Dr. Mark Hyman Selling “Dangerous” Toothpaste

CaptureIt’s not uncommon to find quack doctors contradicting themselves on the internet these days, giving medical advice that directly contradicts facts about products that they’re selling for a profit.  Case in point: Dr. Mark Hyman and his guidance on toothpaste.

First, we get a Facebook post warning us that toothpaste can be toxic.  But never fear, the good doctor links us to an article written by a dentist friend, with instructions on making our own paste, and, significantly, warning us of ingredients to avoid:1

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Dr. Mark Hyman Facebook post on toothpaste

The Hyman Facebook post leads us to “The Complete Guide to DIY Toothpaste2 written by Dr. Mark Burhenne, DDS. I’ve linked the full article here so I won’t be accused of quote mining, but one of the ingredients Dr. Burhenne warns us we must avoid in a toothpaste is:

“Glycerin, which isn’t toxic, but has no place in the mouth as it’s a soap that strips your body’s natural oral mucosa and leaves a film. This film could coat the teeth, messing with the structure of the biofilm which could alter the microbiome in the mouth and impact the natural remineralization process — your body’s natural cavity-fighting mechanism.” 2

It just so happens that rather than make his own toothpaste as he’s just recommended, Dr. Mark Hyman sells a commercial brand in his online store.  It’s known as PerioBiotic, and he highly recommends it.  Let’s take a look at the ingredients in this toothpaste:3

dr hyman toothpaste

Dr. Hyman’s PerioBiotic toothpaste contains some interesting ingredients

Oh dear.  Is that glycerin I see listed there?  Didn’t Hyman just post an article by a dentist telling us that glycerin has no place in our mouth?1,2  Why yes, he did!  The toothpaste Hyman is hawking can, according to his own reference material, dangerously alter the microbiome of your mouth, strip its natural mucosa, and alter the body’s ability to naturally fight cavities.

Ouch!

If you get the impression that woomeisters such as Hyman take a shotgun approach to posting self-contradictory articles, ostensibly to cross promote others of their ilk, then you may be on to something.  Notice that I highlighted the (misspelled) ingredient carrageenan in Hyman’s toothpaste.  No, the dentist didn’t disparage carrageenan in his article, but Hyman and one of his compatriots certainly–famously–have.  Let’s look at a Hyman Twitter post:4

carrageenan mark hyman

Dr. Hyman congratulates Food Babe, celebrates removal of “controversial” ingredient carrageenan/Twitter. (click/enlarge)

Hyman is congratulating our old friend, the Food Babe (Vani Hari) on her purported part in the removal of the “controversial” (hint: it really isn’t) ingredient carrageenan from a certain company’s products.  Yet here we find it in the toothpaste being sold by Dr. Hyman, who wrote the foreword to Food Babe’s book, The Food Babe Way.  Hyman hails Hari as a hero,5 but doesn’t think twice about earning money from a product containing an ingredient she falsely links to cancer.6 He can’t feign ignorance–he tweeted her congratulations on its removal!

This “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” theme runs rampant among the woomeisters currently pushing their pseudoscience on the web these days.  Hyman helps Burhenne and Hari with links and referrals, and they do the same for him7,8–but none of them seem aware of the fact that they’re contradicting each other (and themselves).

Or, as long as the money rolls in, maybe they don’t care.

References
(1) Dr. Mark Hyman “Toxic Toothpaste” post
https://www.facebook.com/drmarkhyman/posts/1040445272652888

(2) The Complete Guide to DIY Toothpaste
http://askthedentist.com/homemade-toothpaste/

(3) Mark Hyman Healthy Living Store: PerioBiotic Toothpaste (Spearmint)
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/ListAlphabetically/827/PerioBiotic-Toothpaste-%28Spearmint%29

(4) Mark Hyman celebrates carrageenan removal (Twitter)
https://twitter.com/markhymanmd/status/502810272294109184

(5) Do You Know What’s Really In Your Food? (Hyman blog)
http://drhyman.com/blog/2015/02/05/know-whats-really-food/

(6) Watch Out For This Carcinogen In Your Organic Food (Hari blog)
http://foodbabe.com/2012/05/22/watch-out-for-this-carcinogen-in-your-organic-food/

(7) Burhenne Tweets Hyman
https://twitter.com/askthedentist

(8) Food Babe’s Special Mark Hyman Section
http://foodbabe.com/markhymanmd/

Image Credits
PerioBiotic, Facebook, Dr. Mark Hyman 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.

Food Babe Selling “Toxic” Product: Nutiva Chia Seeds

I haven’t been shopping at FoodBabe.com in a while, and I must admit I miss the experience.  It’s true that I’ve been surprised once or twice (or maybe three or four or five times), but who’s counting?  Vani Hari is a world class researcher who thoroughly investigates (and personally uses) each and every product she sells.  It’s exactly her kind of dedication we need to keep our food supply secure (and the world safe for democracy).  Why not show her some love via her affiliate shopping links?

As  I head over to Vani’s web site to go shopping, I’m reminded of a poignant warning The Babe once penned on  the subject of chewing gum:1

“And what’s up with the warning at the bottom of some of the ingredient lists for “Contains: Phenylalanine”? Does the average person even know what this means? Phenylalanine is added to the ingredient Aspartame and could seriously be dangerous if you have certain health conditions. Consuming this substance (if you have a condition that makes you sensitive to this additive) can cause mental retardation, brain seizures, sleep disorders and anxiety.”–Food Babe on Phenylalanine  (emphasis mine)

Yikes!  Brain seizures and mental retardation from phenylalanine, an essential amino acid?  Well, if you suffer from the rare disorder known as phenylketonuria (PKU), it could indeed be a problem.

To further compound the fear, Vani warns us that products containing phenylalanine could be genetically engineered:4

“If a non-organic packaged good has one of these ingredients listed below it could be GMO or genetically engineered.  Look for Non-GMO Project certified products and ingredients that are listed as 100% organic on labels to avoid all GMOs in your diet.

[…]

Phenylalanine

[…]”–Food Babe, GMO Ingredients A-Z

So let’s take Vani’s expert advice to heart and stay the hell away from any products containing phenylalanine.

Got it?  Good!  Let’s go shopping at FoodBabe.com, where Vani has personally checked the safety of every product for us.  I’m in the mood for some ancient superfoods today.  How about you?  Hey, these chia seeds look good:2

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Ooh!  Packed with fiber and revered by the Aztecs and Mayans!  Gotta have it!

Tut tut tut… before we bang away on that “Buy Now” button, we need to pull out our official Food Babe Investigator Magnifying GlassesTM and take a look at the nutritional content of these seeds.  Let’s head over to the USDA for a full breakdown.  Regular readers of this blog, and those of you who got the obvious foreshadowing, will have rightly guessed we’re headed straight for the section on amino acids:3

chia seeds amino acids phyenylalanine

USDA Report: Amino acids found in a 100 gram serving of chia seeds. (click/enlarge)

Holy biomolecular precursors, Batman!  Chia seeds contain phenylalanine!

But wait.  Vani specifically warned us about phenylalanine, and yet there’s 1016mg per 100g in the chia seeds she’s selling.  She makes it clear in her book, The Food Babe Way, that there’s just no safe level of chemical to ingest–ever.  What are we to make of this?

Given that Food Babe clearly didn’t understand that this amino acid isn’t “added” to aspartame as she claims, and given that most of the products she sells contain the same ingredients she says are dangerous, I’d say it’s safe to conclude she doesn’t know [expletive deleted] about nutrition.  That’s what I make of it all.

The good news is that unless you suffer from the rare disorder PKU, you aren’t going to be harmed by the phenylalanine, no matter if it comes from the products sold by Food Babe, or the ones she’s telling you to boycott.  So feel free to buy plenty of Nutiva Chia Seeds.

Just don’t buy from FoodBabe.com

 

[Edited 19 Aug 2015: Added Food Babe’s warning that products containing phenylalanine could be genetically modified]

References
(1) Why Chewing Gum Destroys Your Health
http://foodbabe.com/2011/12/09/wanna-a-piece-of-gum/

(2) Food Babe Shop: For Your Belly
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-belly/

(3) USDA Statistics Report: #12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3643?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&sort=&qlookup=&offset=&format=Stats&new=&measureby=

(4) GMO Ingredients A-Z
http://foodbabe.com/possible-gmo-ingredients-a-z/

Image Credits
Nutiva, USDA, and Food Babe 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.

Modern Alternative Mama: How Did This Get “Past Your Eyes”?

Regular readers of crunchy mommy blogger Modern Alternative Mama (Kate Tietje) know that she’s an ardent opponent of pasteurization.1,2,3,4  According to Kate’s twisted view of science, pasteurization kills all the “good” bacteria in food products (milk, honey, etc.), leaving room for the “bad” bacteria to grow. She also falsely believes pasteurization destroys all the beneficial enzymes in food, leaving what we eat devoid of nutrition.

For reasons I’m about to reveal, I was a little shocked then to find this fantabulous recipe idea–a “monkey smoothie”–on Tietje’s Facebook page:5

pasteurized milk


Modern Alternative Mama likes this milk. Only one problem…

“Monkey Smoothies” made from Silk brand cashew and almond milk are pushed as a healthy kids’ breakfast by Kate.  There’s only one problem here…

These products are pasteurized!  Here’s the quote from Silk’s product information page (click image to enlarge):6

silk milks pasteurized kate tietje

From the Silk FAQ.  Silk almond & cashew milks are pasteurized. MAM says this is dangerous. (click/enlarge)

Oops!

Now, to be sure, these products are safe, and pasteurization helps make them so.  Kate Tietje makes a plethora of scientifically ignorant statements on pasteurization in her blog posts (such as unpasteurized products having never killed anyone–they certainly have).

But I’m not here to argue the merits of pasteurization (I’ve done that already).  The purpose of today’s blog post is to point out Kate’s hypocrisy.  She says pasteurization makes food products more dangerous by killing off “good” bacteria, leaving room for dangerous pathogens and destroying essential nutrients–so why then is she feeding this “dangerous” brew to her children every morning?

Kate?

References
(1) Kate Tietje: Monday Health, Raw Milk
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2011/08/01/monday-health-raw-milk/

(2) Where Does Your Dairy Come From?
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/01/20/dairy-come/

(3) Raw Milk: Finding It, Using It, And More
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2011/02/25/raw-milk-finding-it-using-it-and-more/

(4) Ten Benefits And Uses For Raw Honey
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2012/07/03/10-benefits-uses-for-raw-honey/(1)

(5) Modern Alternative Mama Monkey Smoothie (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/ModernAlternativeMama/posts/10153103399762913

(6) Silk FAQs
https://silk.com/faqs

 

Image Credits
Facebook, Modern Alternative Mama, and Silk 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.