Babe Wars Aside, We Just Can't Ignore the Science Anymore

I want to share my thoughts on the recent Food Babe and Science Babe battle; I can’t deal with multiple, sparring “babes”, so I’m going with FB and SB. If you are unaware of what’s going on, you can read the recent article that SB wrote about FB here. I have a bit of a problem with SB. Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 3.23.47 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 3.31.12 PMSB may be just as dangerous as she claims FB to be. This is a woman whose bio states that she loves Diet Coke and who has attracted a cadre of followers who seem to delight in a blog that defends their choice of fast food lunch. SB is so intent on discrediting FB that she ignores the science coming out regarding the current state of our food industry and the dangers it does pose. I can accept some of the criticism of FB, but my greater concern is that SB also is writing to please sponsors and when people read her blogs discrediting FB, they lose sight of what the real issue is. We could even go as far as saying the drama SB is creating is merely a distraction ploy, while what we really should do is take the focus off FB and put the focus on what is happening in our food system right now.

FB’s journalistic style and claims aside, there is widespread agreement and supporting science that processed fast foods and sodas are simply not good for you and that the way we are producing food is affecting our health.

SB does not even so much as mention the mass of science surfacing about many food corporations manipulation of and the resulting ill effects from many processed foods. Consider this recent study here finding that when foods are highly processed they start to become addictive much like drugs.  “…addictive substances are rarely in their natural state, but have been altered or processed in a manner that increases their abuse potential. For example, grapes are processed into wine and poppies are refined into opium. A similar process may be occurring within our food supply.”  Hmmm, know anyone who has ever struggled to give up Diet Coke? I know many.

Or lets examine this study that found additives in our food such as emulsifiers or “detergent-like” compounds used to keep foods like mayonnaise from separating into its separate parts - cause massive disruption to the gut bacteria of lab mice, even at low doses! Two common emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulsos, were used in the study and were also found to trigger metabolic syndrome, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. A great deal of research is also surfacing about the importance of our gut bacteria to our overall health and body weight, You can read about it here ; talk about a punch in the gut!

In the Annual Review of Public Health they report that “A diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.” That review can be found here

The Atlantic published an article last year stating “Science compared every diet and the winner is real food.” (Article found here). This article perfectly deciphers what true healthy eating is. "If you eat food direct from nature, you don’t even need to think about this. You don't have to worry about trans fat or saturated fat or salt—most of our salt comes from processed food, not the salt shaker. If you focus on real food, nutrients tend to take care of themselves."

 There is little educated disagreement that we are now fighting a rise in antibiotic resistant super-bugs. Increasingly, science suggests that a contributing factor is the antibiotics used on our factory farmed animals. Read about this here. This is science we ignore at our own potential peril. 

All of this is science, science that SB seems to be ignoring.

Many experts and people of science who have studied the subject agree that eating real food and avoiding processed and fast food is better for our health. FB has undoubtedly made some missteps, but perhaps we can also agree that FB’s style has drawn more attention to the problem and resulted in improvements to our food supply. She’s doing what many have tried to do and failed; she’s literally changing what we eat by getting food companies to remove additives. 

  • McDonald’s and Costco will sell only antibiotic-free chicken by 2017,
  • Nestle will remove artificial flavoring from its 250 chocolate products by the end of this year,
  • Chick-fil-a announced plans to phase out chickens raised on antibiotics.
  • Subway removed azodicarbonamide from their bread. Regardless of some experts claiming this is safe to consume in small doses, this is just not necessary in bread. Unless, of course, you frantically scamper around your kitchen looking for a pinch of azodicarbonamide when you bake bread at home…
  • Kraft is removing artificial dyes from some products

One last note; SB also tries to discredit organic farming in her blogs. There is certainly a lot of debate, even in the science community, regarding organics and I am not going to wade in deeply, but I will say this. There is a massive and incredibly well-funded campaign at work right now to discredit organic. In fact there are well-funded campaigns by both sides, organic and GMO (genetically modified organisms/crops), so none of us should be naïve about the capitalistic forces at work on our diets. As capitalism goes, the greatest potential monetary returns often draw the greatest monetary support (think of better funded, more sophisticated, stealthier campaigns that sway public opinion, sort of like a good Coke campaign…). Considering that nature holds the patent on organic foods*, no one else can claim a lucrative patent on those existing plants. However, corporations can patent new foods they create like, say, GMOs. Imagine a world in which most of the commercially available food supply carried a royalty paid to companies like Monsanto! There’s some food for thought that just might make you sick… 

 So, chow down on all the sodas and fast food you wish, but please don’t think that science defends such a diet as harmless. Unless, of course, you’re trying to emulate Paula Deen’s career…

I realize I am going to get a lot of heat from SB and I don’t look forward to being bullied to hell by her followers. But this discussion really is serious; after all, it’s about life and death. In 1993 the Journal of the American Medical Association listed diet as one of the lifestyle factors blamed for half of deaths in 1990. Here we are more than 20 years later and we have barely made any progress. Today, the two major leading causes of death in this country are preventable and in large part associated with diet.

Sorry, SB, but we just can’t ignore the science anymore.


*Edit: just to clarify, by law you cannot patent anything occuring in nature, for example fruits and vegetables. You can however patent GMO fruits and vegetables. Since by law organics cannot contain GMOs, my point was simply you cannot patent organic fruits and vegetables. & Because people KEEP bringing the patent issue up: Organic HYBRID seeds can be patented and pretty much anything man made, but laws of nature & physical phenomena cannot be. Patent law classifies physical phenomena as products of nature. Thus, if your invention occurs in nature, it is a physical phenomenon and cannot be patented.