New Improved DIY China Study

china-study-myth Topple Your Favorite Sacred Cow. Use the App Below to Test Various Standard Medical Beliefs

Using raw data from the China Study, which examined mortality versus lifestyle and across a variety of counties in China, a number of cherished medical assumptions can be examined. Different counties had significantly different lifestyles, so this data is very useful for sorting out effect of lifestyle on health. The mortality data is taken from official county records, and the lifestyle choices and blood test items were obtained by random sampling. More info available here.

Don’t confuse the China Study data with the book of the same title. The book is about veganism, and claims this data supports such a lifestyle. We can find no evidence that it actually does. For two excellent analyses, see Minger here, or Masterjohn here. OR see for yourself.

Using the app, these presumed truths can be examined.

Does red meat cause cancer?


Is This Really True?

Does high cholesterol cause heart disease?

Is grain good for you?

How Important is fibre?

Is animal fat bad for you?

Is vegetable fat healthier?

No causality for these associations have every been proven, yet they are widely believed to be true and drive a lot of standard medical advice.The app below is an easy way to test the actual associations behind such advice.

Start with this one: Does red meat cause cancer?

Below, in the top box select “D050: RED MEAT (pork beef mutton) INTAKE…..

Then, in the mortality box select “M023: ALL MALIGNANT NEOPLASMS AGE 35-69…

Then click the “Plot” button. If the green trend line slopes upward, then it would mean that those that ate more red meat experienced more death from cancer. A downward slope would mean those eating more red meat got less cancer. Unless you are a regular reader of this blog, the answer may surprise you.

Select a dietary (Dxxx), blood test (Pxxx), or lifestyle (Qxxx) item:

Select a mortality cause:

Ignore Null Data (recommended)

1) “Associated with” does not mean “caused by.” Using this data, one can establish that red meat is associated with greater longevity. This doesn’t mean red meat was the cause. It could be that people who could afford red meat got better medical care. There could be other factors too. So nothing like “this causes that” is proven here.
To arrive at a conclusive answer requires more elaborate statistics, and such elaboration is subject to mischief as well. The China Study data has been averaged on a county by county basis, and additional statistical analysis, however done, is not feasible here. To perform such as analysis, individual records would be needed.
Despite these disclaimers, it can be taken as a tenet that if the indications of the raw data are to be contradicted by some elaborate statistics, the burden of proof lies with the latter.

2) Checking the “Discard Null Data” checkbox is recommended. It is often the case that data that is simply unavailable is recorded as zero, and using such data creates a false trend. Try it both ways.

3) Common sense. Any plot that has only a few number of points, or has the bulk of them lying on the horizontal or vertical axis is probably suspect. The plot of D047 & M006 is a good example.

  3 comments for “New Improved DIY China Study

  1. Jim
    July 14, 2016 at 8:43 am

    When looking at units, how do you interpret stand. rate / 1000?

  2. dc
    October 3, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Download all link?

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