Food Babe’s Hypocrisy Grows. Who Gives a Sh*t? Agave Sh*t!

With the 2015 triathlon season fast approaching here in North America, I’m working overtime on my training regimen.  This, of course, includes a healthy diet.

Because I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I thought I’d turn to nutrition expert Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) for advice on sweeteners.  A bit of chocolate or ice cream is a nice treat after a 50 mile bicycle training ride.  I burn thousands of calories with such workouts, but I don’t want to overdo the sugar reward.  Maybe I’ll do a little shopping on FoodBabe.com.  Hari claims to read the labels of–and personally use–every product she sells.  Surely I can’t go wrong on her own web site!

I wonder what the Babe says about agave nectar, a “natural” sweetener I’ve heard so much about?1  Made from a plant, agave seems like a good “organic” food source.  Take it away, Vani:

Food Babe agave warning

Food Babe warns about agave nectar in this August, 2013 post. (click/enlarge)

Oh dear.  I did not know that!  Fructose, a naturally-occurring sugar found in fruits and vegetables, should be avoided?  Sounds suspicious, but this woman claims to do her homework.  In fact, she elaborates on the theme in her latest book:

“Agave nectar is unnatural and highly refined.  It can make you gain weight, and it can affect your liver and your overall health.  Do not swallow the marketing hype; leave this sweetener on the shelf.”–Vani Hari, The Food Babe Way, page 163.

Sounds like a thoroughly researched scientific position, doesn’t it?  Well, let’s take Hari’s advice to heart and go shopping on FoodBabe.com.  Here’s our shopping list:

  • Chocolates
  • Ice cream
  • Avoid agave nectar

Away we go…

righteously raw goji food babe

Righteously Raw Goji Chocolate Bars sold on FoodBabe.Com. Vani Hari earns a sales commission when you purchase via her web site. (click/enlarge)

I must confess, those Righteously Raw Goji chocolate bars look scrumptious!2  And Vani Hari earns a commission from every purchase,3 which helps fund the crucial role this woman fills in keeping our food supply safe.  What’s not to love?  Let’s pull the trigger on this one…

CaptureWHOA! Not so fast on the purchase button there, cowboy!

I’m sure the rumors we’ve heard of Food Babe selling items she says are dangerous are untrue, but let’s check the ingredients of these chocolate bars.4  This is a skeptical science blog, after all:

Righteously Raw agave

Righteously Raw chocolate bars are made with agave nectar.  (click/enlarge)

 

Uh oh.  Agave nectar? 

But Food Babe told us that:

“Agave nectar is unnatural and highly refined.  It can make you gain weight, and it can affect your liver and your overall health.  Do not swallow the marketing hype; leave this sweetener on the shelf.”–Vani Hari, The Food Babe Way, page 163.

If it’s bad for you, why is she selling it?  She can’t claim she didn’t know it was there.  She wrote about it in another blog post:5

food babe agaveTo their credit, Righteously Raw provides a nice writeup on their web site as to why they believe their agave is better than other agave.  Sadly, they use Dr. Oz, Oprah, and Ellen Degeneres as references.4

Food Babe’s argument against agave is that it contains fructose (a naturally-occurring simple sugar found in all of the fruits she pushes in her recipes).  She tells us fructose “makes a beeline” for our livers, where it supposedly puts us at risk for disease.  So she doesn’t get a free pass on the agave issue, regardless of where it comes from.

Regardless, damn my eyes, agave isn’t just in the chocolate Food Babe pushes.  Let’s look at her online “pantry list”,6 taking particular note of the Coconut Bliss ice creams:

food babe coconut bliss

Food Babe pantry list includes agave-laden Coconut Bliss ice cream. (click/enlarge)

 

Every single item listed on the Coconut Bliss product ingredient page contains agave syrup.7  Every item.  Food Babe hates the syrup even worse than the nectar.  In The Food Babe Way, she has this to say:

“Most commercially available agave is converted into fructose-rich syrup, by using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process that may include activated charcoal, resins, sulfuric and/or hydrofluoric acid, dicalite, and clarimex.  Does this sound healthy to you?” –Vani Hari, The Food Babe Way, page 163.

Perhaps Food Babe will tell us her agave syrup is different from other agave syrups.  But, please keep in mind: her argument against agave is that it contains the simple sugar fructose.  Fructose is fructose.

This isn’t the first time Food Babe has been caught selling products with ingredients she says are dangerous.  It’s become rather obvious to me she doesn’t actually read the labels of the items she sells.  Her reaction to criticism has been, to say the least, suspect.  In the past, she’s either completely ignored reports and continued to sell, quietly pulled items from her store without comment, or tried to shift the blame for her hypocrisy onto her innocent partners.

Only time will tell how she handles the bad news about the agave.  In the interim, I hope that Righteously Raw and Coconut Bliss (Luna & Larry’s) won’t be punished because of Food Babe’s double standards and hypocrisy.  There’s nothing wrong with agave, fructose, and/or the products of these two companies.

I may just buy some Righteously Raw chocolate and Coconut Bliss ice cream as tiny rewards for some of the grueling distance training I’ll be doing this racing season.

I just won’t be buying via FoodBabe.com.

 

 

Image Credits
Food Babe, Amazon, Righteously Raw, and Luna & Larry Coconut Bliss screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Food Babe on Agave (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/thefoodbabe/posts/635528573148524

(2) Food Babe Shopping
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-belly/

(3) Righteously Raw/Food Babe Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/keywords=Righteously%20Raw%20Bars

(4) Righteously Raw–“Why We Use Agave”
http://righteouslyrawchocolate.com/natural-sweetener-debate/

(5) Food Babe Sugar Archives
http://foodbabe.com/tag/sugar/

(6) Food Babe Pantry List
http://foodbabe.com/pantry-list/

(7) Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss All Product Ingredients
http://coconutbliss.com/info/all-products-ingredients

Food Babe Sells Cellulose; Tells Followers To Avoid Cellulose. It’s Getting Deep In Here.

Author’s note (19 March 2015) Despite her promises of transparency in dealing with errors, Vani Hari quietly pulled all cellulose-containing products from her web site approximately two weeks after this article was written.  She offered no explanation for her actions.

Food Babe’s hypocrisy and double standards reached new heights (lows?) this week.  While Vani Hari is openly selling products that contain cellulose, she’s angry that companies such as Kraft, Taco Bell, and Jimmy Dean use the same additive (which she refers to as a “wood filler”) in their wares.  According to her, not only are they cheating customers by offering less of a real product, they’re also doing great harm to their digestive systems.1,2

The problem, as always, is that Food Babe is selling products with exactly the same ingredient.3,5  In the wake of the revelation that she’s doing the same with no less than three companies using dyes she dubiously links to a myriad of health problems,6 you’ve got to wonder how her “Food Babe Army” can continue to trust her.

Ultimate Flora, Food Babe’s Amazon.com affiliate, uses cellulose in their probiotics line.4  She proudly features Ultimate Flora products on the FoodBabe.com shopping page.3

Food Babe Ultimate Flora

Food Babe sells Ultimate Flora probiotics capsules, which contain cellulose. She warns cellulose causes digestive problems. Hypocritical?  Yes.

Here are the ingredients in Ultimate Flora.4  Keep in mind that Vani Hari claims to personally use each and every product sold on her web site, and that she claims to read the labels of these products:

ultima flora sold by food babe - cellulose

Ultima Flora probiotic capsules contain cellulose.  (click/enlarge)

In a February 27 Facebook post (an old article,  resurrected to boost sagging book sales?), Food Babe says she doesn’t know whether to be “scared to death for the millions still eating cellulose”, or grateful that she stopped buying it long ago.

Did she really stop buying it long ago?  If so, why does she say this on the web page where she’s selling the cellulose-ridden Ultimate Flora?:

dailybasis

This is what we call a “lie”. On the web page where Food Babe says she uses every product sold on a daily basis, we find products containing cellulose. Yet she says she stopped eating cellulose long ago.

Below is the Facebook post.  You pick the lie:  (1) Does she really use every item on her shopping page (such as the cellulose-ridden Ultimate Flora probiotics), or (2) Did she really stop ingesting cellulose long ago?

capture

If Food Babe is really “scared to death”, perhaps it should be because she’s been caught in yet another lie. She’s selling products containing cellulose in the “For Your Belly” section of her FoodBabe.com shopping site, all the while telling people that cellulose will harm their digestive systems. (click/enlarge)

 

It’s difficult to find a product sold by Vani Hari that does not contain an ingredient that she says is dangerous.  When will her adoring fans and the media wake up to this fact?  All you have to do is exactly what she encourages: read the labels of the products she’s selling.

 

Image Credits
Food Babe and Ultimate Flora screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Food Babe Cellulose Archives
http://foodbabe.com/tag/cellulose/

(2) Food Babe Facebook Rants
https://www.facebook.com/thefoodbabe?ref=br_tf

(3) Food Babe Shopping
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-belly/

(4) Ultima Flora Probiotics Ingredients
http://www.renewlife.com/ultimate-flora-probiotics/ultimate-flora-critical-care-50-billion.html

(5) Ultima Flora on Amazon.com (via Food Babe affiliate link)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007VGBSLG

(6) She Did It Again!  Food Babe Linked To Another Company…
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/she-did-it-again-food-babe-linked-to-another-company-using-same-dyes-she-forbids/