December 27, 2010
The preview screening of Forks Over Knives in Portland on December 9 sold out just days after it was announced. The day before the screening, more than 270 people packed the hall with standing room only for a talk given by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, co-author of The China Study and one of the researchers featured in the Forks Over Knives documentary. These events were both sponsored by Northwest VEG as a way to help build interest in the upcoming nationwide premiere of Forks Over Knives in Portland on January 7.
"Dr. Campbell’s talk gave us the story of how his many years of nutrition research completely changed his view on what is needed for a healthy diet, challenging conventional ideas in this field," says Northwest VEG president, Peter Spendelow.
Dr. Campbell grew up on a farm in Virginia, milking cows and helping out with the other farm chores. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from Cornell University, conducting thesis research on increasing production of protein in cattle. At the time, protein was believed to be one of the most important nutrients in food, and the more protein, the better. However, observations he later made while working on a nutrition improvement project in the Philippines, coupled with his research results in the lab, led him to question his prior assumptions of the value of animal protein. An article in an obscure Indian medical journal found that rats exposed to aflatoxin—a potent carcinogen—quickly developed cancer, but only if the rats ate a high-protein diet. Rats exposed to the same levels of aflatoxins but fed a low-protein diet showed no cancer growth. Campbell’s group repeated the study and found the same result. Further studies showed that it was the protein casein—the protein in milk—which fed cancer growth, but the protein found in soy and other plant products did not have the same effect. That work led to many years of nutrition research at Cornell University on nutrition and diet, and a complete rearrangement of his views on the effects of animal protein on human nutrition and disease.
Northwest VEG thanks David Franzen, classical guitarist, who provided gentle music for people to gather by. We also thank Organically Grown Company, Whole Foods, and Dr. Kracker for providing fruit and snacks for attendees.