher and author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell has been involved in numerous research studies on the effect of food and nutrition on cancer development. In his book The China Study, he summarizes an overwhelming amount of evidence from studies conducted by renowned scientists. He shows that eating significantly less animal protein is the most crucial step in preventing common lifestyle diseases.

According to Dr. Campbell, when done right, nutrition can create more health than all the pills and procedures combined.

01:14: Unfortunately, nutrition is not properly taught in medical schools, if at all. Moreover, Dr.Campbell points out that “about 130 medical specialties are used for reimbursement for medical services, but none is named <nutrition>.”

The general public is also massively confused by the quantity of contradictory information available on this topic, struggling to differentiate between various sources and messages. He emphasizes two main ideas that, in his opinion, will allow people to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat whole foods, not individual nutrients or food fragments of them
  • Eat plant-based — plants provide all the protein needed for optimum health

Even though nutrient supplements are a huge industry, nutrients alone do not have the same impact on the body as they do when they are consumed in foods. This applies to nutrients taken out of plants as well.

05:06: Dr. Campbell presents the results of a research study that analyzed the effect of animal-based protein on cancer development (Animal Protein and Early Cancer, Appleton and Campbell, 1983; Youngman and Campbell, 1992). This allowed him to conclude that cancer is not a genetic disease, even though cancer starts with a gene being mutated.

During the experimental animal study, researchers started with a mutated gene and followed the progression of early cancer over the first 12 weeks. When the mice with the mutated gene were fed a diet with 5 % protein, no tumor developed. However, when the amount of protein was increased to 20 %, the cancer incidence grew significantly. When the diet alternated between 5 and 20 % protein, the cancer development was switched on and off accordingly. This proves that nutrition is essential in cancer development and that even if all of us might have cancer genes, they remain silent until they are nourished.

7:40: Most of our thinking about nutrition is focused on individual nutrients and their impact on the human body and health. However, the amount of nutrients we consume (and can calculate) has nothing to do with the amount actually functioning in the body. Moreover, individual nutrients use multiple mechanisms to cause their effects, and they work best within the whole food context, not as isolated chemicals.

Nutrition is not a function of individual nutrients and adding up these effects, it’s all of them working together. Moreover, animal protein foods and plant food fragments displace the consumption of whole plant foods.

When done right, the kind of diet that prevents future problems can actually be used to treat existing problems, with little or no side effects (unlike drug therapy). Interestingly, the results can be observed very fast, in a matter of days or weeks.  

12:34: Dr. Campbell addresses an essential question: “Why is nutrition not taken seriously by the medical profession?” The answer could be that medicine is “reductionist,” looking at one single thing at a time. By emphasizing a single drug or a single mechanism at a time, it promotes “third-person health care,” shifting the responsibility from the patient to outside factors (e.g., hospitals and doctors).

On the other hand, nutrition works comprehensively; all mechanisms are changed in the same direction to create the same response. It also prompts people to ask themselves “what should I eat,” which leads to “first-person care” and brings the locus of control back to the patient.

14:27: By addressing the second most important question — “Why is nutrition not taken seriously by the nutrition science profession?” Dr. Campbell points out that the level of corporate interference and control in this field is too high. In addition, the corruption at the national level and in health policy departments makes the situation even worse.

Dr. Campbell finished by calling for a new approach to nutrition, a re-design of this field, which he creatively names Nutrition Renaissance.

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