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Review: Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Review: Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Every so often there comes a book that is a true legend of its time. A book that dives into real facts and exposes truths that most ignore. A book that inspires analytical thinking and promotes logical reasoning from a big picture perspective. A book that opens our eyes and expands our minds to connect dots and cultivate a deeper understanding about the topic at hand. And when it comes to nutritional science, Whole - Rethinking the Science of Nutrition is one such book. A book that is a must read if we want to make sense of the nutritional landscape before us today.

The field of nutrition today is far from what it was a few decades ago. What we have learned and researched, what has been proven on both a personal and collective level is leaps and bounds different compared to what we used to know. The landscape of nutritional science has vastly changed, yet most people, whether health or medical experts, as well as those in the general population are still operating from old paradigms where this vital area of life is concerned.

So perhaps it is no surprise to look around today and see not just small communities or developed nations, but a world in nutritional crisis. Chronic rates of disease are at all time highs, excess weight is more common than being fit, obesity is considered a disease, pharmaceutical medications are a daily part of life for many, and we are completely disconnected from knowing how to feed ourselves properly. But how did we get here? How did things get so far removed from the balance and perfection with which nature and all of her species operate?

To help us understand this issue and answer such questions comes along Whole - Rethinking the Science of Nutrition written by renowned nutrition expert Dr. Colin Campbell, along with coauthor Howard Jacobson. Whole is a book that covers the topics of "whole food" and "wholistic science" by giving us the "whole" picture. Due to the tremendous impact that this book is bound to have on our society, as well as your life, it is my immense pleasure to share with you why this book should be essential reading for anyone interested in increasing their awareness to make sense of our modern food, nutrition and medical systems.

About the Authors

Whole is written by Colin T. Campbell, along with Howard Jacobson, and was published in the spring of 2013.

Colin T. Campbell, PhD., is currently a Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. For over 50 years he has been at the forefront of nutrition research, authoring more than 300 professional research papers, and involved in research work internationally. He has lectured worldwide, been featured in numerous documentaries and media outlets, and is also the author of the best selling book The China Study.

To learn more about Dr. Campbell, visit TColinCampbell.org

Howard Jacobson, PhD., is an online marketing consultant, health educator and ecological gardener. He has degrees from Temple University and Princeton, and is also the coauthor of Google AdWords for Dummies.

To learn more about Howard, visit FitFam.com

Content Summary

Whole is just under 300 pages and composed of 4 parts, made up of 19 chapters.

Here is my summary of the book's content to share what you can expect to learn from this book and how it can benefit your life.

Part 1: Enslaved by the System

Chapter 1 - The Modern Health-Care Myth

  • Shares about the false promises of the modern medical system
  • Explains why the whole food, plant-based (WFPB) approach is the ideal human diet
  • Shares the 80-10-10 nutrient breakdown as an optimal dietary approach
  • Points out the societal reluctance to adopt a WFPB diet

Chapter 2 - The Whole Truth

  • Presents the proof and research in favour of a WFPB diet
  • Teaches how to evaluate research presented in society
  • Explains the concepts of statistical significance versus actual significance
  • Shares about the potential of using the diet as the first means to prevent, treat and reverse disease

Chapter 3 - My Heretical Path

  • Shares about Dr. Campbell's traditional scientific and research path
  • Shares about the discovery of the negative impacts of animal protein on our health and links to cancer
  • Shares about the shift in Dr. Campbell's approach to nutrition and health

I am now convinced that there is no healthier way to eat than a whole food, plant-based diet, without added fat, salt or refined carbohydrates.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Part 2: Paradigm as a Prison

Chapter 4 - The Triumph of Reductionism

  • Introduces the concept of reductionism versus wholism
  • Shares how and why so much science is flawed, as it studies parts out of context

Chapter 5 - Reductionism Invades Nutrition

  • Presents how reductionism has led to poor nutritional policy and confused consumers
  • Shares why nutrition resists the reductionist model and problems with nutritional reductionism
  • Explains why contradictory studies exist
  • Shares about the role of funding in what results get reported and how
  • Presents the compounding effects and bioavailability problems related to nutrients and supplements

Chapter 6 - Reductionist Research

  • Explains how wholism uses complex models to provide simple solutions
  • Explains how reductionism uses simple models to provide complex solutions
  • Explains why the Newtonian 17th century approach does not work for nutrition
  • Shares about the role of biomimicry and evolutionary biology in determining the most ideal human diet
  • Explains why nutrition cannot be tested like drugs are tested, needs a different approach

Chapter 7 - Reductionist Biology

  • Shares about some of the studies done and why the one nutrient-one disease hypothesis fails
  • Demonstrates the profound complexity of just one enzyme, in one reaction (never mind the whole body)

Chapter 8 - Genetics versus Nutrition, Part 1

  • Explains why the DNA/gene mapping venture is a dead end since genes do not function external of their environment
  • Explains the biology basics of DNA, RNA and protein
  • Explains the role of nutrition in turning on/off our genes

Chapter 9 - Genetics versus Nutrition, Part 2

  • Examines the root of disease with respect to genes
  • Shares a model of cancer development
  • Talks about synthetic versus naturally occurring chemicals and their link to cancer
  • Shares how current cancer theories completely undermine nutrition
  • Shares why mixing nutrition with cancer information is not a popular approach

Chapter 10 - Reductionist Medicine

  • Explains how modern medicine only reacts to problems rather than focusing on preventing them, and treats symptoms rather than causes
  • Explains how the reductionist based medical treatment needs multiple drugs and increases toxicity within the body
  • Shares about the single disease tunnel vision that we have today

Chapter 11 - Reductionist Supplementation

  • Explains why we cannot use isolated compounds in supplements or isolate nutrients and think we are doing a good thing for our body, or anything equivalent to the efficacy of whole food
  • Shares about the impacts of the reductionist infiltration in the field of alternative health
  • Provides an examination of top supplement studies, including vitamin E, omega-3 and beta-carotene
  • Explains how nutrients do not act alone, and when they act alone, they act improperly

Chapter 12 - Reductionist Social Policy

  • Explains how animal food production is a waste of resources with links to unsustainability and global climate change
  • Shares about the UN Report findings that show animal food production is the worst for climate health
  • Shares about the implications of animal food with respect to animal cruelty, testing, farming methods and human poverty

Nutrition has a wholistic effect on health; one that we consistently miss and misinterpret when we focus on isolated nutrients.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Part 3: Subtle Power and Its Wielders

Chapter 13 - Understanding the System

  • Explains how profit is at the centre of the healthcare system
  • Brings to our awareness how we as consumers are driving the very problems we do not want
  • Shares about the role of the industry and disease foundations
  • Explains the market manipulation with the collusion of the government
  • Explains how reductionism causes new problems, as it solves an old one
  • Explains the source of subtle power that continues to fuel bad behaviour

Chapter 14 - Industry Exploitation and Control

  • Examines the medical, pharmaceutical and supplement industries
  • Shares personal story about direct industry manipulation
  • Explains how the root of the problem is in the system, not at the individual level

Chapter 15 - Research and Profit

  • Explains what true science is and how today's science is not true science, rather mere technology
  • Explains why more wholistic studies and results are not pursued, as modern science rewards the reductionist path alone
  • Explains the funding and research conflicts that support profit seeking funding
  • Explains the problems associated with too narrowly focused research and how it cannot speak about the whole picture

Chapter 16 - Media Matters

  • Explains the role of the media today, its poor representation and lack of quality journalism
  • Shares about the lack of honesty, integrity and credibility in scientific journals
  • Explains how the media tells the story that the industry wants people to hear
  • Explains why studies are so contradicting as they share out of context details and mislead by omission
  • Shares how what is presented through media today results in bias, confusion and the omission of inconvenient data

Chapter 17 - Government Misinformation

  • Explores the influence of 'Big Pharma', 'Big Insurance' and 'Big Medicine'
  • Explains how bills are simply passed around without tackling actual healthcare issues
  • Explains how the nutrition labels and government guidelines are responsible for health misinformation
  • Explores why it is impossible to measure nutrients precisely and the impacts of sharing inaccurate information about nutrients

Chapter 18 - Blinded by the Light Bringers

  • Examines the role and agenda of the agencies and foundations that claim to be working towards the treatment or eradication of a disease
  • Explains how the foundation of such groups is still profit and not overall health
  • Explains how profit and power gets in the way of seeking actual solutions or treatments
  • Shares how the American Cancer Society is pro-chemicals, anti-diet and anti-alternative approaches
  • Shares how the MS society is funded by junk food and pharma
  • Shares how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics misinforms the public to protect junk food sponsors

All in all, the story the media tells us about health and nutrition comes from a script written by the very people who profit from our pain and suffering.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Part 4: Final Thoughts

Chapter 19 - Making Ourselves Whole

  • Shares about the importance of changing how we think about nutrition and making it a cornerstone of the healthcare system
  • Summarizes personal and collective shifts needed to attain a more wholistic understanding of nutrition and health
  • Explains why true and most important change will come from the individual level, not the governing or organization level

Personal Commentary

Being a fan of Dr. Campbell's work now for several years, thanks to his works like The China Study and many other features like Forks Over Knives, I was excited and eager to experience his newest addition. I had the feeling that it would be immensely valuable, as is all of Dr. Campbell's work. Even though I expected it to be an important resource, I was still in for a surprise as to how profound and eloquent the information shared in this book was in terms of what and how it was presented.

Since I began my personal journey into living personally and teaching others about optimal nutrition through a whole food, plant-based approach it was all too common to address the challenges of nutritional misinformation, contradictions and fallacies common throughout our society today. How could one study be saying one thing, and another contradicting the very same thing? More importantly why were studies like this promoted as some nutritional truths that millions of people would be basing their choices on? And why were so many health and nutrition organizations teaching such counterproductive things when it came to real health through our dietary choices? These and similar questions were at the center of my own research, and although I unravelled many layers to get to the truth and core of the issues at hand, it still felt like some piece was missing. That was until I read Whole.

Thanks to this book I found what I consider the "final piece" in seeing and understanding the big picture where the modern field of health and nutrition is concerned. I knew that the science — the source of the information in our society today — was flawed, but the actual basis for this flaw evaded me. Sure I had heard about the reductionist or Newtonian science before and how limited it was across all areas of science, I just never realized how powerfully and restrictively it represented the field of health and nutrition. It was thanks to Dr. Campbell's eloquent, comprehensive and transparent dialogue about reductionism versus wholism in science, nutrition and the industry that the final piece came together for me.

The implications of this book for my own work are profound, as it gives me the support and courage I needed to take the final step where helping others understand optimal nutrition goes. This book does an outstanding job at bringing to light modern nutrition flaws and challenges. It also provides solid and reputable explanations for the state of things where our education systems, organizations and governments are concerned. After all, people cannot get healthy if they are being 'fed' the wrong information. The book exposes facts, as much as it teaches them. It provides a critical analysis and empowers us to be more discerning thinkers where the science of nutrition is concerned. It fills in the gaps, busts myths and connects the dots so that the reader can gain a more complete view and understanding of the state of health and nutrition prevalent today.

One of the most amazing parts of this book, which is one of its many highlights is how simple and elegant the solution is for fixing the healthcare crisis, our health and the health of the environment. A whole food, plant-based diet — it really could't get any simpler! And yet it appears that most of society is determined not to have this solution play out. We can all do it instantly, right now on an individual level. If our leaders wanted to, they can also make it happen on a collective level. Yet, something is preventing us from budging. This is again where Whole describes point by point, fact by fact why we have a society so insistent on sabotaging its own health. However, it is time on both an individual and collective level to shift away from the limiting reductionist approach and embrace a more wholistic perspective when it comes to the research, findings and applications.

Aside from the outstanding content, I very much appreciated how the information was shared. There is a clear cut transparency and obvious authenticity to the author's approach. Dr. Campbell addresses all angles and lays it all out for us in that "nothing to lose" sort of way. He also uses excellent, easy to comprehend analogies to explain harder to grasp scientific concepts, or simply to prove a point. There are some diagrams included throughout the book as well that further support some of the information shared.

So in summary, what can you gain from this book? This book will teach you and help you make sense of the maze that the field of nutrition has become today. Although it only spends about a paragraph giving the reader the specifics of what they should eat, it dedicates most of the book to understanding why this powerful approach is not readily accepted. You will learn how and why the health and nutrition organizations operate as they do, as well as why the government shares the resources on health and nutrition that it does. You will learn the role of the media and other outlets in perpetrating false information. You will learn how to see through the false agendas of the organizations and foundations that operate to give the illusion that they are searching for "a cure". It will definitely make you think twice before you donate your time or money to another disease charity. You will learn about the tight relationship that your diet has with cancer, as well as other states of ill health. You will learn how supplements are often more a waste of money and false security than anything else. And finally you will learn that you do not need to wait for anything or anyone else to change but yourself, in order to benefit from a state of excellent health.

Perhaps it's time to stop declaring war on ourselves through toxic drugs and dangerous surgeries, and instead treat ourselves with kindness by feeding ourselves the sorts of foods shown to grow and sustain healthy, vibrant people and cultures.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

Highlights

Here is a summary of the general highlights of the book:

  • Outstanding presentation of multifactorial facts and information
  • Eye opening, enlightening and mind expanding
  • Highly empowering, motivating and inspiriting
  • Encourages and mobilizes us to take personal action
  • Connects the dots for us between data presented to us
  • Provides clear outlines of the causes and effects we see prevalent in our society
  • Truly worthy of being called scientific and based on credible science
  • Progressive in its approach for real solutions
  • Presents the details and the big picture
  • Authentic and transparent presentation of information
  • Transformational and life changing as to what we believe to be true about nutrition, health and the many organizational "systems" and corporations

Limitations

  • Includes some science focused content (i.e. studies and specific results) that may be challenging for some readers to fully comprehend or be interested in

Conclusion

In conclusion, this is one of those rare, few books that will play a major role in shifting the paradigms of how we think and approach health and nutrition in our society. I am not only proud to support and share about it with others, but also to recommend it as a must read for anyone interested in understanding their health, the system and nutrition fully for themselves.

I know this book has made me more "whole" in my approach of how I will continue to teach and help others understand nutrition for optimal health. And I know it will have a tremendous impact on your life as well. So experience this book for yourself to see the whole picture of science and nutrition, and enjoy the benefits of clarity when it comes to making the best choices for your health and quality of life.

As an added bonus to this topic, I invite you to watch the following video episode, which features an interview I had the pleasure of doing with coauthor Howard Jacobson to talk about some of the themes addressed in Whole.

Availability

The book can be found in local bookstores and libraries, as well as from all major online book retailers, like Amazon.com (see image info below).

Published Jun 25th 2013
Updated Dec 6th 2013
Evita Ochel
Author Evita Ochel
Evita is a consciousness expansion teacher. Her diverse passions and expertise include being a writer, speaker, holistic nutritionist, web TV host, and author of the book Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition. Her health oriented teaching focuses on natural, whole, plant-based and organic nutrition for optimal health and longevity. Her spiritually oriented teaching focuses on consciousness expansion and heart-centered living for optimal joy and inner peace. Evita is also the creator of several online publications: Evolving Beings, Evolving Wellness, Evolving Channels and Evolving Scenes, as well as Healthytarian—a lifestyle for the well-being of the mind, body and spirit.

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