Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by Dr. T. Colin Campbell - Book Review

This summer spawned the publication of Dr. T. Colin Campbell's latest book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. This was a follow up to his bestseller The China Study  which took the nutrition world by storm back in 2005 and continues to be a leading seller today. Today I provide a book review on Whole.

Both The China Study and Whole paint a picture (and very intriguing one at that) of the health and nutrition world as it's come to exist today. While The China Study gives more of the intricate details of the individual studies relating to health and nutrition, Whole focuses on the bigger picture of how it all fits together within our current "system". Dr. Campbell lays out how a reductionist approach to nutrition, health, and medicine functions within our current system, and, more importantly, why the system operates the way it does.

Whole is comprised of three main parts followed by Dr. Campbell's engaging thoughts in Part IV on how we should move forward if we wish to turn around the current disease-care system we've come to know today.

Whole - Part I - Enslaved by The System

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
Part I of Whole plants a seed in readers to think differently. It reveals a wholistic approach towards our healthcare system as we move forward. The present-day strategies of using pills, procedures, and/or surgeries to combat the epidemic of chronic disease is, for all intensive purposes, not working. Instead, Dr. Campbell enlightens us on the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet in our quest to end the epidemic of sickness and suffering.

Part I goes on to detail Dr. Campbell's background of how he grew up on a dairy farm and then made his subsequent entrance into the scientific world as a leading nutritional biochemist looking to rid the world of hunger and malnourishment. The details of his upbringing provide a very telling story with a surprising twist of fate.

Chapter 1 - The Modern-Day Health-Care Myth
Chapter 2 - The Whole Truth
Chapter 3 - My Heretical Path


"If the whole foods, plant-based diet were a pill, its inventor would be the wealthiest person on earth. Since it isn't a pill, no market forces conspire to advocate for it. No mass media campaign promotes it. No insurance company coverage pays for it. Since it isn't a pill, and nobody has figured out how to get hugely wealthy by showing people how to eat it, the truth has been buried by half-truths, unverified claims, and downright lies." 〜 excerpt from chapter 1 of Whole - Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Whole - Part II - Paradigm as Prison

Part II of Whole unveils the reductionist mindset that besets our current research, medical, and social systems as they relate to health and medicine today. For those hearing the word reductionist for the first time, it is defined simply as "an attempt to or tendency to explain a complex set of facts, entities, phenomena, or structures by another, simpler set". In other words, it focuses on the finer details of a much larger picture instead of how these details fit into the bigger picture itself.

As an example, Dr. Campbell explains how we focus on studying the vitamin C content of an apple for its role in human health instead of studying the effect of the entire apple in its role on human health. Both analyses are important, but by overemphasizing the finer details of a single nutrient (in this case vitamin C) we miss the bigger picture of the system itself and how all the interconnected parts within this system interact with each other.

Chapter 4 - The Triumph of Reductionism
Chapter 5 - Reductionism Invades Nutrition
Chapter 6 - Reductionist Research
Chapter 7 - Reductionist Biology
Chapter 8 - Genetics versus Nutrition, Part One
Chapter 9 - Genetics versus Nutrition, Part Two
Chapter 10 - Reductionist Medicine
Chapter 11 - Reductionist Supplementation
Chapter 12 - Reductionist Social Policy


"If you are a reductionist, you believe that everything in the world can be understood if you understand all of its component parts. A wholist, on the other hand, believes that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts... there's no inherent conflict between the reductionist techniques of science and an overarching wholistic outlook... wholism encompasses reductionism, just as each whole emcompasses its parts." 〜 excerpt from chapter 4 of Whole - Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Whole - Part III - Subtle Power And Its Wielders

Part III of Whole discusses how and when the information of science, health, and nutrition ends up in the hands of both consumers and healthcare professionals.

Information is important. The more information we have the better, for it provides the means for us to make informed decisions relating to our health. However, much of the information made available to us is controlled by those who have the greatest financial interests in connection with this information. Hence, we are inundated with scientific studies, reviews, news reports, advertisements, and more which heavily favor the industries that make up our current system.

Dr. Campbell gives a deeper look on what happens behind the scenes within these various industries. The race for market share and ever-increasing profits has definitely made its mark on the system we currently live in today.

Chapter 13 - Understanding the System
Chapter 14 - Industry Exploitation and Control
Chapter 15 - Research and Profit
Chapter 16 - Media Matters
Chapter 17 - Government Misinformation
Chapter 18 - Blinded by the Light Bringers


"Our society embraces the sentimental notion promoted by Big Pharma that the pharmaceutical industry is a selfless group of scientists, motivated only by an intellectual hunger and desire to serve humankind, toiling away to discover the cure for cancer or diabetes or heart disease. That perception exists largely because Big Pharma is so skilled at pretending to be good while manipulating the public's emotions.〜 excerpt from chapter 14 of Whole - Dr. T. Colin Campbell

My Overall Impression and Thoughts on Whole

I enjoyed reading Dr. Campbell's latest book Whole immensely! He did a fantastic job at presenting the facts on a subject that, all too often, is made to be very complex. I have an extraordinary amount of appreciation for his approach towards achieving optimal health via a WFPB diet. As a clinical pharmacist, I was educated and trained to use evidence-based data (in context of the reductionist paradigm) to use medications and supplements in hopes of providing better health for the patients I serve. I now know that this approach will never work, for it is missing the bigger picture. The honesty, integrity, and straightforward approach used by Dr. Campbell in achieving optimal health has given me a new outlook on health and medicine, not to mention life itself. Dr. Campbell's brilliant work, as laid out in The China Study, and now in Whole, has completely changed the way I think about healthcare today. It has given me the insight I hope my professional colleagues will embrace as we step forward into the future of medicine.

For anyone wanting to take back control of their own health this is a must read! You will gain a clear understanding of the Big Picture as it relates to your health. You will have a better understanding of how the "systems" involved in producing better "health" in our current-day society directly affect your ability to do just that. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own health. The decisions you make on a day to day basis play a much larger role than ever thought before in determining your eventual destiny. Whole  can unquestionably serve as an important resource for you in achieving the best possible outcome. The revolution to take back our health starts now with a grassroots effort from individuals like yourself. After all, the wealthy and powerful few at the top have too much to lose by initiating it themselves


"If we are truly to understand the meaning of nutrition, its effect on the body, and its potential to transform our collective health, we must stop seeing reductionism as the only method by which to achieve progress and start seeing it as a tool, the results of which can only be properly evaluated within the wholistic framework. And we must be willing to embrace wholism beyond the realm of nutrition... I realize that what I'm proposing here is a tectonic shift in the way we think about nutrition, medicine, and health. The process may not be easy. But it is possible.〜 excerpt from chapter 19 of Whole - Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Read more about Whole HERE or purchase your very own copy from Amazon below.

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

Check out Dustin Rudolph's book The Empty Medicine Cabinet to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today's common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on foods versus medications in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

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1 comment:

  1. It is good to challenge and question conventional wisdom. i like your ideas.


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