The China Study vs The Japan Study

The problem with research is… it’s only research.  Anybody can gather facts and present them in a way to make you believe what they want you to believe.

Here’s a classic example.

3 men walk onto a Hotel and pay $10 each for a room.  Later, the Manager discovers there was special.. 3 rooms for $25.  The manager gives $5 to a bellhop and ask him to return the $5, as the men overpaid.  The bellhop decided to keep $2 for himself and give back $1 to each of the 3 men (2 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 5).  Thus each man paid $9 ($10 – $1 from the bellhop).  So if the bellhop kept $2, and the men collectively paid $27 (3 x $9), then why does $2 + $27 = $29Where is the missing dollar?

Ah ha!

I got you thinking, right?  You actually believed for a few minutes there was a missing dollar!  But I presented the facts in a way that made you believe there was a missing dollar, and you were trying to find out where it went.

The point I am trying to make is raw data is simply data, and people (including myself) are trying to find ways to turn that into information.  But how it is presented can be misleading.  The data are the facts (the men paid $25, got refunded $3, bellhop kept $2 = 30) but I can skew the results in a different way.  At least for a few minutes…

Okay, enough of the Mensa test.  I just wanted to make a point.

china-vs-japan 2


The China Study vs. Japan Study

Here are two conflicting studies. Let’s start with the Japan Study.

In the paper titled Meat consumption in relation to mortality from cardiovascular disease among Japanese men and women, they showed moderate meat consumption, up to ~100 g/day, was NOT associated with increased mortality from ischemic heart disease, stroke or total cardiovascular disease among either gender.

This was not a small study.. subjects included 51,683 Japanese (20,466 men and 31,217 women) aged 40–79 years living in all of Japan.

I find that conflicting to The China Study.  Now there is a book titled The China Study, but unfortunately the actual China study is only 32 pages long with the rest of book showing the benefits of a pro-vegan vegetarian lifestyle.

Remember what I said about taking data and skewing it to make your point.

The China study involved 65 counties across China and 6,500 adults.

The China study wanted to study people who lived on plant-based diet since almost all other large-scale Western nutritional studies had been conducted on meat eaters.

The study showed in rural China animal protein intake averages 7 grams/day, whereas in America the number is 70 grams/day (1 gram per Kg body weight). But even these small amount of animal-based food in rural China raised the risk for Western disease.

Also, in America 15% of the total calories comes from protein and 80% of this is from animal-based foods… in China 10% of total calories comes from protein and only 10% from animal foods.

Chinese eat 1/3 as much fat as Americans, 2/3 as much protein, 3 times more fiber and twice as much iron.

The study and the book go on to show nutrition has a strong effect on disease

For example, plant-based foods are linked to lower cholesterol; animal-based foods are linked to higher cholesterol.. It also showed Animal-based foods are linked to higher breast cancer rates; plant-based foods are linked to lower breast cancer rates.  If this is true, then someone should go to Mill Valley, California, 94941 which has the highest number of breast cancer incidences in the USA per zip code, and tell them to stop eating meat!

What they are saying is the so-called “diseases of affluence” are a result of animal-based diets, and that the plant-based diet is shown to protect against all the main western diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, MS and Alzheimer’s.

But I’ll let you, the readers, take the data and interpret it any way you like.  From either study.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Hi Jimson,

    Darn. More nails in the meat eaters coffin? Can’t thank you enough for always raising the bar in what we could consider and understand about our decisions concerning health and physical pursuits. Best wishes always.

    P.S. What are the current eating habits of those living in Italy with regards to meat consumption? When I lived there a long time ago the prevalent diet consisted mostly of vegetables, fruit and pasta. (Not counting daily espresso shots and once a week small gelato tastings.)

    • @Fred, this is my typical lunch in Rome… though it differs through various parts of the country.

      An appetizer is usually bruschetta or bufala mozzarella cheese and tomatoes or cold cuts and olives and cheese, then a pasta dish (of course!), followed by a meat dish covered in sauce (served with NON-SALTED crusty bread), a vegetable dish, wine and water. The meat dish is quite small, I would say anywhere from 3 or 4 oz in size.. It’s not a 8 or 16 oz steak, at least not for lunch! The Pasta dish is anywhere from 30 to 100 grams of dry pasta. Of course, I must end my meal with an espresso!