Yvette d’Entremont, aka “Science Babe” has it out for the internet’s favorite health food soldier, Vani Hari, aka “Food Babe.” Hari’s been getting significant attention online and in print over her rallies to get major food companies to change their “toxic” formulas. However, Science Babe believes she’s full of it.
Now before you go, “well of course someone’s hating on her. There’s always backlash when you take a stand in the spotlight,” Science Babe makes some decent points. She’s also an analytical chemist with a background in toxicology and forensics, so she probably knows what she’s talking about. She essentially says Food Babe doesn’t really understand what she’s preaching and never backs up her arguments with actual scientific evidence.
1. The water argument
Last year, Food Babe launched a campaign against Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte, because she thinks the level of sugar they put in it is toxic. Science Babe is very angry with Food Babe’s flagrant use of the word toxic, so she makes this point:
“The Food Babe has gone on record to say, ‘There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever.‘ I wonder if anybody’s warned her about good old dihydrogen monoxide? (AKA water.)” Point Science Babe.
2. Sugar isn’t that dangerous
Science Babe goes on to say that Food Babe’s fear of sugar is completely absurd.
“It’s a goddamn stretch to say that sugar has deleterious effects, other than making your Lululemons stretch a little farther if you don’t ‘namaste’ your cheeks off… The average adult would need to ingest about fifty PSLs in one sitting to get a lethal dose of sugar. By that point, you would already have hyponatremia from an overdose of water in the lattes.” This one’s a little below the belt (literally), thus I’m relinquishing Science Babe’s point from before.
And isn’t there evidence that eliminating sugar in our diets is healthy?
3. Fear is a dangerous weapon
“This is a blatant attempt at getting you to look to her for answers by making you unnecessarily afraid,” declares Science Babe. I have to agree with her on this point. Food Babe does use nasty-sounding chemical words to scare her readers into signing petitions against things that aren’t really that dangerous, but seem so when used in a certain context.
4. Rules are rules
Science Babe retaliates against Food Babe’s rule, “If a third grader can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it” by saying, “Don’t base your diet on the pronunciation skills of an eight-year-old.” The argument she uses to back this up is Food Babe’s diatribe against azodicarbonamide, which is a chemical found in both yoga mats and Subway sandwich bread. Of course, a chemical can be used in different ways and still be totally harmless.
5. Don’t look behind the bullshit curtain
Food Babe has a reputation for turning against any devil’s advocates to her food crusade, and this includes members of her “Food Babe Army.” Science Babe says, again, this is because none of her arguments hold water.
“If her arguments had merit, she could engage in a battle of wits with her detractors instead of making insidious accusations. It’s not about Hari, the woman who gets home at the end of the day, maybe gives her dog an (organic) treat and watches some crappy TV show. It’s about Food Babe LLC, the business organization that spreads terribly inaccurate science.”
6. Go organic
This one’s pretty revealing. Food Babe is all about food being organic because organic foods don’t have pesticides, but Science Babe says that’s a blatant lie. “The difference between organic and conventional? For a product that’s no healthier, organic is more expensive and they give Hari a commission.”
7. The anti-vaxxers’ lament
I saved a big one for last. Science Babe calls out Food Babe for advocating against flu vaccination. This is one of the biggest issues plaguing America today, and Science Babe says Food Babe is like the poster child for it, because she believes putting anything she doesn’t understand into her body is bad.
“Food Babe has written that, in order to deal with the flu, you should take vitamins, get sunshine, and ‘encounter the flu naturally.’ In other words, her advice is to get the flu, an infection that kills an average of 31,000 people annually.”
While harangue-y, Science Babe’s points (and evidence) are valid. However, she uses similar scare tactics and low blows to Food Babe, so I’m reluctant to just jump on her bandwagon. I think the lesson here is there are better ways to battle your enemy than lower yourself to their level and don’t believe everything you read.
Food Babe responded to Science Babe’s Gawker attack, saying the piece was “unprofessional” and “overly profane”, and that rather than being full of sh$%t, she’s “full of heart, love and hope for a better future.” She goes on to do what she normally does to nay-sayers, air out their “dirty laundry” to try and bring them down a peg. She even calls out Gawker for soliciting an “all-encompassing take down” of her. I would say she responded rather unprofessionally to what she calls an “unprofessional” post, but hey, all’s fair in love and blogging, right?