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This is Dr. Campbell’s Response

Robyn Openshaw - Sep 11, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Tomorrow, on to other topics. Today, here is T. Colin Campbell's response to Mercola's missive:

Dr. Mercola raises so many questions that it would take me at least several weeks if not months to answer. He invents clever sayings and makes serious innuendos that are total nonsense--indeed slanderous. His questions are rhetorical, with meaning, and no matter what I say, the questions will always remain--without my answers.

But here are a few general comments that strike me as main points:

1. Dr. Mercola's main mantra (business model) is Nutritional Typing. In some way (maybe with paid phone assistance from his staff), we are supposed to listen to our body to determine which of three dietary types best suit us. He then becomes more specific as to the importance of eating foods in the right order and of the right type. These recommendations, he claims, are science based.

This is a clever strategy for positioning his company in the marketplace. He casts a broad net to capture as many customers as possible for his many products that he sells. According to him, we fit within one of these three diet groups, ranging from 1) the high carb-low fat types vs. 2) the low carb-high fat types vs. (3) those in-between, thus capturing for his company a much larger customer base.

I deeply respect our personal freedoms to do as we wish (as long as it doesn't harm others). But given the complex environment within which we choose foods, I cannot understand how we can reliably determine what dietary patterns and order of eating foods is best for our long-term health. I know that some people can recognize specific food allergies, but I also know that we tend to choose food for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is convenience, avoidance of pain and sense of 'pleasure' or gratification (read the little gem of a book, The Pleasure Trap, by Lisle and Goldhamer to see how so many of us continually choose foods not in our best interests). His method defies common sense. He says that this is based on science but, if so, I want to see the evidence. I see none. To say that we can determine, with any certainty, which nutritional type, based on our personal but very nebulous assessment of our metabolism is hocus pocus.

On his claims about science, Mercola is out of his element--way out. He excuses his failure to document his professional experiences in the scientific literature because he (and his compatriots like Dr. Eades) don't have time in their busy practice of medicine, as if public documentation of evidence is a bit of a luxury that is not really that important. This is an extremely lame excuse, exposing his fundamental misunderstanding of what scientific validity really means. Scientific evidence, as accepted by virtually everyone, is that which represents proper scientific experimental design and subsequent publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

Doing and reporting on peer reviewed research may not be a perfect solution for establishing truths (nothing is) but it is far better than listening to someone only telling us what he/she does or believes while giving us no way to evaluate such claims. Peer-review, the main engine of scientific validity, means that our research findings are subjected to the critique of professional colleagues before it is published in the professional literature. Even more to the point, in order for us to get the funding to do the research, especially from institutions like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), we are required to undergo a most serious and somewhat protracted exercise of defending our hypotheses before committees of professional peers that may include as many as 15 members (I know this, having been on several of these panels). The chances of successfully obtaining funding is, on average, only one in six. In short, peer review is rigorous both in getting the funding and in publishing the results. Anyone, like Mercola, who claims scientific validity for his personal/professional observations is really at liberty to say whatever pleases them--and their wallets. This opens doors wide for snake oil 'science'.

2. He relies on the bogus idea that it is our individual differences in "metabolism" that makes it possible for us to determine which foods please our metabolism and guard us against future ailments.  He has no idea what is metabolism. It changes and responds continuously and it is an enormously complex system of digestion, absorption, transport, enzymatic synthesis and breakdown of intermediates and distribution, excretion and storage of metabolites, all in an effort to maintain homeostasis. Reducing this concept to a simple phenomenon of energy use, which we can assess for ourselves is more superficial than adjectives can describe.

Read the rest of this report here.

Posted in: Whole Food

10 thoughts on “This is Dr. Campbell’s Response”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank You So Much!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve subscribed to Mercola’s newsletters and I have disliked that every time I go to read about something in regards to our health he always has something to sell at the end. . . No longer a subscriber! Thanks for setting the record straight and posting Campbell’s response. . .I suggest his book to lots of people when they ask about my becoming Vegan. Most don’t want to know!

    Thanks again! Lauri

  3. Thank you Robyn for sharing everything on your site! I appreciate you taking a stand on what Mercola said..quite shocking!

    I read The China Study and I thought the work Dr. Colin Campbell did was awesome and very thorough.

    Thank you again for taking a stand!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I find many of Dr. Mercola’s posts to be informative and objective. Though he is many times driven by what will lead to more profit and sales, I wouldn’t dismiss everything due to his drive to make money. There are many articles that he provides posts and links to, providing research and evidence, not just his one-sided-buy-my-product opinion as some make him out to be. As with most reasearchers and Dr’s though there is a god-complex that creeps up on them even though they may not be aware of it, or even deny it. Knowledge, noteriety, and money tend to taint us humans like that. I am grateful you questioned his wisdom and (lack) of understanding in this case though GSG. Keep on educating us, and my family and I will keep on drinking green smoothies.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have two concerns.

    One is that Dr. Mercola was not rude in his article. Dr. Campbell was rude.

    The second is that I feel like eating vegan is very healthy. I can’t be convinced that it is the only way that people should eat, because meat and dairy is eaten in the Bible, and, after all, Jesus ate fish.

  6. Anonymous says:


    Thanks for providing the Campbell response. His wording and logic were clear and did the job eloquently.

    Best in health.

  7. Anonymous says:


    I subscribe to Mercola’s newsletter, and think he brings to light a lot of important issues. I do however think he is out to lunch on the China Study and the alkaline/ionized water issues. A few months ago I bought his type questionaire, and when I actually saw what it was, felt that I was totally ripped. I have also noted that a lot of what he does is more like an infomercial. I will not be supprised if in the next week or so if he is hawking waterfilters.


  8. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I am one that does not usually write an article unless I have to, but I must when it comes to my conviction regarding whole plant-based foods, which are greatly responsible for being alive today and reversing my grand mal epileptic seizure. I as a natural health care practitioner appreciate and thank God for GreenSmoothieGirl and Dr. Campbell’s China Study for keeping us abreast of the current trends in the field of natural health and wellness. As a Filipino-American I am very thankful to see that Dr. Campbell and his team included the Philippines in the China Study. But I am surprise that Dr. Mercola would make such an unprofessional statement in regards to China Study. Let’s put it this way, I must say that after attacking Dr. Campbell I have lost much respect for Dr. Mercola. Yes, I don’t agree with his nutritional typing either for its not practical nor common sense nor cost-effective, especially to my clients who I consult and counsel; not to mention the Filipinos who live in the tropical islands. To say to the Filipinos or Chinese or anyone else, you are Carb, Protein or Mixed Type is ludicrous. And Dr. Mercola’s motive is doing “whatever pleases them-and their wallets” as Dr. Campbell puts it. It is not user-friendly in my opinion and his concept contradicts what he said below.

    Dr. Mercola: “Let your body tell you what foods you were designed to eat. Don’t listen to me or Dr. Eades or a researcher like Campbell who has never treated patients. Just listen to your own body…Is Vegetarianism Right for You?…Just be honest with yourself and objectively evaluate your body’s response. Your body is the most awesome instrument to make this assessment. Ultimately it is the best resource and far superior to anything you read on the Internet or in any published study…So my final words are to trust the body God gave you to tell you the truth.”

    If we are to allow our bodies tell us what foods we were designed to eat, then why use nutritional typing? In my opinion, we need all those “types” of plant foods- sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, beans, apples, coconuts, papayas, avocados, oats, barley, etc. Can humans and animals survive without plants on this planet earth? Of course, not! Does Dr. Mercola know that without them we cannot survive nor live? “Is Vegetarianism Right for You?” This is mind boggling. Of course, whole plant foods are right and therefore good for us. I have not seen any research that fresh vegetables and fruits and cooked brown rice are not right for humans. All right, I must agree to disagree with Dr. Mercola’s statement above. Who made these bodies of ours? The Creator, right? Who made the plants and trees? Common-sense tells us, the Creator, right? Yes, we should listen to our body, but the far superior and best resource, I believe, is God’s Ancient Love Letter to us in this planet earth to give us guidelines how to live healthy and well. That’s the Bible in the Book of Genesis 1:29 and the Book of Daniel 1:12, which tell us what to eat to promote healthy and wellness lifestyle.

    In conclusion, it was Dr. Campbell’s China Study, not the medical advice (which made it worst, to be honest), which confirmed the eating lifestyle that I should follow to help reverse my seizure for the rest of my life. And that’s consuming 80-90% whole plant-based foods and 10-20% animal products. My bottom line is to trust God who created us and the whole plant based foods before they were altered for us to eat. In other words, our God-made body deserves a God-made food, not those nutritional typing and expensive products.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You know, I’m really surprised by the anti-Mercola venom here! Mercola says over and over that he personally believes that EVERYBODY should eat 80% of their food as veggies, and most of it raw. So far, no disagreement. He says further that many people digest plant proteins very well and have spectacular health. So far, no disagreement/ He goes on to say that some people don’t do well as vegetarians, and that he disagrees with Campbell’s take that everybody should be near-vegan, and the man gets hammered with a bunch of 2 by 4s! Robyn particularly should not lambaste Mercola for selling products and ideology when she does exactly the same thing. While I’m not a Mercola disciple, I don’t see the difference between two people who both have very strong beliefs and make available products which they think will make the lives of their followers better. Robyn noted with scorn that Mercola sells teaching material – oops. Campbell sells books – oops.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a statistician, so that part of the China Study leaves me cold. However, I do know to look for outside confirmation of an hypothesis. So the first thing I did when I read The China Study was check to see what outside sources say about health in China. This is what I found:

    Official data do not support the China Study’s claim of uniquely good health among rural Chinese. Source: World Health Organization. The USA comes in at #37, right at the bottom of the developed nations. China comes in at #144. That’s out of 190 countries, and the data are from 2007. The China Study was published in 2005, and its data are about 40 years old. Here’s the WHO’s ranking:…/healthranks.html

    According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, the Chinese have the world’s highest incidence of stomach cancer, other cancers occur at about the same rate as in the US, AND the Chinese have a fatal stroke rate five times as high as in the USA. Examining the Chinese Ministry of Health report more closely, rural Chinese have cancer and stroke rates NINETEEN TIMES as high as Chinese city dwellers.…/content_6652952.htm

    Diabetes? China describes it as an epidemic.…/8587032.stm;…/100324174057.htm

    A study by Longde Wang, Lingzhi Kong, Fan Wu, Yamin Bai, and Robert Burton, published in the Lancet 2005; 366: 1821-24.…/ChronicDiseaseChina.pdf

    “Chronic, non-communicable diseases now account for an estimated 80% of total deaths and 70% of total disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost in China (figure 1). The major causes of death in China are cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. Rates of death from chronic disease in middleaged people are higher in China than in some high income countries.”

    Then I looked to see what The Vegan Outreach Society, an organisation that I greatly respect for its sane, sensible, truth-seeking ethos, says about The China Study.

    Scientific review by Doll & Peto found serious flaws in Campbell’s results; this is summarized by the Vegan Outreach website: Here’s what it says:

    “The effects of animal products on risk of chronic diseases are an area of considerable controversy. … [I]international correlations between per capita food consumption and disease rates are seriously confounded by other lifestyle factors associated with economic affluence. … One of the most comprehensive correlational studies conducted within a country is the China-Oxford-Cornell study…. These correlations, although informative and valuable in many ways, cannot be used to establish causal relationships between dietary factors and disease risk. The limitations of geographical correlations were precisely stated by Drs Doll and Peto:

    Trustworthy epidemiological evidence, it should be noted, always requires demonstration that a relationship holds for individuals (or perhaps small groups) within a large population as well as between large population groups. Correlation between the incidence of cancer in whole towns or whole countries and, for example, the consumption of particular items of food can, at most, provide hypotheses for investigation by other means. Attempts to separate the roles of causative and of confounding factors by statistical techniques of multiple regression analysis have been made often, but evidence obtained in this way is, at best, of only marginal value.

    “Indeed, some of the correlations produced from the China-Oxford-Cornell study are peculiar and probably incorrect. For example, esophageal cancer had no clear association with smoking, and had a negative correlation with daily alcohol intake. These results are clearly contradictory to the well-established findings from studies of individuals that both smoking and alcohol use are strong risk factors for esophageal cancer. In addition, the study did not find a clear association between meat consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers.”

    Other reviews worthy of consideration: There’s a good summary of pros and cons here:

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