Monetizing fear: Food Babe shows how it’s done

image

PT Barnum famously said that you can’t go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public and blogger Vani Hari (Food Babe) is demonstrating the truth of that adage. Her artful manipulation of her Food Babe Army would warm Barnum’s heart.

Like Barnum, Hari depends for her money on the gullibility and lack of sophistication of her followers. They are so naive that they seem to have no awareness that Food Babe is a business, and they’ve been duped into buying an endless array of its useless products.

Maybe Vani’s followers are having trouble seeing Food Babe for the business that it is. Perhaps we should identify what Hari does by giving a nickname to her business; I suggest “Vansanto.”

Barnum at least had to put on his circus and that costs money. Monsanto at least has to create poducts that actually do something. “Vansanto” doesn’t have to do anything to rake in the dough. Hari, the “chief executive” of Vansanto, has figured out how to monetize fear, and that’s free, especially when you create it yourself.

I could spend a lot of time debunking Hari’s claims one by one, but I suspect that wouldn’t be very effective, because her followers lack the knowledge of basic science needed to understand them in the first place. But even those who never learned chemistry should have learned cynicism. They should be able to recognize a marketing ploy when they see one.

“Vansanto” is no more committed to your health and wellbeing than Monsanto is. Both are businesses that make money by promoting and selling products. Monstanto sells a range of products some of which have tremendous value, some of which have serious side effects and all of which fill Monsanto’s coffers.

“Vansanto” promotes and sells a range of products all of which have no intrinsic value since don’t do anything besides line Vani’s pockets. They only have value when you’ve been convinced to fear the less expensive, often far more effective, conventional alternative. That’s where Vani’s true brilliance comes in. She knows that her claims don’t have to make sense and don’t even have to be true; they just have to create fear and Vani is very, very good at doing that.

What’s amazing is that The Food Babe Army is oblivious to what seems pathetically obvious to me. Vani Hari creates fear in order to monetize it. “Vansanto” is no different from Monsanto in that regard. It is an enterprise that exists to create value and profit for its shareholders regardless of whether its products help or harm people.

Maybe members of the Food Babe Army could explain to me why they can’t see this. Is there a single member of the Food Babe Army that hasn’t been convinced to buy either a product that Vani sells, or to forgo buying a conventional product for one that Vani recommends? Is there a single member of her Army who isn’t supporting her with their own money? Can’t you see its about the money, not the food? Can’t you see that there’s no real difference between “Vansanto” and Monsanto except that one makes money for her and the other doesn’t?

Don’t you see that Vani Hari sparked your fear and you are now willing to pay her to make the very fear that she created go way? That doesn’t mark you as educated; it marks you as gullible, and profitable, fools.

  • Penelope

    Amy Tuteur, you are a creep. Are you suggesting that people should just eat whatever crap they find with no questions asked? Vani is doing good work. I do the same thing, but don’t blog about it. I call companies out on their horrible practices. Do you have a problem with that? You are constantly calling people out. What a f-in hypocrite.

    You’re so full of yourself, it’s disgusting.

    • No, you don’t. You can’t use your food blog to accept affiliate fees for natural food products and attempt to get Big Food companies to pay you to “consult” for them if you don’t blog about it. Blogging IS what Vani Hari does.

    • Who?

      Feel better? Good. Let’s review.

      People should be able to eat what they like, whether or not it is, in your opinion (or mine), crap, as you so eloquently put it. Whether or not a particular food or particular quantity of food is likely to improve or damage health is another question. I’d go so far as to say there are many items on supermarket shelves that carry such minimal nutritional value that ‘food’ is the wrong word to describe them. But I digress.

      Calling organisations and individuals out on what you see as questionable behaviour is a fair enough thing to do. Hopefully you have some knowledge of food, science, health or nutrition that gives you a sound basis for that, particularly if advice to others is part of what you offer.

      Telling people that certain foods are good for them, whatever that means, is unattractive behaviour if the speaker is taking money from the manufacturer. Conversely, say you were calling a company out about their food, and they offered you money to stop. If you said yes, you would be like the Food Babe. If you said no, you would not.

      You’re welcome.

  • Dr Kitty

    OT:
    You may remember a local hospital I was dealing with and their “no opioids for you lady!” analgesic policy for breastfeeding women.
    The breast feeding lead is looking into it, and so far they have suggested that in a “worst case scenario” I should prescribe Tramadol.
    Uh…nope.
    Why would I prescribe an expensive synthetic opioid with a very dirty mechanism of action, when I can prescribe nice, cheap, cleanly metabolised oral morphine?

  • Zornorph

    If I read this woman’s website, will I want to commit Hari Kari?

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Why does she blog though? Doesn’t she know that the radiation from her computer is going to give her ovarian cancer? And since cell towers kill millions of birds every year and wireless networks are just as bad, how does she actually connect to the internet? Maybe she just uses dial-up, I’m pretty sure that phone lines are still safe … or are they??

    • Bugsy

      She’s immune to ovarian cancer because she doesn’t touch the bleach that is in Subway bread…didn’t you know!?

  • Trixie

    Speaking of monetizing, now you can get a special discount on Evidence Based Birth’s Vitamin K and Eye Ointment class. http://evidencebasedbirth.com/early-bird-list-vitamin-k-eye-ointment-class/

    • Young CC Prof

      I can save you even more time and money:

      Just do it.

      • Box of Salt

        Arg. Typos. ^website

        • Box of Salt

          And the to my comment correction was supposed to go under my own . . .

          • Box of Salt

            Hmmm. Apparently I am incapable of typing coherently while watching Dr Who reruns.

          • Kq

            Which doctor???

          • Box of Salt

            Matt Smith – It was the Christmas Carol special. I was paying more attention the shark than the comment box.

        • Bugsy

          Ahh, I’m not sure about that – I personally think that ‘werbsite’ would be a great name for any site created by an all-natural snake-oil salesman to profit off of fear-mongering. Mercola, anyone?

    • Box of Salt

      I think I’ll restate my comment from the previous post on Dekker’s enterprises.

      She needs to rename her werbsite “Evidence I Want You to Pay Me For”

  • Toni Harmon apparently lacks basic reading comprehension skills – right in the article it states “does not show a causal relationship.” Yet she has the audacity to tweet the following:

  • Zoey

    Oh the FoodBabe. I somehow managed to get banned from her Facebook page before I ever actually went there or made a comment. Probably based on my membership in another group, but I don’t know for sure. I know lots of others that are banned too.

    It must have taken a lot of time and dedication to pre-emptively ban hundreds of people. But, I suppose it’s important to ensure that no one ever criticizes her. It might hurt the brand, after all.

  • Ash

    I have not read much of FoodBabe’s blog, but she does have an extremely amusing post about Starbucks. She says everything at Starbucks is toxic. So, one of her favorite things to do is go there, ask for a Sbux paper cup (GASP) with hot water , and use their space without paying for anything.

    • Young CC Prof

      But isn’t she inhaling all the toxins?

      • Roadstergal

        She should have noticed the Proposition 65 sign on the door of every Starbuck’s!

        (Whenever I look at the Prop 65 list, I wonder if I need to get a tattoo of that sign right across my back.)

        • Box of Salt

          I was always amused that the Prop 65 warning was posted on the entrance at my OB’s office building.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      She probably also has no qualms about mooching off their Wifi.

      • Ash

        That’s exactly why she goes–she says she likes using the Internet there.

        I should let her know that the wi-fi signal may be frying her brain.

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          I know. Radiation.

          • Mishimoo

            I know someone that sells special cards and stickers that protect you against the radiation for the low low price of $72.50 AUD (card) and $30AUD for the sticker. Apparently, the sticker enhances the quality of the cell signal while also blocking the radiation.

          • Mariana Baca

            Amazing how it can have two completely contradictory properties at the same time.

          • Mishimoo

            I wish I had a screenshot of the old online listing – they used to claim that it harnessed tachyons, now it’s just that it contains an “amazing chip absorbs nearby EMF radiation and transforms EMFs into harmless heat energy.” and “creates a protective shield”

    • Look closely.

  • sdsures

    I’ve never heard of Food Babe until today. Dare I don my wellies and wade into the insanity?

    • Amy M

      If you don’t get too upset at a bunch of crazy conspiracy theories.

      • sdsures

        Either it’ll be amusing, or it’ll make me start pulling my hair out.

        • Anthony Dzioba

          Both.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Life is too short. Don’t do it.

    • Young CC Prof

      Picture Mercola, only with a lot more hair. That’s about it.

      • sdsures

        Uh-oh…

    • araikwao

      Put your tinfoil hat on first. Helps you blend in there.

  • Matt Jordan MD

    So, scaring people about monsanto so that they buy your products is bad. But, scaring people about monsanto so that they share your clickbait article is good. I see very little difference between what Foodbabe does and what the author is doing. This is one of the most hypocritical articles i have seen yet. Whoever approved this article should be ashamed. I’m against foodbabe for the exact same reasons I’m against the way this article was done. What is next? Foodbabe is bad because she is anti-vax? She is just like those evil vaccinators at big-pHarma?

    • Amy M

      You are the 2nd person to say something like this…I will freely admit that I might be failing to comprehend something in this post, but I don’t see where there is fearmongering about Monsanto. It’s not in the title, so you’d already have to have clicked on the article to even find the word. I see some sentences pointing out that some of the products that Monsanto sells could be harmful, but this post isn’t about that, or about selling or shilling alternatives to what Monsanto sells.

      • Guesteleh

        Pretty sure this person is sock puppeting. Two alleged doctors making almost identical comments? Seems unlikely they’re legit.

        • Janice Rael

          This is a blog that doctors often read and comment on, it’s not out of the ordinary at all for people in the same profession to form a community around a particular blog. Also, not uncommon for doctors of medicine who trust science to share the same views on scientific issues as well as political issues.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Yeah, but both of these “doctors” have never commented here before. All of the sudden, two of them show up with verbatim comments?

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            They have the same IP address.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Not surprising.

          • sdsures

            These days, all anyone on the Internet has to do is make up a screen name with whatever qualifications they want behind it. i.e. On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

          • Cobalt

            But according to my inane Facebook quiz of the day, I’m an unvaccinated QUANTUM dog, with microbiome restoring slobber. Therefore, my declarations are all truer than “research”.

          • Who?

            Well they can tell from the content of your posts, they just can’t verify it.

            Arf.

            Oh no, my cover is blown!

          • sdsures

            Feeling a sudden need to sniff butts?

          • Who?

            No more than usual 😉

          • Guesteleh

            VINDICATED /

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            OK, who wants to defend them now? Sock-puppetry is probably the lowest form of participation, and clearly the sign of someone who is not participating in good faith.

          • sdsures

            What IS sock-puppetry?

          • Young CC Prof

            Creating multiple accounts, and using all of them at the same time. Having one talk to the other or agree with the other.

          • sdsures

            How…boring.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, it’s pretty lame.

            It’s pretty well considered the lowest form of trolling.

          • Janice Rael

            I never commented here before, either. This article is making the rounds in certain science communities on Facebook.

          • kellymbray

            They have the same IP address.

          • Janice Rael

            Oh, that sucks, then ban them for being trolls, or whatever this blog’s policy is on duplicate accounts.

          • Janice Rael

            I’ve been informed that they have the same IP address. So I guess I was wrong about them being separate doctors.

        • Maija Rabin

          Believe it or not, Monsanto does pay shills to spread this kind of stuff, you will find them on almost any comment board where someone points out the evil shit that Monsatan does.

          • Trixie

            Uh, Monsanto actually isn’t evil. I’m not getting paid to say that. They’re a corporation like any other, but they’re not particularly more evil than any other large multinational corporation. I’m still waiting on my shill check.
            Do you have any evidence that Monsanto pays shills?

          • Box of Salt

            Maija Rabin “Believe it or not, Monsanto does pay shills”

            No, I don’t believe it. Pretend I’m from Missouri and show me.

            On the other hand, I will speculate that commenter Maija Rabin not only posted this comment without being paid to do it, but also buys products off Food Babe’s website, thus paying the Food Babe for the privilege of supporting her. Shilling in reverse!

          • kellymbray

            Are you being paid by Mercola.com to spread disinformation about Monsanto?

          • Tosca

            Paying “shills” is an unethical and illegal advertising practice, and if Monsanto is indeed doing that they should face penalties. Please gather all your evidence and report them to the relevant authorities immediately.

            …you do HAVE evidence, right?

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Do you know what “clickbait” is?

      And didn’t we JUST read the same comment under a different name?

      IP check on Aisle 5, please!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Whoah, Matt Jordan/Leslie Barrie, way to miss the point. This piece is not about Monsanto. It’s about business marketing. Food Babe monetizes fear. This piece is about how gullibility and ignorance of science lead the credulous to fall for her marketing tactics.

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Clickbait (as I understand it) is the practice of using sensational headlines, written in such a way that they spark curiosity without satisfying it, in order to lead people into clicking on those headlines. The goal of clickbait is to gain advertising revenue. Now, I guess I don’t know but I don’t think that the Skeptical OB plants headlines all over the internet in the hope that people will click on them and I’m pretty sure her primary goal is not advertising dollars.

      More importantly, I have never actually heard anyone use the term “clickbait” to describe this blog, until today, when two doctors posted two comments within minutes of each other, both of which contained the accusation “clickbait,” which I don’t really think even applies. Funny how both people not only used the same jargon but failed to understand it in exactly the same way.

      Also, it would be much more interesting if you responded to people’s comments instead of just sarcastically summarizing them.

    • Tosca

      She IS bad because she is anti-vax. Vaccinations have been proven to be one of the most important public health initiatives of modern times. Anti-vaxxers are destroying the herd immunity on which the very young, and people with lowered immune systems (like me!) depend.

      Basically, anyone who is anti-vax is trying to kill me. Yeah, I consider that bad.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Basically, anyone who is anti-vax is trying to kill me. Yeah, I consider that bad.

        Try to kill me, I don’t care.

        Try to kill my kids and we have got a problem.

    • MaineJen

      Wow. Yeah. Many of the same talking points as the comments below from “ann nonymous” and the other “MD.” You need to be a little bit more subtle. Or hey! Try not sock-puppeting at all. And don’t, you know, pretend to be a doctor on a board full of REAL doctors. ‘Kay?

    • You mean “pHARMa.”

  • Anne Catherine

    Food Babe doesn’t bother me as much as the breastfeeding advocates (most of who should and do know better) who say that mothers are putting their children at risk for diabetes, cancer, obesity, low IQ and everything else under the sun if they can’t, choose not to, or quit breastfeeding.

    • Roadstergal

      She’s already poking her nose into pregnancy woo. I’m sure formula scaremongering is coming right up.
      http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/05/aviva-romm-and-the-quack-attack-on-glucola.html

    • araikwao

      Yeah, I’m a little disappointed that Red Wine & Applesauce has a link to a “breastfeed longer and save your child from obesity” study today. It seems a bit too confounded to make that sort of assumption to me. But I’m sure the breastfeeding brigade will live it and shout it from the rooftops and the Facebook and the Twitter and whatever..

    • Trixie

      Oh, it’s just a matter of time til she reproduces.

  • Mark Alsip

    “Vansanto”… priceless! Loved the article

  • Amy M

    Wow, I just looked at Food Babe blog (had heard of her, but never read any) and while I wasn’t surprised, the stupid never ceases to amaze me. There were a few dissenting comments in the comments section, left there, so at least there isn’t censorship over there. But, everyone who suggested that there is no scientific evidence for what the FB was saying was immediately shot down by the tin foil hat brigade, insisting that they had PROOF that red dye and GMOs are bad because their children only act like hooligans and develop mitochondrial disease when they walk by a product containing red dye or GMOs, and as soon as they avoid that poison, they are magically cured.

    One person left a link to a report about levels of radiation in fish from the waters near Fukishima (in response to something relevant) and the lunatics replied that it couldn’t be trusted because the source was CNN. Only the conspiracy theory websites that agree that the government and Monsanto are trying to kill us all are credible.

    And FB never responded to any of them—sometimes her assistant did. Probably because she knows she’s a charlatan, and can’t engage with anyone who can call her out. I bet she eats McDonald’s when no one is looking.

    • Roadstergal

      My favorite Food Babe ever remains the “Microwaves make Hitler crystals” bit. Although the “Airplane air has 50% nitrogen!” is pretty precious.

      • sdsures

        Come again?

        • PrimaryCareDoc
          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Sometimes, when I’ve had a bad day, I read the Hitler Water article for a laugh. Never fails to bring a smile to my face. Some of my favorite lines…

            “…when you stand in front of a radar device you will start perspiring/cooking from the inside out, just like food is cooked in the microwave oven. The heat is generated by the rapid movement of molecules and the breaking down of molecular bonds. Each year millions of birds are killed when they get too close to, or sit on, cell towers. And apparently, the same can happen to the human body when it is exposed to this type of radiation on a regular basis. After all, human cells are made of molecules and molecular bonds are broken and destroyed when exposed to radiation.”

            And: “Last by not least, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is famous for taking pictures of various types of waters and the crystals that they formed in the book called “Hidden Messages in Water,” found water that was microwaved did not form beautiful crystals – but instead formed crystals similar to those formed when exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs. If this is happening to just water – I can only imagine what a microwave is doing to the nutrients, energy of our food and to our bodies when we consume microwaved food. For the experiment pictured above, microwaved water produced a similar physical structure to when the words “satan” and “hitler” were repeatedly exposed to the water.”

            I love it! Hitler and Satan water! Who knew that water had Judeo-Christian values???

          • Joy

            That is my theory too. You figure there has to be some jerk water that is a Nazi sympathiser. I mean, the water didn’t intentionally choke the Nazis and I bet it could have if it wanted to.

          • Roadstergal

            Dihydrogen Monoxide was critical to the success of the Nazi regime!

          • Sue

            Even more potent if you add not-very-much Nat. Mur.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s the one! My microwaved soup is full of homeopathic fascism!

          • MaineJen

            Water…”exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs?” WTF does that even mean?

            Oooooh that Dr. Emoto. The one who graduated from a Japanese community college with a degree in International Relations, then became a “Doctor of Alternative Medicine” in Oklahoma, and whose work was never published in any peer-reviewed journals. Way to pick your sources, Food Babe.

          • Amy M

            I showed it to my husband, he never heard of the foodbabe, Dr.Mercola or the water-exposed-to-bad-thoughts theory. He now understands why I get so frustrated with woo and those who peddle it.

          • yugaya

            What exactly does “to expose the words to the water” mean? I have a few crazy ideas but I doubt that they are even remotely as crazy as the “scientific” experiment that was used to produce these conclusions. :)))

          • Trixie

            So what if you’re both a holocaust denier and believe in Hitler water? Which conspiracy theory wins?

          • Young CC Prof

            The one thing cranks do not require in a belief system is internal consistency.

          • Samantha06

            WTF???

          • sdsures

            I fucking hate pseudoscience.

          • Mariana Baca

            I like the airline article more. Your air might be 50% nitrogen! Gasp.

          • Samantha06

            Just when you think you’ve seen everything….

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      There is rampant censorship on that blog. Check out the “Banned by the Food Babe” facebook site. Over 4,000 members and growing every day!

      • Amy M

        Oh. Dang! Well, that’s not surprising either…I wonder how the ones I saw got past the censor then?

        • Guesteleh

          That’s the most genius kind of censorship. Let a few slip through so you seem like you’re allowing a real conversation and ban the rest.

    • Who?

      I don’t really care what the FB eats, I mind her telling everyone else what they need to eat on pain of whatever it is she says will happen, then selling-what a surprise-exactly that thing.

  • Seattle Mom

    Wasn’t it the Food Babe who said, oh I am so shocked, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte doesn’t have any actual pumpkin in it? Who would want pumpkin bits floating around in their coffee, and how would you know if there was pumpkin flavor in your coffee since pumpkin doesn’t really have a flavor.

    • Mishimoo

      Pumpkin tastes pretty gross to me, so I was pretty relieved when I heard that. (As far as I know, Pumpkin Spice everything hasn’t made it over here yet)

      • Who?

        Roasted, with a little salt, olive oil and rosemary, delicious.

        • RKD314

          Also as soup, with cream and chestnut puree (sounds gross, but it is SO GOOD). Or as ravioli filling, with a sage and brown butter sauce.

        • Mishimoo

          That’s how I make it for my husband, who adores pumpkin! Or in a soup with cream, like RKD314 suggested. They smell amazing, so I try it again and…bleh.

    • Amy M

      Yeah, ’cause she’s a moron. Pumpkin-spice (note hyphen) is a thing, used in pumpkin pies. It doesn’t contain pumpkin, nor is it meant to. It has cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (maybe more?). Those are the pumpkin spices flavoring the coffee. This is more of a reading comprehension fail than anything else.

      • Roadstergal

        Yes, exactly. Pumpkin spice is what makes stuff with pumpkin in it taste good!

        As someone who had full medical/dental/health coverage (including contraceptive pills) with Starbuck’s while working as an hourly-wage barista for a year at a bad time in my life, I tend to like to give them my custom. Since they didn’t cave to Food Babe, I have even more reason to get my white mochas there.

      • birthbuddy

        Was pumpkin one of the spice girls?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Me: “Last night, I dreamed I was a Spice Girl”
          Friend: “Which one?”
          Me: “Posh, of course”

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      She also complained that the air pumped into the cabins in airplanes was only 50% oxygen.

      Seriously.

      Actually, I take that back. There’s no way that could have been serious.

      A couple days ago, I likened her to my kindergartener, who, in learning to read, struggles with “hard words.” But jeez, you know by the time they get to middle school or wherever, this “words I can’t pronounce” excuse doesn’t work any more. By that time, if they come to words they don’t know, they are supposed to be looking them up in the dictionary.

      Now, the “words I can’t pronounce” that the Food Babe is peddling are not things that are simple dictionary vocabulary, and they do actually require some post-high school courses in organic and/or biochemistry, but then again, so what? That doesn’t mean that it’s evil or bad. In fact, organic chemistry is a foundational course for a very large number of professions, including most in the area of health.

      So if the Food Babe wants to talk about the science of food, I invite her to come take my Orgo class. We’ll help you get that background to help you understand those “big words” that are giving you so many problems. The organic chemistry of food is in fact one of my favorite topics, and so I talk about it as much as a can. Just the other day, I fried up some bacon in class, because it is great for demonstrating reactivity of unsaturated fats. Second semester gets even more fun when talking about the structures of biological molecules like proteins and carbs, because you can do great demos like frying eggs, baking bread and making jam or cheese.

      Personally, I see it more of a case of anti-intellectualism. Is it really anything other than the Cool Kids making fun of the Computer Geeks?

      • MaineJen

        Your organic class sounds WAY more fun than the one I took.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Make no mistake, we do the other stuff, too.

          • Medwife

            Are you Alton Brown?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I taught Alton Brown his organic chemistry.

            Not really, but I could have.

            However, he knows more food chemistry than I do.

    • araikwao

      You must have different pumpkins in the US. Pumpkins definitely have a flavour, although seeing that probably helps me understand why pumpkin makes its way into so many incongruous (to me) food products in the recipe blogs I follow!

      • demodocus’ spouse

        Nah, the US’s have flavor, just a lot of people don’t care for it. And the cultivars for making jackolanterns aren’t the tastiest. They are native to our continent. The hard squashes are all from South or North America.

      • MLE

        Pumpkin definitely has a district flavor to me, but it’s not strong like a pumpkin pie spice mix of course. I would not want a glass of pumpkin juice a la Harry Potter unless it was heavily sugared and spiced, much like I wouldn’t like a glass of acorn squash juice.

      • Who?

        They are available in tins in the US, like those green beans I suppose. I had the tutorial from an American friend-her local version, anyway. It seems to be more an ingredient or decoration (!) than food for people, though apparently stock eat it.

        • araikwao

          Yeah, I remembered some time later that we call a bunch of things “pumpkin” that are just considered “squash” in the US. (And so many things you can buy in a can there that I never dreamed of..)

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Oh yeah, I couldn’t believe anyone would actually expect there to be pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte. It’s a squash. Why would you want to drink a squash? And it’s not called a “pumpkin latte,” it’s called a “pumpkin spice latte,” which implies that it has pumpkin spice in it, not actual pumpkin. Food Babe is a nitwit.

  • Gretchen Alexander

    Vani Hari is Jim Jones reincarnated. “Buy my GMO-free organic purple koolaid for only $19.95…”

    • SporkParade

      I was about to say that I think you are exaggerating by comparing a crazy food blogger to someone who straight up murdered his own followers. Then I realized that there are people who die from all of this GMO-free, organic only obsession. They are they poor people (mostly black) in underdeveloped countries who can’t afford food because the arable land is being used in an unsustainable way by overly picky, pseudoscience obsessed (mostly white) people in wealthy countries.

      So I guess I’m saying, “Yeah, sorta?”

  • fiftyfifty1

    I was introduced to The Food Babe by a patient who proudly told me that she had been following her blog and had started scrutinizing labels and was avoiding a number of additives that The FB warned against. She was so proud of how much “healthier” she was feeding her family. Unfortunately, her bloodwork came back with an A1c nearly 2 points higher than last year. So this woman was spending all this effort to cut out these supposed toxins and her bloodwork showed that her diet actually worsened considerably. It’s bad enough when rich, privileged, healthy, suburban people waste their effort and money on this crap, but it’s especially tough to take when people who *don’t* have money or health to waste get tricked.

  • ann nonymous

    “It is an enterprise that exists to create value and profit for its
    shareholders regardless of whether its products help or harm people”. – That is some mighty fine fear mongering right there.
    Pretty hypocritical to trot out the same tired old anti-monsanto fear mongering that foodbabe does to support the idea that fear mongering is bad. The author should really try reassessing whether or not she is actually against fear mongering considering she does it herself in this very same article.

    • Eric

      I guess Ann anonymous (wow, so clever) doesn’t understand irony, or how it’s being used to make a valid point here. Perhaps I would be more open to your comments if they actually addressed the points in the article, rather than the author’s style of making them.

      Do you deny that Food Babe trades in fear?

      • Sue

        I expect that the name “Monsanto” came up on some sort of feed and the sockie “MDs” were sent in to fight. They didn’t think we could tell. Funny.

    • Young CC Prof

      The author “fearmongers” about actual dangers.

      The Food Babe fearmongers about things she made up or didn’t understand.

      • Dr. Leslie Barrie

        so, when foodbabe says monsanto sells harmful products its not true. But, when the author says monsanto sells harmful products it is true. Got it.
        This article is hypocritical clickbait. No different than what foodbabe does, just playing for a different audience.

        • Amy M

          Now you are making things up. Monsanto may or may not sell harmful products, that’s not the point. Foodbabe fails to provide scientific evidence for her claims (that carrageenan will destroy your gut, that GMOs are harmful and cause neurological disorders, to name a couple). FB is making some pretty sweeping claims about what will cause harm,with nothing to back it up. But she appeals to an audience of non-scientists who don’t need backup, they just rely on their emotions. They become sufficiently scared and will then 1)stop buying whatever products FB tells them to, and 2)buy whatever she is selling.

          • Dr. Leslie Barrie

            Who is making something up about Monsanto selling harmful products? Who is making assertions about Monsanto not having any concern other than profits? You are insinuating that they are indeed the evil cadre of greedy world-poisoners that Foodbabe makes them out to be and using the same fear to sell your viewpoint (and get clicks).
            If you have some secret knowledge that their products are harmful, if you have some proof that they don’t have anyone on their payroll who has any concern about the safety of their products, you should alert the FDA immediately not use that assertion to get clicks for your article about how it is bad when the Foodbabe does it.

          • PrimaryCareDoc

            Again with this clickbait thing. So weird.

          • Amy M

            No one here made assertions that Monsanto is harming customers, you are (deliberately) missing the point. And I am not Dr. Amy, I just happen to have the same first name.

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Does anyone understand the mechanism by which GMOs are supposed to cause harm? I really don’t get how they can be any different than plants/animals that are selectively bred. I mean, maybe they are, I’d love to know. Is Food Babe and her ilk worried that someone’s going to genetically engineer puffer fish venom into the prime rib or something?

          • MLE

            The DNA jumps out of the food and roams around your body with a microscopic pickaxe, destroying anything in it’s path.

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Oh well, that makes sense then.

          • Amy M

            A nano-pickaxe.

          • Amy M

            I don’t get it either. I think they hear the word “radiation” and/or “genetic engineering” and immediately think “cancer” and “attack of the clones.” Clearly they just don’t understand what GMOs really are, how they are made and WHY they are made, and ignorance = fear.

        • Young CC Prof

          No, you just didn’t understand what you read.

    • Jorge Sacio

      I don´t see any fear mongering. Maybe you should upgrade your reading skills.

      • Guest

        Maybe you should get lasik, or a reading comprehension course.

        • Jorge Sacio

          What a witty remark. But I can see you´re a troll and a follower of FB. Nice combination…

      • Who?

        Whip off those sunnies and try again.

        • Jorge Sacio

          Quite a remark from someone who impersonates a certain Doctor….

    • GiddyUpGo123

      A “monger” is a person who sells something. A fishmonger sells fish. A fear monger sells fear. You can’t be a fear monger unless you are profiting from making people afraid. Defining an enterprise as “Something that exists to create value and profit for its
      shareholders regardless of whether its products help or harm people” doesn’t fit the definition of fear mongering, because the author is never going to profit from making that statement. If, however, she said “Food Babe exists to create value and profit for its shareholders, and now you can buy t-shirts from me that say so,” then that would be closer to the definition of “fear mongering.”

      Of course, there are different levels of fear mongering. In the first version, you tell someone the truth, even though the truth might scare them and push them towards spending money on products that address their fears (a good example of this is vaccinations–your pediatrician may get a small profit from selling you a vaccine in order to address your fears that your child might get pertussis, and technically that’s “fear mongering” even though the net result is that your child gets vaccinated and protected from disease as a result). In the second version, you tell someone lies that scare them and then try to sell them products that address those fears. The second version is a lot more dangerous, because you can invent any fears you like and make them as scary as you want and then sell people products that won’t actually help them because you made it all up in the first place. Which type is Food Babe?

      • fiftyfifty1

        “-your pediatrician may get a small profit from selling you a vaccine”
        A eagerly await that magical day when doctors break even on vaccines rather than take a loss on every single one.

        • Medwife

          My private practice wouldn’t break even with the cost of vaccine storage and administration. So we don’t have them. It sucks, bothers me a lot that I can’t administer the vaccines I recommend, but that’s life with healthcare as a business.

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Ah, I guess it wasn’t such a good example then. That does suck, I had no idea. I knew vaccines weren’t a huge moneymaker for doctors, but I didn’t know they had to take a loss to administer them. 🙁

          • Medwife

            Doing all these Pap smears and LEEPs etc while not giving Gardasil is the epitome of downstream focused public health. Grr.

        • Amy

          Seriously. That must be why EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR’S OFFICE I’ve ever been in has big signs up that say nobody will be denied vaccines based on ability to pay.

      • Dr. Leslie Barrie

        The author is scaring people about Monsanto for clickbait. Foodbabe scares people about Monsanto to hype her products. Somehow it is totally different when evil foodbabe does it compared to when good clickbait author does it.Got it.

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          How is this article about scaring people about Monsanto?

          Methinks this is another great example of the critical thinking skills of the Food Babe Army.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I agree. I never saw anything scary said about Monsanto.

            The only negative comment about Monsanto products in the article is that it creates some products that have serious side effects. Which is true. Some of their products have serious side effects. However, how is that “scaring people about Monsanto”? Lots of products that lots of companies make have serious side effects. We always have to weigh the goods with bads. And no where here does Dr Amy say that the bads outweigh the goods of Monsanto products.

            The parachuting doctors sound more to me like Monsanto defenders than FB groupies.

          • Trixie

            How big of a shill check are you going to get for saying thay!?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            If anyone wants to pay me for that comment, I will take the ca$he.

          • Trixie

            I just noticed my typo up there. Just like a real Food Babe commenter.

        • Amy M

          Forget Monsanto. Everywhere you see the word “Monsanto” in the post, substitute the words “Phillip Morris.” The point will remain the same.

    • Amy M

      Most (public) businesses exist to create value and profit for their shareholders, regardless of whether the products help or harm. Of course, if the products are shown to harm, this can hurt the bottom line, reduce shareholder profits and drive the company out of business, so its in the business’s best interests to make products that help, or at least have no harmful effect.

      The most clear examples would be Pharma and Automotive—people need medicine and safe cars to drive, but the businesses that make them can earn a billion % profit as well. If there is a recall on a drug or a car because someone died, that’s terribly bad and no one wants that. The shareholders and business owners, though motivated by profit, aren’t actively trying to (physically)hurt people. They just want to get as much money from customers as possible. But a dead consumer = serious consequences for company=significant money loss.

      Of course, one of the marketing ploys commonly used is fear. If you don’t buy THIS car, how can you be sure you will get your children safely to school, if some crazy crashes into you? Our car is safer. Food Babe suggests that conventional food is scary (OMG! She can’t pronounce the ingredients!) and the stuff she sells is safer–you will live longer! Be healthier! See your great-grandchildren!. As long as none of her products actually kills anyone, she’s golden.