Science Babe takes down Food Babe

No, you should eat everything capitalists want to sell you as food, because then they will make lots of money and America will be strong again.

Citation Respectfully Requested


I love how the debunker is untrustworthy because she previously worked at a chemical company, but a letter about her from one of her supposed co-workers (under an assumed name) from that same company is completely above-board.


Are you trying to correct something I don’t know or didn’t say?

I meant ADDED chemicals. For instance, I don’t need artificial flavor enhancers for the most part. And I definitely don’t need food color…I don’t care if the food color is 100% safe…it is unnecessary for most product. What I’m getting at is added shit that shouldn’t be there, and could be just as good without it. I love a good burger cooked over an open fire. What I don’t want is a good burger that has been given steroids and antibiotics just because – especially when I have a compromised immune system and there are dangerously few antibiotics left that can treat me compared to when I was a child and everything worked. Why? Because we gave them out like candy to farm animals and then I’m in surgery to have MRSA cut out of my sinuses because the antibiotics we have access to couldn’t kill the crap on its own.

This is where I fall down on it. I don’t give a damn about the chemicals…and I’m being overly broad with the term because yes…having a background in BioChem when I was premed and then accepted to med school before I decided I really wanted to focus on a different subject…yeah…I know what chemicals are.

I’m not adverse to risk, I’m adverse to unnecessary risk when the alternative is good non-factory based foods.

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Yeah, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about…like, the counter-takedown says

Also, I think it’s important to note, Amvac [Yvette d’Entremont’s previous employer] has a collaboration agreement with Monsanto to co-market Roundup ready platforms. The same Roundup that has glyphosate, which has been listed by the IARC and WHO as a probable carcinogen and the same Roundup that is directly associated with GMO crops.

This is a perfect example of where good intentions are getting all fucked up. Roundup and the over-use of pesticides like it to protect monocultures grown by industrial farmers like Monsanto is a BIG, LEGITIMATE issue! And avoiding foods grown with that stuff is probably a good bet if you don’t like industrial farming or pesticide over-use!

But…it’s used to try and shoot the messenger with an ad homenim against someone pointing out that Food Babe ain’t doin’ her basic research. Which is not the best use of that knowledge!

It’s frustrating. Food Babe deserves to be pilloried, but if you look at the origins of her fearmongering, you’re seeing actual problems that need fixing, even if she’s being a huge buffoon about it.


Give food babe another chance, she’s pushing that 8yo into new ingredients to pronounce. And my ideal food? So like a yoga mat. Neopolitan yoga mat is all over the place, and it’s good for a whole 4 minutes out of the oven (and in the oven, it’s quite hot.)

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I admit that I was not interested until I read @OtherMichael’s brief summary. Then I had to see it.

Sweet baby Jesus, what a vindictive scum-sucking asshole. The random quote from the anonymous source is ridiculous. A master’s thesis not being published is not unusual. She sounds like a technician, probably in QC. Every corporate asshole would love to replace competent technicians with robots. The reason you hire people is because you can’t. She might be fired because of her scibabe blog, mainly because corporations don’t like blogs. Or, for that matter, people having lives outside the company. Either way, the person who wrote it sounds like a magnificent asshole with a bug up his butt about his coworker.


Yeah, like all that Nitrogen on air planes! When are they going to start pumping in pure Oxygen like nature intended?

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I always feel like any discussion of food safety is a lose-lose proposition.

On the one hand: most of the people telling us that food and drugs (and other things) are safe are the ones selling them, or closely affiliated with the sellers, or easily bribed by the sellers. And there’s a history of claims of safety for things like cigarettes, cocaine, radium, asbestos, lead paint, thalidomide, etc. It’s not irrational to maintain some level of skepticism of synthetic ingredients, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, plastics, or whatever, because of that history.

On the other: most of the people telling us that those things are unsafe are also selling something. Including bullshit and ignorance. “Detoxing” and “cleanses” and homeopathy and “natural” sugar bombs and supplements that have undergone less testing than most of the things that we’re supposed to worry about.

“Natural” is basically meaningless. Humanity is not “natural.” We wear clothes, we build homes, we use language and mathematics, we make art, we live at the mercy of complex economic systems that few or none actually understand, and we have fights about things on the internet.


When you cook food, you add chemicals. That was my point.

Which is a subjective evaluation. More power to you.

Which is a real issue, and one that broadly indicts overzealous use of antibiotics, but it’s simply not responsible to attach it vicariously to the use of such a broad category as “added chemicals.”

Um… and?

Good for you. But “necessary” is a subjective evaluation based on priorities. I am more likely to die driving than I am to die from eating pretty much any food commonly deemed fit for consumption, chemicals “added” or not. I take that “unnecessary” risk because I deem it necessary. Risk prioritization is something people do every day. You want to take it to an extreme for food, fine. Just don’t pretend it’s logically consistent with the science that has demonstrated time and time again that the risks are minimal.


ok but you know what?
Subway bread is pretty gross.


I love the smell of dimethylpolysiloxane in the morning.


The rates would vary from crop to crop, but BT resistant corn saw 25% decrease in pesticide use IIRC, the bugs could eventually become resistant (I think there may have been some evidence of this, but nothing conclusive), but better crop rotation and other techniques will get around things like this in the future. The details are easily googlable, and as long as you avoid advocacy websites for your info you should be ok.

All large scale farming requires pesticide and herbicides, doesn’t matter whether it’s organic or standard non-GMO crops. GMOs can reduce the need for both by using fewer doses at a higher rate for lower total usage, or allow us to use more effective pesticides that would otherwise damage the crops themselves, again requiring less overall, or help with natural pest resistance to further lower the required amounts.

We’re unlikely to get everything right out of the gate though, and nature will always fight back, but it’s that or lose a huge portion of our produce to pests, disease, etc., putting even more strain on an already over-strained global food production system.

The solution to these problems isn’t less technology and more wishy-washy nonsense with no evidence to back it up, it’s smarter technology, and smarter control of that technology (in some cases this might be more government regulation, though that shouldn’t be necessary as these things affect profits, so farmers have plenty of incentive to do the right things as it is).

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You’re a real “coin-a-sewer”…


Most foods do require the flavor enhancing additives because they taste bland without them, that’s what you get when you mass produce food. They also require the preserving additives. There’s little to no evidence any of these things are in any way harmful though, the main problem with mass produced food these days is the amount of sugars and refined carbs in them. People should cook their own food from scratch with the raw ingredients though, you won’t need to worry about any of this then.


The thing is, that’s not the origins of her fearmongering. Why would someone be scared of Nitrogen on airplanes? Because they don’t understand what Nitrogen is, and more than that, because they’re afraid that the companies that run airlines don’t have the best interests of the traveler in mind when flying. One of those things is basic ignorance of high school science. The other one is actually something that is true about the world that is awful and needs to change.


It’s kind of compelling hearing the volumes of the stuff (glyphosate, not azodicarbonamide) sold every year (as opposed to successively subtler use to pace global uptake,) but I didn’t manage to read down to why I want GI bacteria to have nice functional tryptophan engines or how resilient they are. Like in 15 from 2013, p. 1416ish, Samsel and Seneff…should look out for zinc and sulfur deficiency tags, inability to digest olives, plenty of avenues, get that on a watch and keep noshing the emergency organic stash.

Right - not just that, but “food person” (I’d use her name… but I don’t know it) is using a rather silly version of the “only eat food” maxim from Michael Pollan: not if an 8th grader can pronounce it, but if your grandmother would recognize it as “food”. There is sense in that - more sense than in demonizing “chemicals”, which is silly, or in saying that if it doesn’t make you drop dead instantly (DDT, classically, or this “yoga mat” stuff) then it’s perfectly OK and wholesome.
There is a lot to be said for giving preference to less-processed food, and thus avoiding the chemicals (even non-poisonous chemicals) which permit industrial food processing.
There is a lot to be said for encouraging small producers, both health-wise and culturally, and thus avoiding techniques which permit large-scale growing and processing.
Caze says we are the healthiest people ever, and I suppose he (probably “he” but maybe not) thinks that our long life-span implies that, but it could be just that we are the most hygienic and have antibiotics. While we recover from infections way better than people used to, that has little to do with diet. We get more cancer, cardio-vascular disease, and diabetes than ever before, and that is diet-related.

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People lead much less healthy lives because of the foods though. I mean, why does my bread have HFCS in it? Unnecessary. And I LOVE the flavor of this stuff. Will it kill you? No. Will it give you diabetes? Not in moderation. However, it is entirely designed to reduce the moderating factors and consume more. You might be less likely to die, but more likely to get ill.

And for the record, I posted my credentials because you seem to think we are disagreeing, or that I may not get what you were saying. I most assuredly do. I’m just saying I’D like to eat simpler foods that have less ingredients in them, and less need for the pharmaceutical industry to be a part of it, and less need for modifying DNA, and less need for flavor additives…I say this knowing I made iced tea last night and I stirred in a little citric acid to heighten the flavor. Why didn’t I just squeeze a lemon or an orange into it? I know where those came from…I have no idea of the process for the CA. Sometimes we do these things because it is easier and convenient and stores a little longer. I’d be happier if my food had an expiration date that was within days as opposed to months. That’s all I’m saying. No scientific evidence saying that anything in this food is bad, purely that I’d like to eat MORE naturally, knowing it is all a matter of degrees.

"Hari tirelessly reminds her blog readers that the next time they take licks of vanilla ice cream or spoonfuls of strawberry oatmeal, 'there’s a chance you’ll be swirling secretions from a beaver’s anal glands around in your mouth.'”
I believe @boundegar was the reader noting that tyranny is the removal of nuance...

And yeah, like everyone else said, Hari’s response piece steps right past “reasonable and cogent response” and goes right into character assassination. And the pandering, oh my word the pandering!

Aww, so sweet. So maybe less of the beaver anal glands and maybe a touch more science?

EDIT: Lastly, “Food Babe” and “Science Babe” may very well represent The Towering Intellects of their particular fields, but maybe some new monikers are in order?