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Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition | [T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson]

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

In The China Study, T. Colin 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, the ways our current scientific paradigm ignores the fascinating complexity of the human body, and why, if we have such overwhelming evidence that everything we think we know about nutrition is wrong, our eating habits haven’t changed.
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Publisher's Summary

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 milk or prepackaged dinners 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.

In The China Study, T. Colin 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, the ways our current scientific paradigm ignores the fascinating complexity of the human body, and why, if we have such overwhelming evidence that everything we think we know about nutrition is wrong, our eating habits haven’t changed.

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.

©2013 T. Colin Campbell (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Whole makes a convincing case that modern nutrition’s focus on single nutrients has led to mass confusion with tragic health consequences. Dr. Campbell’s new paradigm will change the way we think about food and, in doing so, could improve the lives of millions of people and save billions of dollars in health care costs." (Brian Wendel, creator and executive producer of Forks over Knives)

"There are very few material game-changers in life, but this book is truly one of them. The information herein - backed up by extraordinary peer-reviewed science - has the power to halt and reverse disease, give you energy you’ve never known, and put you on a path of transformation in just about every positive way. Read it and get ready to soar." (Kathy Freston, New York Times best-selling author of The Lean)

"In this provocative book, 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. The China Study revealed what we should eat; Whole answers why. Read and enjoy; there’s something here to inspire and offend just about everyone." (Dean Ornish, MD, founder and president, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Sausalito)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (386 )
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  •  
    Sara USA 02-26-14
    Sara USA 02-26-14 Member Since 2008

    I love reading reviews. No plot spoilers please. These are not book reports!

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    "Not what you think it is"
    Any additional comments?

    I was disappointed with this book. I eat a plant based diet for the most part. I was hoping for a book about rethinking nutrition and the science behind the need for change in the American diet. I wanted facts about why we need to change the way we think about food and the kind of foods we choose to eat. What I found instead was angry finger pointing. Much of the book was spent discussing how drug companies and the food industry and the allopathic health care world are wrong, terrible, and out to get us all. This point was dragged out in such a repetitive manner that it was beyond tiresome. I agree with the author that much is wrong with the system--but simply repeating that message doesn't fix the problem. This book felt like a missed opportunity to get an important message out there. To get people thinking and learning about how to improve their health by changing the way they eat. If that is the information you are looking for I'd try another book.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Cox Knoxville, TN United States 10-14-13
    Jason Cox Knoxville, TN United States 10-14-13 Member Since 2004

    regular guy

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    "Debunking the Science of Nutrition"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you go into this book thinking it's about the whole food diet and its benefits, you're going to be disappointed. On the other hand, if you read this to learn about the dysfunctionality in the field of nutrition as well as the evils of Big Pharma, you'll be more inclined to enjoy it.


    What could T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It would have been great to have included more (much more!) on the benefits of a whole food diet. More case studies. Some concrete data would be great. There's a lot they could have done here to create a positive light on a whole food diet that might be motivating and I'm certain highly interesting.


    What does Don Hagen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Don Hagen did a fine job with narration. Nothing about the narration distracted from the content, and I don't think his intonation conveyed any bias that wasn't actually present in the context of the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Whole?

    I would condense the anti-pharma, anti-medicine content of the book (which was the majority of it) into a single chapter, and emphasized the necessity to maintain reasonable skepticism when dealing with medical or pharmaceutical issues.


    Any additional comments?

    The premise of the book is interesting. Perhaps just re-titling the book "Rethinking the Science of Nutrition" would have been sufficient by subtly adjusting the reader's expectations. I would have loved more pro-whole diet information, examples, case studies, and that sort of thing, even if it is anecdotal.

    However, as it stands, the tone of the book is overwhelmingly negative and ends up coming across as mostly conspiratorial, which is sad given the potential of the topic.

    43 of 48 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean Strongsville, OH, United States 05-09-13
    Dean Strongsville, OH, United States 05-09-13 Member Since 2001
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    "A frontal assault on nutritional 'science'"

    This book reiterates the findings of Campbell's The China Study that concludes a whole food, plant based (WFPB) diet significantly reduces illnesses caused by the standard Western diet. However, Campbell directly attacks the Medical-Agricultural-Academic complex as committing fraud on the American people by seeking maximum profits through largely ineffective and harmful medical solutions.

    This book supports the premise that US medicine is purely a profit driven industry that will not acknowledge nutrition as the single most effective cure for most of the illnesses that prevail in America today. Campbell supports his conclusions that many doctors and medical researchers are in the pockets of Big Pharma and other ancillary industries that benefit from the status quo. With personal anecdotes and other studies, including The China Study, he questions industry-funded research projects which are skewed to reach the most profitable conclusions. Alarmingly, the medical industry itself is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer, but this statistic is ignored by US government authorities.

    He also attacks the dietary supplement industry and genetic researchers as largely favoring a "reductionist" versus a "holistic" view of health and nutrition. It is profitable to sell a drug. It is not profitable to sell a lifestyle based on eating plants.

    This book is an excellent sequel to The China Study and expands on an increasingly popular theme that rightly contests the validity of what we're being told and sold. Books such as Wrong by David Freedman and Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre are also excellent Audible selections in this genre.

    26 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jared Oceanside, CA, United States 05-16-13
    Jared Oceanside, CA, United States 05-16-13 Member Since 2010

    Oside Surfer

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    "Good, but Gaping Holes in the Main Premise"
    What did you love best about Whole?

    I like the thought provoking insight that uncovers hidden agendas within the mainstream organizations and thought processes. It's the mainstream thought process that has led us to all the health and environmental issues that currently exist.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This isn't a novel.


    What does Don Hagen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His cadence is a little slow but methodical and somewhat soothing vocal tonality. If the slow pace doesn't bother you, it seems to work for the content.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Good, but left unanswered questions.


    Any additional comments?

    While I applaud Mr. Campbell's extensive career and efforts to uncover truth's related to health, medicine, nutrition and disease, it seems to me there are some gaping holes in his conclusions that a plant based diet is the only healthy diet for any human anywhere on the planet. Just from a purely logical point of view this raises some immediate questions in my mind. For example, should I assume that the only way an Eskimo could possibly be healthy is by eating plant based food. That is likely not feasible, and the Eskimo would likey not make it through the winter on that diet. One of the best books I have read on health and Nutrition is by Weston Price and is called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It clearly indicates that healthy primitive people living in different locations all over the world eat different foods and this does not always mean that animal products are excluded. In fact in many cases animal based food was integral to the diet and health. I agree that most people should consume more plant based food and less animal based food, but I think that it would be somewhat reductionist thinking to only examine one group of healthy people (e.g. Rural China) and conclude that their diet is the only healthy diet for everyone located anywhere. I think we need to look to nature and our own common sense and rational for guidance. Although, technology makes it possible to consume an extraordinary variety of food that is produced all over the world, this is probably not what nature intended. I think our diet should be more locationally and seasonally based upon native food sources. Unfortunately humans have been extremely effective in disrupting the natural order of life on this planet and natural is becoming a rare commodity. It is a positive sign that more people are becoming aware that the fate of human beings is inherently tied to nature and are becoming alarmed enough to begin taking action. I believe Mr Campbell is one of those individuals.

    30 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-07-13
    Jeff Pickering, Ontario, Canada 09-07-13 Member Since 2007

    50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "IM INCREDIBLY IMPRESSED !!!!"

    I am so excited by this book that I can't wait to finish it before I spill out my excitement on paper. This is a great read whether you think you're interested in the topic or not. In the same way Steven kings "on writing" is a great read, regardless of your interest in writing.( If you haven't read that one- get it now it will completely alter your impression of the guy)

    First off let me tell you where I'm coming from- Though ive been about 50lbs overweight for the last 10 yrs ( due to chronic pain and being bedridden etc. ), I've never "dieted". I've never believed in "dieting" I've always known dieting is a suckers game. Nutrition on the other hand is something that I have some interest in- but the constant circling, conflicting battles of good for you- not good puts me off. so When questions of nutrition arise I just use common sense to guide my decisions, that is- unless I find a book like this one, or china study.

    2 years ago I came across the china study book by the same author and after looking that one up on the net, I was very impressed, so I bought a copy for my wife who is borderline diabetic and struggles with her diet and so is in particular need of concrete nutritional info. This I thought was a ray of light and truth in the diet-nutrition Disneyland..Then by chance I came across this book in the 3 for 2 credit sale. After listening to the sample I was captivated. I bought it and started listening to it right away. I was enthralled not just by the research or his credentials,or- the message but the writing itself ,its a very enjoyable listen. Its written as a grounded narrative and the narration itself is a perfect fit to the material which added a lot to thoroughly enjoying a book that is far from my usual reading fare.

    Im not going to get into the specifics of the book- what I will say is that it is all VERY compelling and certainly worth looking into on a deeper level. Considering how far our culture's overall diet has fallen, it would take a GIANT leap of change for most if not all of us to embrace and to fully implement the changes to our diet proposed by Colin Campbell. Personally I am SO-SO far from anything like this diet that the change for me would be as radical as well.....anything I can think of, but if he is right -and I think he is, it would not just mean living longer or disease free, it would mean a quality of living change that I suspect many of us have never known- physically AND mentally. It would certainly be interesting to look up the statistics and the experiences of those that have completely embraced this diet ( "diet" in this context naturally inferring ... you know what im saying)

    I rarely give 5 stars-or I at least try to save that status for something truly deserving. In this case I think the info is so important it merits a 5 star rating.Very persuasive- Very important-Very well written and Very enjoyable.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deidre ALEXANDRIA, LA, United States 05-30-13
    Deidre ALEXANDRIA, LA, United States 05-30-13 Listener Since 2003
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    "Must Read"

    Another must read from Dr. Campbell. It saddens me that his life saving research hasn't been embraced by the medical community, government or the media. Because of his previous book, The China Study, I am a healthy, fit and no longer live in fear of dying of the diseases of my parents. I encourage everyone to listen both of Dr. Campbell's books. Your life will never be the same.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Chambers Orangevale, ca United States 06-02-13
    Mary Chambers Orangevale, ca United States 06-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Author Repeats Himself"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I turned the speed up 1.5-2x to get through this book. The reader was well-spoken, and well modulated, but it seemed like nearly every chapter repeated something from a previous chapter.


    What could T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Fewer repetitions of phrases and stories, as well as fewer references to being considered a heretic. Once of anything was enough. The book sounded like it was made up of a combination of speeches Dr. Campbell might have given over time, because there were so many repetitions of phrases and examples. I think the same points could have been made in fewer words.


    Did Whole inspire you to do anything?

    I have practiced eating foods as close to their natural state as possible for a number of years and am quite healthy at almost 60. I will be considering what the authors said about animal protein, but I am not completely sure I will be able to eliminate it completely...we'll see.


    Any additional comments?

    I would have liked the book better if it had been about 1/3 as long as it was.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Phoenixville, PA, United States 06-26-13
    Michael Phoenixville, PA, United States 06-26-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Should have been titled "Reductionism! Grrr!"..."

    What is reductionism? This book is going to tell you in a long and scathing rebuke. I don't disagree with the author when he talks about reductionism's bountiful and massive shortcomings. I totally agree that there are huge corporate and financial interests that have monetary profit as a primary goal rather than human health. Yes, the system is broken, and there is a need to lay out that broken-ness in a clear and understandable way. But... 97% of this book is taken up with telling me why the current system is BAD. The author had a golden opportunity to explain why a whole foods plant based diet is the answer, why its better than the Standard American Diet, and why it might actually cure cancer. But it felt like every time he might launch into it, he just repeated that that's what he found in his decades long research career. No real evidence to back up his claims. I guess we're just supposed to trust him like he's telling us not to with those he speaks out against.

    He also perpetrates many of the same cheats that other vegan authors use when decrying a meat-based diet. The meat industry can't defend the environmental and social justice complaints against it, I totally agree with the author on these. But...

    When he's arguing that we could model our diet on that of our closest animal relatives, he says that chimps and gorillas are herbivores. Chimps aren't herbivores. They hunt for, kill and eat other animals. Plus there's a third "vore" in addition to herbivore and carnivore, the omnivore. I think most people would agree that that's what humans are. Maybe he's never heard of them.

    Also at one point he implies that we shouldn't consume animal-based protein because of how most of that protein in the US is produced. One could also argue that a lot of the whole plant-based foods in the US are also produced in an equally unhealthy manner. I've never seen a vegan or a carnivore focussed author actually create a level playing field when pitting their chosen diet against its opposition. If it's so clearly better, then stop rigging the deck in your favor!

    Overall. I'm pretty disappointed in the book. I feel like it's titled wrong and just feels very negative. I'd be giving it 5 stars if even half of the book was optimistic and really delved into why the whole foods plant based diet was better. But "Whole" didn't and I'm not.

    16 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yoshida Pasadena, CA USA 01-18-14
    A. Yoshida Pasadena, CA USA 01-18-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Evidence for a plant-based diet"

    Based on the title, I thought this book would be about eating whole food. Instead, it's about evidence supporting a plant-based diet. Although at times it seems like a research paper, I found the information fascinating and valuable. The author talks about fallacy of reductionism - focus on a single specialty of practice, single drug, or single nutrient to treat diseases. Our culture is accustomed to doctors prescribing medication, rather than discussing diet. It's easy - pop some pills and your problem goes away. Except your problem doesn't go away. There are many side effects to medication. And why are they called "side" effects? They are effects on your body. You're trying to ingest something that your body doesn't process well. If you think you should eat more fruits and vegetables but wonder how much benefit you would get from it, this book would convince you.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scottiiee665 Melbourne, FL, United States 11-11-13
    Scottiiee665 Melbourne, FL, United States 11-11-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wish I had this information 20 Years ago !"
    What made the experience of listening to Whole the most enjoyable?

    Great Information that makes total sense. I wish their were some Medical Doctors who would read this before prescribing another pill.


    Any additional comments?

    Should be required reading before being given a Medical Degree.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Franziska
    Karlsruhe - Knielingen, Germany
    8/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "hard reading, good information"
    What aspect of Don Hagen’s performance might you have changed?

    his voice somtimes pitches to high/hard noises which can be very annoing and ear-hurting if you have the overall sound on loud to understand everything in an noisy surrounding like a train.
    These Sound piches should have been smoothed out in the audio correction.
    Otherwise he hase a pleasent voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Particulary interesting I found every and all evidence of scientific nature he brought up in addition to his other book "The China Study" for a whole plant based Diet.

    The focus on the american health system and were it goes wrong in the later half of the book I wasn't much interested in. Nevertheless I heard the whole thing and feel better informed and this may help me find deficites in the health system of my own country.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    Harrow, United Kingdom
    5/8/13
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    Performance
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    "Amazing and scary at the same time!"

    I downloaded this book yesterday and haven't finished it yet! I've been an Audible member for a few years and downloaded countless books, but never before has a book hit me so powerfully that I felt compelled to give a semi review before even finishing it!
    There is some fantastic information in this book and would surely make anybody that really listens and takes in everything that is being said, change their eating habits; how could you not!? well, maybe if you weren't REALLY listening to what is being said, or couldn't possibly imagine having to do without meat at every meal (and consequently not bothered about the impact on your own health!).
    Enjoying the content enormously -although it is a little scary at the same time in some ways, and by that I mean the power wielded by the huge food and pharma companies can stifle information that would be harmful to their profits and they are abided in this by governments with utter disregard to their own citizens! That is what is scary.
    I have replayed certain chapters a few times already, to just let the mountain of information, really sink in.
    Will be back to leave a fuller review when I've finished listening to it all a few times!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • jo henry
    4/10/14
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    "THis is written for nutritionalists"
    What disappointed you about Whole?

    The title is misleading, it is not informative unless you want to critically look at the nutritional industry


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • realmusicfan
    California
    5/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Essential listening for real health"

    This is an eye opening audiobook that firmly and clearly lays out the benefits of nutrition for overall health. Knowledge that has been held back from the general population by a profit driven 'health system,' is illuminated and the whole plant based diet is shown to have multiplicitous positive benefits for each one of us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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