In support of a plant-based diet

Nov 4, 2016

Can we get all the nutrition we need from a plant-based diet?

Here are few takeaways from WSHU’s “Join the Conversation” with T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., author of Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (BenBella Books, 2014)

He believes that protein is grossly overemphasized in our diets. When Dr. Campbell ran tests in his lab at Cornell with rats, he observed that the higher the protein intake (casein from milk), the higher the incidence of tumors was seen. A protein intake of less than 10% led to no ill effects. Plant-based diets provide typically less than 10% protein maximum.

Plant-based diets have the needed antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins that are completely or nearly absent in animal products. Plants have 9-11% fat and protein, whereas animal foods have 15-20%.

Nutrition in our culture is studied in a very reductionist way (agreed!). We see foods as sums of individual chemicals rather than whole systems.

Many supplementation studies have not revealed benefits but rather an increase in disease and mortality.


What I take away from Dr. Campbell is this: whole food, plant-based diets are important, but I do believe that we are designed to consume some animal foods. We need vitamin B12, for one, that only comes from animals sources or supplementation. So, blood group diet guidance works for me – always based in whole foods and plants, but with additions of animal protein – free-range, organic beef; wild-caught fish, for example, specific for your blood type.

From a political/ nutrition perspective, Dr. Campbell pointed out that out of all of the government subsidies that go to food, only 1% of assistance supports fruits and vegetables, while more than half subsidizes the animal and dairy industry.

Definitely “food for thought.” Please schedule an appointment if you’d like to discuss what foods suit your body and lifestyle best.