Expert on vegetarian nutrition to give talk
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Health Writer
Cornell University professor and internationally known researcher T. Colin Campbell will speak today on the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Campbell describes himself as someone who grew up as "a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy" who even did his doctoral research on how we could consume more protein in our diets.
But Campbell gained worldwide attention in 1991 after organizing and directing a nationwide survey in China, studying why certain cancers occurred in certain areas and others didn't.
The "China project" was financed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and turned up surprising results. Campbell summed that up as: "the closer we get to a plant-based diet, the healthier we're going to be."
Campbell's talk in Hawai'i is sponsored by the Vegetarian Society of Hawai'i and co-sponsored by Castle Medical Center/Adventist Health.
Campbell speaks tonight at 7 at the Honolulu Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2313 Nu'uanu Ave. His talk is free and open to the public and offers free food samples.
He said the recent popularity of the high-protein, high-fat Atkins' diet has shot him back into the nutrition controversy.
Campbell also questions the consumption of dairy products and those opinions have prompted a great deal of controversy and some hate mail from those who don't want to veer from their traditional diets.
He said it worried him that a lot of people are buying into the Atkins' diet after they see the short-term benefit of quick weight loss. He said people tend to lose weight because they also decrease their total intake of food but in the long run, he said the consequences will be bad.
"We're going to see more cancer, more heart disease, more diabetes," he said. "That kind of diet is going to lead to major problems for these kind of people."
Campbell said he started out negative and maybe a little hostile to a vegetarian diet. When his findings came back, he said he was forced to change both personal and scientific views.
Campbell also spoke on Maui and at Castle Medical Center.