Pseudoscience / Science Education

Read: The Food Babe’s Friends… and Critics

If you listen to my podcast, Within Reason, you know my thoughts on Vani Hari’s crusade against ingredients whose  names she can’t pronounce. On her blog, FoodBabe.com, she regularly commits logical fallacies in her attempt to “educate” the public on what constitutes healthy food.

Kathleen Purvis of the Charlotte Observer recently wrote a fairly lengthy article addressing the Food Babe phenomenon. Its author gets quotes from people on both sides of the debate, which might strike one as a fallacious “equal balance” approach but which I found nonethless interesting. Our very own Dr. Joe Schwarcz is among the Food Babe critics who get to express their opinion:

“”Whatever the story is with azodicarbonamide has nothing to do with whether it’s a yoga mat chemical,’ Schwarcz says. ‘This is absurdity, to say if something is used in one context, it can’t be used in food.

‘We use water to wash our cars. Vinegar can be used to kill weeds. If she ever found out, she’d want salad dressing banned.'”

I would encourage you not only to read the full article but to send it to some of your more impressionable friends.
My favorite sentence from the article?
“Although appendicitis is not often linked to nutrition, she decided hers was caused by inflammation she blamed on her diet.”
And that is why claims made by Vani Hari are often spurious, ridiculous, and sometimes even dangerous: they come from wishful thinking, not rational investigations.
The full article can be accessed here.
If you want to hear Dr. Schwarcz speak at length on this issue and don’t mind apparent irreverence on the subject, check out episode 106 of Within Reason (also available on iTunes)!
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