How Marion Nestle Proves Her Own Thesis

Today I posted some comments on the Facebook group for leaders of Plant Pure Communities… A reading of her last book actually scares me, for she proves the very intellectual bias that she is accusing the rest of the industry of, and the way she completely dismisses The China Study is disingenuous to say the least. The fact seems to be that she likes dairy and seeks to obfuscate the voluminous evidence against it, but she does so in a way that is completely intellectually dishonest.

Some of us [Group Leaders in Plant Pure Communities] in New York went to a recent speech by Marion Nestle, who has undoubtedly done a lot to expose fraud in the food industry, however, in her last book Unsavory Truth, she also shows herself as the living proof of her own thesis, namely, she admits to liking dairy products and she disingenuously states in the book on p. 68 that:

From my reading of the research, I concluded that dairy foods are just like other foods. I still hold that opinion. If you do not like dairy foods, cannot tolerate their lactose, are allergic to their proteins, or do not want to eat them for any reason, you do not have to. Plenty of other foods provide the same nutrients. If you do like dairy foods (as I do), that is fine too- but watch out for calories and added sugars.

To make such a statement, nearly 15 years after the publication of the China Study, if you purport to be any kind of an expert on nutrition is disingenuous at the least. Her blog dismisses T. Colin Campbell without any scientific argument, but simply by declaring her faithfulness to the traditional framework of nutrition, which is a set of normative assumptions that were mostly an accident of history (the sequence in which nutrients were discovered), devoid of any rigorous scientific paradigm.

And after the date of this blog, I find no other reference to him, including in her latest book, Unsavory Truth. In short, Marion Nestle is the high priestess of MyPlate and the food industry, staying safely within the confines of the traditional nutritional paradigm, and enforcing truthfulness within that deeply flawed context.

She has done a lot of good in her way, by waking people up to the deceptiveness of the food industry, but in the end, she fails the test, because she even lacks the intellectual honesty to allow for the possibility of Campbell to have a point, in spite of his impressive credentials and the piles of subsequent research. The only Campbell she talks about is the soup company.

Again, Marion Nestle proves her own thesis that all research is biased and you need to adjust for that.

From my FB Post on 3/3/2019 on

I am familiar with her books Food Politics and now Unsavory Truths, but I cannot help myself that I find this level of dishonesty hard to take, and even more so the fact that after her mention of The China Study in 2011, the only Campbell she talks about is the soup company. She is the mother superior of nutritional information of the old religion of MyPlate, and the USDA and an industry hack under the guise of being an industry critic. She protests her intellectual honesty by smartly pointing out how her reputation is abused by some industry players who try to coopt her and whom she criticizes, but she utterly lacks any self-critical assessment of her own biases. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much… somebody said that.

In the spirit of this criticism, it is helpful to honor the value of the good work that Dr. Nestle does do, but to make your own adjustment for the bias of research, including her own. It also pays to remember that before the work of T. Colin Campbell, to all intents and purposes there was no nutritional science. The operative nutritional paradigm was a set of normative assumptions about the relative importance of nutrients that mostly resulted from the historical accident of when and how they were discovered. The work of T. Colin Campbell is a Copernican revolution exactly because it achieved for the first time a coherent, evidence-based, peer reviewed nutritional paradigm in the sense of establishing a framework of optimal human nutrition. Evidently, Campbell was able to challenge and eventually throw out his own personal assumptions and biases, including thinking that cow’s milk was ‘nature’s perfect food.’

Within the old paradigm for nutritional research, which is also duplicated in pharmaceutical research, the focus is reductionist: what are the effects on a certain symptomology of a single nutrient or drug. Followed perhaps by an assessment of the risk for ‘collateral damage.’ You end up with nonsense of necessity for your are now generalizing conclusions reached from the bottom up in a perfect reversal of cause and effect. Today, given that we know that the majority of chronic illnesses on which our society spends the vast majority of healthcare dollars, are preventable or reversible by a whole foods, plant-based diet, at the very least every such study should be controlled for diet – in its most primitive form #SAD (Standard American Diet) versus #WFPB (Whole Foods Plant-Based).