Whole by T. Colin Campbell
  • Title: Whole
  • Subtitle: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
  • Author(s): T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson
  • Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
  • Year: 2013-05-07
  • ISBN-10: 1937856259
  • ISBN-13: 9781937856250


In “Whole,” T. Colin Campbell, an authoritative voice in the field of nutrition, challenges conventional dietary beliefs and presents a thought-provoking argument for a whole food, plant-based diet. Drawing upon decades of research and personal experiences, Campbell exposes the flaws in reductionist thinking regarding nutrition and demonstrates the transformative power of a holistic approach to health. He delves into the interplay between nutrition and chronic diseases, shedding light on how our modern diet contributes to the prevalence of conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. With a focus on evidence-based findings, Campbell not only highlights the health benefits of adopting a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, but also provides practical advice and resources to help readers transition to this way of eating.

Whole” is a compelling and eye-opening read, challenging readers to reconsider their dietary choices and embrace a more holistic perspective on nutrition. Campbell’s writing is clear, concise, and accessible to both scientific and lay audiences, presenting complex scientific concepts in a straightforward manner. His arguments are bolstered by an impressive body of research, including his own extensive and groundbreaking work in nutrition. Through personal anecdotes and case studies, he illustrates the profound impact that a whole food, plant-based diet can have on preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. “Whole” is a persuasive and empowering manifesto that invites readers to take charge of their health by embracing the power of whole foods.


Book Review

Rediscover Health through a Plant-Based Lifestyle in "Whole" by T. Colin Campbell

Whole” by T. Colin Campbell is a groundbreaking book that challenges traditional dietary norms and advocates for a whole food, plant-based diet as the key to long-lasting health and wellbeing. With his extensive background in nutrition research, Campbell provides an in-depth analysis of the detrimental effects of the Western diet and offers a compelling path towards reclaiming our health through simple yet powerful lifestyle changes.

One of the book’s greatest strengths is Campbell’s ability to present complex scientific concepts in an accessible manner. He manages to strike a balance between conveying rigorous scientific evidence and making the information comprehensible to readers of all backgrounds. For instance, he breaks down the complex biochemistry behind nutrition and its connection to disease risk factors, clearly explaining how nutrients in whole plant foods work synergistically to promote health. This approach not only educates readers but also empowers them to make informed choices based on sound scientific reasoning.

Throughout the book, Campbell addresses the shortcomings of reductionist thinking in the field of nutrition. He argues that reducing food and nutrients to their individual components fails to capture the complexity and interconnectedness of our bodies’ response to the food we consume. By presenting compelling studies, such as the relationship between vitamin A supplements and increased lung cancer risk, he highlights the dangers of isolating compounds without considering the whole food matrix.

Campbell draws extensively from his own research, notably the famous China Study, to support his claims. This comprehensive study, conducted over several decades, involved analyzing over 8,000 variables from Chinese counties and linking diet to disease rates. The results consistently showed a strong correlation between consumption of animal-based foods and a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. By showcasing the impressive body of evidence from his research and other renowned studies, Campbell successfully builds a compelling case for embracing a plant-based lifestyle.

Beyond addressing the critical relationship between nutrition and chronic diseases, “Whole” also examines the flawed system that perpetuates unhealthy dietary practices. Campbell explores the considerable influence of industries, such as pharmaceutical companies and food corporations, on government policies and public perception of nutrition. He exposes conflicts of interest that hinder the dissemination of accurate health information, urging readers to question prevailing dietary guidelines and seek out unbiased sources instead.

A distinctive aspect of “Whole” is Campbell’s emphasis on the practicality of adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. He offers helpful strategies, tips, and resources to guide readers through the transition, ensuring that even those with limited knowledge or access to fresh produce can make positive changes. This book serves not only as a call-to-action but also as a roadmap to healthier eating patterns, making it one of the most valuable assets for anyone seeking to improve their well-being.

Moreover, “Whole” provides numerous real-life examples of individuals who have witnessed remarkable health transformations after adopting a whole food, plant-based diet. Stories of people overcoming obesity, regaining vitality, and even reversing chronic diseases showcase the incredible potential of this lifestyle. These anecdotes add a human touch to the book, making it relatable and inspiring for readers who may be on their own health journey.

In conclusion, “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell is a thought-provoking and meticulously researched book that challenges prevailing dietary beliefs and paves the way towards reclaiming our health through whole food, plant-based nutrition. Campbell skillfully blends scientific evidence, personal anecdotes, and practical advice to create a compelling and accessible resource for those eager to take charge of their wellbeing. While it may provoke some skepticism, “Whole” revolutionizes our understanding of nutrition and provides a powerful catalyst for positive change in our lives and the world at large.


Plant-based eating is not just a dietary choice, but a powerful path to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases, promoting optimal health and longevity.”

Key Ideas

The key ideas presented in “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell can be summarized as follows:

  1. The Power of a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet Campbell argues that a diet centered around whole, plant-based foods has immense potential to prevent and even reverse chronic diseases. Through his own research and analysis of other studies, he presents compelling evidence linking the consumption of animal-based foods to health issues such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The book emphasizes the importance of adopting a holistic approach to nutrition, focusing on the synergistic effects of nutrients found in whole plant foods.

  2. Critique of Reductionist Thinking Campbell challenges the reductionist approach prevalent in the field of nutrition, which reduces food and nutrients to their individual components. He highlights the flaws in isolating compounds and disregarding the complexity of whole foods. The book showcases the dangers of reductionist thinking by citing studies that demonstrate the adverse effects of isolated nutrients, such as vitamin A supplements and increased lung cancer risk. Campbell advocates for a shift towards a more comprehensive understanding of nutrition, one that considers the entire food matrix and its impact on human health.

  3. The Influence of Industry and Government “Whole” sheds light on the influence of powerful industries on nutrition policies and research, utilizing examples from the pharmaceutical and food sectors. Campbell examines conflicts of interest and the profit-driven motivations that have shaped nutrition guidelines, potentially clouding the public’s understanding of healthy eating. He urges readers to critically evaluate the information presented to them, seek unbiased sources, and challenge the prevailing dietary beliefs perpetuated by vested interests.

  4. Practical Transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle The book not only presents compelling arguments for a whole food, plant-based diet but also offers practical advice and strategies for transitioning to this lifestyle. Campbell provides tips for sourcing and preparing plant-based meals, addressing potential barriers like cost, availability, and taste preferences. The emphasis is on making the transition accessible and sustainable, ensuring that readers can adopt a whole food, plant-based diet regardless of their background or circumstances.

Overall, “Whole” encourages readers to reconsider their understanding of nutrition and empowers them to take charge of their health through the adoption of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. Campbell’s key ideas challenge conventional dietary norms, advocate for a holistic perspective on nutrition, and serve as a wake-up call to the influences that shape our dietary choices and health outcomes.


Target Audience

The book “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell is targeted at a diverse audience interested in health and nutrition. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Health-conscious individuals “Whole” is an essential read for individuals seeking to improve their health and well-being. It offers evidence-based insights into the connection between diet and chronic diseases, providing a compelling argument for adopting a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. The book provides practical advice and resources to support readers in making the transition, making it accessible to individuals at any stage of their health journey.

  • Nutrition and healthcare professionals Professionals in the fields of nutrition and healthcare can benefit from the valuable insights and research provided in “Whole.” Campbell challenges prevailing dietary beliefs, drawing from his own extensive research, and highlights the flaws in reductionist thinking. For professionals looking to expand their knowledge and offer evidence-based guidance to their clients, this book serves as a valuable resource.

  • Those interested in sustainable living “Whole” not only focuses on personal health but also sheds light on the environmental and ethical impacts of our food choices. Campbell discusses the ecological consequences of animal agriculture, making a case for a more sustainable and compassionate approach to food production. Readers interested in minimizing their ecological footprint and embracing a more sustainable lifestyle will find this book to be thought-provoking and inspiring.

  • Those skeptical of mainstream dietary guidelines “Whole” is a compelling read for individuals who question the prevailing dietary guidelines promoted by governmental bodies and influenced by industries. The book exposes the conflicts of interest and biased influences that shape dietary policies. For readers seeking an alternative perspective supported by scientific evidence, “Whole” serves as a source of reliable information that challenges traditional dietary norms.

In conclusion, “Whole” is recommended reading for a wide range of individuals. Whether someone is seeking to improve their health, expand their knowledge of nutrition, explore sustainable living practices, or question prevailing dietary beliefs, this book provides valuable insights, practical guidance, and compelling evidence to support a transition towards a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

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