Nutrition as a Wholistic Science

  By Dr. Thomas D Rosenberg

By Dr. Thomas D Rosenberg


The modern science of nutrition and health has no more respected researcher, writer, and teacher than T. Colin Campbell. As the author of over 300 research papers, he has had major impacts on the way we view health. Following his role as lead scientist of the China-Cornell-Oxford Project in the 1980s, he and his son Thomas published the China Study in 2005, which alerted serious thinkers and future researchers to the dangers and risks of Western dietary patterns. Dr. Campbell combined with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in the Forks Over Knives documentary, setting the stage for several important documentaries to follow. In his book, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition (2013), he lays out the necessity for wholistic science while questioning the value of reductionism both in research and medical practice. In Low-Carb Fraud (2014), he elucidates the incorrect tenets of high-meat and high-fat diets.


Recently Dr. Campbell has published in the Journal of Nutritional Biology another landmark work, “Nutritional Renaissance and Public Health Policy,” (August 15, 2017 Journal of Nutritional Biology).  In this major essay he states, “Nutrition is a word often spoken, but little understood.  It deserves a fresh, new definition.  In its simplest form, nutrition is the biologic process by which food creates, maintains and restores health.”   He cites Hippocrates, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Nutrition, he further states, “is defined as the integration of countless nutrient factors, metabolic reactions and outcomes, biologically orchestrated as in symphony.”  Dr. Campbell, as he has done in his book Whole, states that “wholistic interpretation helps to explain the profound but little-known health benefits of whole, plant-based foods (not "vegan" or "vegetarian") when compared to animal-based foods and/or with the nutritionally variable convenience foods, generally high in fat, salt, refined carbohydrates, and low in complex carbohydrates.”  He points out that “wholistic nutrition could greatly help to resolve the highly polarized, virtually intractable political debate on health care.”  He goes on to further explain that nutrition is rarely offered in medical schools, is not one of the 130 medical specialties, and does not even have a dedicated research institute at the National Institute of Health.


After decades of study, Dr. Campbell can truly say, “Nutrition is a wholistic science, whereas medical practice is reductionist, a serious mismatch that causes biased judgment…”.  Indeed, he points out that “nutrition is far more efficacious and far more affordable in maintaining and restoring (treating) health than all the pills and procedures combined.” 


Plant Based Utah agrees with Dr. Campbell that we should accept the challenge of advancing the personal and societal benefits of the wholistic/nutritional paradigm, which he and others have so relentlessly set forth. Indeed, our mission is to advance Utah’s health and lifestyle culture through the sharing of evidence-based information and initiatives promoting whole food, plant-based nutrition. The corporate, political, and professional forces that drive healthcare in America towards drugs, surgery, expensive tests, hospitalizations and late interventions for what should be preventable diseases, are the primary obstruction to superior health in our country. Marketing for these powerful influences continues to have a pernicious influence on the American health culture. It's time for a new, sustainable direction for American health. Plant Based Utah is committed to lighting the way.