‘Whole’ by T. Colin Campbell – Book Review

In reviewing this important book Dean Ornish, MD (Founder and President of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco;) writes “The Oxford English Dictionary says that being radical is (1) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something, far reaching or thorough; (2) characterised by departure from tradition; and (3) advocating through political or social reforms; I submit that Professor Campbell profoundly meets these tests and more. Read this book and see for yourself.” whole

In The China Study, T. Colin Campbell (alongside his son, Thomas M. Campbell) revolutionized the way we think about our food with the evidence that a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. Now, in Whole, he explains the science behind that evidence, and the ways our current scientific paradigm ignores the fascinating complexity of the human body, and why, even with such overwhelming evidence our eating habits haven’t changed.

What happens when you eat an apple? The answer is vastly more complex than you imagine. Every apple contains thousands of antioxidants whose names, beyond a few like vitamin C, are unfamiliar to us, and each of these powerful chemicals has the potential to play an important role in supporting our health. They impact thousands upon thousands of metabolic reactions inside the human body. But calculating the specific influence of each of these chemicals isn’t nearly sufficient to explain the effect of the apple as a whole. Because almost every chemical can affect every other chemical, there is an almost infinite number of possible biological consequences. And that’s just from an apple. Nutritional science, long stuck in a reductionist mindset, is at the cusp of a revolution. The traditional “gold standard” of nutrition research has been to study one chemical at a time in an attempt to determine its particular impact on the human body. These sorts of studies are helpful to food companies trying to prove there is a chemical in a supplement or processed food that is “good” for us, but they provide little insight into the complexity of what actually happens in our bodies or how those chemicals contribute to our health.

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T. Colin Campbell

Whole is an eye-opening, paradigm-changing journey through cutting-edge thinking on nutrition, a scientific tour de force with powerful implications for our health and for our world. Dr. Dean Ornish notes that “T. Colin Campbell, based on his long career in experimental research and health policy-making, uncovers how and why there is so much confusion about food and health and what can be done about it. His explanation is elegant, sincere, provocative, and far-reaching, including how we can solve our health-care crisis. Read and enjoy; there’s something here to inspire and offend just about everyone (sometimes the truth hurts).”

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