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AICR, the China Study, and Forks Over Knives

The China Study book cover

The China Study

Wherever we go, friends and family members are talking about Colin Campbell’s book, The China Study.  They ask us our take on the documentary Forks Over Knives, which keys off of The China Study and shows people taking greater control over their health by turning away from the traditional meat-centered, high-sugar American meal and adopting healthier, plant-based diets.

This increased awareness of the importance of plant-based eating is something all of us at AICR welcome.

A Long History

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study, was with AICR at our very beginning, serving as our Senior Science Advisor. AICR provided substantial support to Dr. Campbell’s China Project.

In those early years, over three decades ago now, AICR was a new cancer charity striving to get out the urgent message that diet plays a role in cancer risk. That message has since become widely accepted by the medical and scientific community throughout the world, but in those early days it was still considered a radical, “fringe” notion.

In the decades that have passed since we helped fund the China Project, AICR has published our own independent reports and instituted a process to continuously and comprehensively update the global evidence.

The Next Step

In a very real sense, the AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project (CUP) goes beyond the general conclusions of the China Study. Our reports and updates use a rigorous and objective approach to identify key cause-and-effect relationships between foods and nutrients, physical activity, and cancer.

Our methods and specific conclusions differ from Dr. Campbell’s in several ways, but our bottom-line message is the same: Diets that revolve around whole plant foods – vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans – cut the risk of many cancers, and other diseases as well. This advice has been translated into AICR’s 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

But diet is only a piece of the puzzle. Our reports show that the link between excess body fat and cancer is just as convincing.

That means the obesity epidemic now raging through our society and our schools will result in millions of cancers in the decades ahead, unless we take action today.

The Three Changes That Matter Most

So: What specific actions do you need to take today, starting at your very next meal, to put you on the road to better health – and greater protection against cancer?

  • Eat Smart: Those who choose to eat red meat should limit their intake and instead make meals that focus on whole plant foods. Processed meat like bacon, sausage, and cold cuts should be avoided. AICR offers brochures like the New American Plate, along with health aids and web content, that help you make the transition to healthier, plant-based eating. And while you’re transitioning to more plant-based meals, don’t be surprised if you start noticing that you’re also starting to …
  • Weigh Less: Apart from not smoking, being at a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do to protect against many cancers. And the best way to make sure you stay at that healthy weight is to both eat a plant-based diet and …
  • Move More: Physical activity helps protect against cancer directly (by regulating hormones that could otherwise encourage cancer growth) and indirectly (by helping you keep off excess fat). Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. As fitness improves, increase either the intensity or the length of your favorite activity.

Why are we at AICR so concerned with getting out the urgent message about lifestyle’s role in cancer risk? Because the evidence shows it could save millions of lives.

Millions of Cancers Don't Have to Happen

Why are we at AICR so concerned with getting out the urgent message about lifestyle’s role in cancer risk? Because the evidence shows it could save millions of lives.

If all Americans followed this advice, the number of cancers that now occur in the US would be cut by 1/3.

Imagine that: That’s about 400,000 families per year that would be spared seeing a loved one touched by cancer. (Add not smoking to the mix, and that number climbs even higher.) This is why AICR arms individuals with the information and tools they need to take these proven steps.

Find practical information for making healthy changes that will help protect you, and your family, from cancer. And learn how you can help fund the AICR research that is transforming our understanding of how to prevent, treat and survive this terrible disease

Published on January 9, 2015

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