Food Babe Advisor Mark Hyman Selling Parabens He Links To Cancer

mark hyman parabens illustration

It’s been a while since we last visited the online store of Vani Hari’s (the “Food Babe’s”) trusted advisor, Dr. Mark Hyman.  I was poking around on his virtual shelves last night and noticed the inventory had grown substantially since discovering he was selling a self-described cancer-causing supplement a few months ago. Given the shady history of all of Food Babe’s advisors, five will get you ten that we’ll discover another skeleton in Hyman’s closet now that he’s marketing all these new wares.  So I thought that you, dear reader, might like to do some online shopping with me.  What say you?  Let’s pull out those credit cards and…

Oops!  I’m so embarrassed.  Safety first!  Before we shop here at Bad Science Debunked, we always review our Safety Rule O’The Day.  If you’re a regular here, you know that these rules always come from the people we’re actually buying from.

Today we’re going to pay close attention to parabens.  For critical advice on this class of chemicals, Dr. Hyman links us to the gold standard of medical web sites, The Huffington Post, which puts on its best white lab coat and tells us:  “Breast Cancer Study Finds Parabens in Virtually All Tumors.”1,2

mark hyman facebook post on parabens

Dr. Mark Hyman shares his wisdom on parabens (by linking to a Huffington Post article).  (click/enlarge)

 

The Huffington Post piece links parabens to cancer, and since Hyman is a golly-gee-whiz real live doctor who hardly ever sells us product he says are harmful, I suppose we’d better take his advice and avoid parabens.

Right, then!  We can finally go shopping!

Hey, how about this nice jar of supplements?  I have no idea what the hell it does, but it’s got a nice scientific-sounding name–OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 500 EC–and it’s sold by a doctor:3

omegagenics mark hyman parabens

This supplement sold by Dr. Mark Hyman contains methylparaben and propylparaben, which he links to breast cancer. (click/enlarge)

But you know, the one thing we should probably do before we type in our credit card number and click the “buy” button is peruse the list of ingredients.  You can never be too careful these days.  Why, just moments ago, Dr. Hyman was telling us how dangerous parabens were.  So what’s in this supplement he’s selling us?  Ahem:3

Marine lipid concentrate [fish (anchovy, sardine, and mackerel) oil], softgel shell (gelatin, glycerin, water), enteric coating [methacrylic acid copolymer, propylene glycol, triacetin, glyceryl monostearate, triethyl citrate, vanillin, polysorbate 80, methyl paraben (preservative), and propyl paraben (preservative)], natural lemon flavor, mixed tocopherols (antioxidant), rosemary extract, and ascorbyl palmitate (antioxidant)

Wait.  What?  Methylparaben and propylparaben?  But Hyman just posted a link to Facebook that warned us that parabens were linked to cancer!

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? 😉

This isn’t the first time Dr. Hyman has been caught with his pants down.  He has previously claimed that caramel level IV coloring causes cancer, but that’s exactly the additive you’ll find in the Neuromins supplements sold via his online store. He warned that the artificial sweetener xylitol would slow your metabolism and add belly fat, but sells the supplement Endefen, which contains xylitol.  Pure cane sugar is to be avoided, according to the good doctor, but you’ll find it in his $50 Pure Lean Chocolate Powder.

To quote the great Winnie the Pooh: “Oh, bother!”.

It’s not hard to see how poor Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) went astray in her own career, having been caught selling nearly three dozen products containing the same ingredients she says are toxic, when she’s getting her advice from doctors like Mark Hyman, who sets such a fine example.  What will we find next on the shelves of the stores of a Food Babe advisor?

Stay tuned and see.

 

References
(1) Mark Hyman Facebook Post on Parabens
https://www.facebook.com/drmarkhyman/posts/100469773412731

(2) Huffington Post: Breast Cancer Study Finds Parabens in Virtually All Tumors
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/organic-authoritycom/breast-cancer-parabens-_b_1209041.html

(3) Omega Genenics EPA-DHC 500 Enteric Coated 120 Count
http://store.drhyman.com/omegagenics-epa-dha-500-enteric-coated-120-ct.html

Image Credits
Mark Hyman Facebook and product screen snapshots are used in strict 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.

Mark Hyman “rear view mirror” illustration by Mark Alsip/Bad Science Debunked.  Used under parody/education provisions of 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.

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The Quack Doctor/Blogger Quiz

Bad Science Debunked Quiz

So you think you know your con artists?

Which major organization did “holistic psychiatrist” Kelly Brogan falsely accuse of supporting birth control in Africa via vaccinations?

What inanimate substance did woo peddler David Wolfe hilariously claim is alive?

Which doctor sells the most “toxic”, heavy-metal containing products branded in his own name: Mercola, Hyman, or Oz?

If you think you know the answers, try my thirty-question Playbuzz quiz.  (I got really bored last night, and we were out of blackberry wine and red velvet cupcakes, so I put this quiz together). Click the image below to launch:

Bad Science Debunked Quack Doctor Quiz

Try the quiz! (Click to launch)

Hyman’s Sugary Hypocrisy

Mark Hyman’s “Ten Rules To Eat Safely For Life And What To Remove From Your Kitchen”1 has been an absolute gold mine of debunking material.  Never have I found so much hypocrisy in one article.  Nearly every paragraph Hyman writes demonizes an ingredient that he then pushes in his online store.

We’ve already looked at Hyman simultaneously vilifying and selling xylitol and miracle-cure foods in his “ten rules” article.  But he’s not done yet.  Not by a long shot.  Tell us how you feel about sugar derived from cane, Dr. Hyman:

“If sugar (by any name, including organic cane juice, honey, agave, maple syrup, cane syrup, or molasses) is on the label, throw it out.” 1  (emphasis mine)

(Sigh).  Off we go to Mark Hyman’s online store.  How about a tasty nutritional shake?2

pure lean powder with hyman cane sugarI can hear the skeptics in the crowd shouting, “show me the ingredients!”  I’d be happy to:2

mark hyman cane sugarOrganic cane sugar.

Organic. Cane. Sugar.

But… but… Hyman wrote:

“If sugar (by any name, including organic cane juice, honey, agave, maple syrup, cane syrup, or molasses) is on the label, throw it out.” 1

 

[Drops microphone.  Leaves stage.]

800px-Microphone

Image Credits
Mark Hyman and Pure Lean Powder product snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (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.

Microphone by Chris Engelsma, from Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Artist does not necessarily endorse or agree with the viewpoints expressed in this article.

References
(1) Ten Rules To Eat Safely For Life And What To Remove From Your Kitchen
http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/02/02/10-rules-to-eat-safely-for-life-and-what-to-remove-from-your-kitchen/

(2) Dr. Mark Hyman’s Pure Lean Powder: Chocolate
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/Nutritional-Shakes/739/Pure-Lean-Powder%2c-chocolate

Xylitol, Warrior Princess: Mark Hyman Debunked

XENA

I’ve always wanted to include Lucy Lawless in one of my articles. “Xenatol” sounded like “Xylitol”. Yeah. It’s pretty bad word play. Sorry. Hey, how much did you have to pay to read this stuff? 😉

I thought my debunking of Dr. Mark Hyman’s “10 Rules to Eat Safely for Life)would be a one off job, but the deeper I read, the more nonsense I found.  There’s enough material there for a half dozen articles, and Hyman commits some real howlers.  If there was ever evidence that these snake oil salesmen don’t actually read the labels of the overpriced products they’re selling, Hyman’s “Endefen” supplements is it.

I’d like to start with this pearl of wisdom from Dr. Hyman:

“Throw out food with artificial sweeteners of all kinds  (aspartame, Splenda, sucralose, and sugar alcohols—any word that ends with “ol” like xylitol, sorbitol). They make you hungrier, slow your metabolism, give you bad gas, and make you store belly fat.”–Mark Hyman on artificial sweeteners 1  (emphasis mine)

So Dr. Hyman claims that the sweetener xylitol will make us hungrier, slow our metabolisms, cause us to “tootle melodiously through our sphincters” (I’m embarrassed by the word “fart”), and store belly fat?

My grandfather had an old saying from which Hyman would benefit: “a closed mouth gathers no feet.”

Here’s an interesting product sold in the Hyman store: “Endefen”: 2

Mark Hyman Endefen

Mark Hyman’s Endefen product. Wonder what’s inside?  (click/enlarge)

 

The full ingredients list is available at this link,2 but let’s zoom in on that suspicious-looking additive trying to hide behind sunglasses and false wig.  You!  I say!  You there sir!  You with the red circle around you!  Can you stand up and identify yourself please?

hyman is selling xylitol

Bless his heart! Dr. Hyman is selling xylitol, the very additive he says to avoid!

Why it’s Xylitol!  Hyman is selling the very sweetener he says to avoid!1,2  To add the icing on the cake (no sugar pun intended), once you’ve finished all twenty-eight servings of Endefen, you will have consumed 26.6 grams of xylitol. Just under seven percent of the entire 420 gram bottle is xylitol by weight.

And oh, dear friends… I wish we could drop this and move on.  But did you notice the “Mannose” above the “Xylitol” in the Hyman’s Endefen?  Shouldn’t someone with a medical degree know that mannose a sugar monomer, especially if he’s going to preach about sweeteners as if they’re bringing on Armageddon?

“If sugar (by any name, including organic cane juice, honey, agave, maple syrup, cane syrup, or molasses) is on the label, throw it out.”–Mark Mark Hyman

Add in the mannose and Dr. Hyman’s product is now 8% sugar by weight.

Golly Gee.  Should we tell somebody about this?  Dr. Hyman?  Are you there sir?  Hello?

Nobody seems to be picking up…  hello?  Dr. Mark Hyman!  Paging Dr. Hyman…

 

d-xylito

I *love* PubChem. The naming section for compounds is particularly helpful in trying to determine if Hyman’s “D-Xylitol” is xylitol.  Chemists say it is.

 

Image Credits
Mark Hyman, Endefen, and PubChem snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (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.

Xena Warrior Princess meme by the author, used under parody provisions of Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (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) 10 Rules to Eat Safely for Life (and What to Remove from Your Kitchen)
http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/02/02/10-rules-to-eat-safely-for-life-and-what-to-remove-from-your-kitchen/

(2) Endefen Supplement on Dr. Mark Hyman’s Online Store
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/Healthy-Fiber/449/Endefen

(3) PubChem Compound Summary for CID 6912: Xylitol
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/xylitol#section=Top

Dr. Mark Hyman Wants You To Throw Out His Own Food Products

Dr. Mark Hyman’s literary masterpiece “10 Rules to Eat Safely for Life (and What to Remove From Your Kitchen)”1 contains this bit of sage advice:

“If a food has a label it should have fewer than five ingredients. If it has more than five ingredients, throw it out.”1

Really? More than five ingredients qualifies the product for a trip to the waste basket?  Obviously when the good doctor wrote these lines, he wasn’t paying attention to what was on the shelves of his own online store–or hoping his followers would be too blind to notice.  Dr. Hyman, have you ever heard of “GlycemX360 Chocolate Shake Mix”?  I hope so, because you sell it:

dr mark hyman nutritional shake(drum roll please…) Let’s bring up the ingredient list.2

Ingrediens in GlycemX360-Chocolate

Dr. Hyman’s chocolate shake contains over 45 ingredients. (click/enlarge)

 

Over 45 ingredients!  So by Hyman’s own \logic, you should thrown this product out (assuming you wasted money on it in the first place).  But wait!  There’s more!  Again from the doctor:

“Also beware of food with health claims on the label” 1

Well doctor, let’s look at your labeling:

GlycemX360 labeling

“Also beware of food with health claims on the label” says Hyman. Pot. Kettle. Black.

An “advanced medical food” with more (unsubstantiated) health claims than I can shake a stick at.

The cynical side of me feels that if people are so easily deceived by snake oil salesmen like Mark Hyman, they deserve what’s coming to them.  The compassionate side overcomes that, however.  I truly feel sorry for those wasting hard-earned cash on this nonsense.  The fact that a man with the letters “M.D.” after his name is pushing the pseudoscience makes it all the more offensive.

End rant.

Image Credits
Mark Hyman product 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) 10 Rules to Eat Safely for Life (and What to Remove From Your Kitchen)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/healthy-eating_b_1250939.html

(2) GlycemX360 Chocolate Shake on Dr. Hyman’s Online Store
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/Nutritional-Shakes/774/GlycemX360-Chocolate

Dr. Mark Hyman’s Cellulose Hypocrisy

Catching pseudoscientific doctors in the act of demonizing ingredients while simultaneously selling the same to their blissfully unaware followers is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

This week we’re back with Dr. Mark Hyman, MD., and another offering from his world class online “Wellness Shop”.  First, of course, we must have the setup: here’s Dr. Hyman weighing in on the common food/supplement additive cellulose:1

Mark Hyman doesn't like cellulose

Mark Hyman doesn’t like cellulose. He doesn’t even understand what it is. (click/enlarge)

Calling cellulose “sawdust” is a scare tactic (and one that’s going to really bite the doctor hard a few paragraphs from now).  Cellulose is simply an organic compound that makes up most of the cell walls of plants (including trees).

Hyman isn’t a big fan of cellulose, listing it as one of the additives to avoid in his article “Health Foods That are Dangerous For Your Health.” 2  (It probably isn’t coincidental that he’s closely affiliated with Vani Hari, who also claims cellulose is dangerous, but let’s stick to Hyman for now.)

As you’ve probably guessed, it’s time to point our browser outward and experience the Mark Hyman Shopping Experience.(Patent Pending)  Let’s have a look at the Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra product being sold on his web site:3

Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra

Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra as seen in the Mark Hyman Wellness Shop.

The list of ingredients on Hyman’s shopping page ends with something that might seem a bit cryptic if you haven’t studied biology:

plant fiber = cellulose

“Hypoallergenic plant fiber”?  Why would Hyman’s web site list the additive this way.  Why, that’s another name for cellulose!

Hypoallergenic plant fiber?”  Excuse me, but that sounds like cellulose!

Not wanting to falsely accuse Hyman, I contacted the manufacturer (Pure Encapsulations) and received this reply:

“Dear Mr. Alsip,

Yes, the hypo-allergenic plant fiber is cellulose derived from pine.  I have attached an information sheet here with this spelled out (also available on our website).”–email from Pure Encapsulations Product Support, 21 Aug 2015 (emphasis mine)

The email went on to explain that the company wasn’t trying to hide anything.  And they certainly weren’t.  Their own web site clearly explains that the “plant fiber” is indeed cellulose.5  The detailed PDF they were kind enough to send explicitly states this.  Hyman clearly edited the word out for his shopping page.  Why?  I can only guess it’s because he has demonized cellulose in his Facebook and blog posts.  If you’re making money from a product, you don’t want people to to think it’s dangerous, right?

pure encapsulations cellulose hyman

Unedited (original) product data from Pure Encapsulations web site (click/enlarge)

I need to stop here and point out how helpful the folks at Pure Encapsulations have been in answering my questions about their products.  They seem as perplexed as I am as to why anyone would have a problem with cellulose.  I hope that Mark Hyman’s hypocrisy and creative editing of ingredients won’t reflect negatively on this company which, to the best of my knowledge, has a sterling safety record and is well regarded by its many clients.

The claimed health benefits of this product have not been evaluated by the FDA, but there’s certainly nothing dangerous about it.  If you want to buy supplements such as this, have at it… just don’t buy from DrHyman.com.

 

References
(1) Hyman demonizes cellulose on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/drmarkhyman/posts/645782292119190

(2) Health Foods That Are Dangerous For Your Health (Hyman)
http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/07/04/health-foods-that-are-dangerous-for-your-health/

(3) Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra on Mark Hyman’s Online Store
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/Enzymes/861/Digestive-Enzymes-Ultra-180-ct

(4) Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra Ingredients List
http://www.pureencapsulations.com/products/digestive-enzymes-ultra.html

Image Credits
Mark Hyman, Facebook, and Pure Encapsulations 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.

Trick or Tweet: Dr. Mark Hyman Exposed

Social media has long been a bastion of modern-day snake oil salesmen. Twitter, in particular, is a great marketing tool. When it comes to food and product safety, the app’s 140 character message limit provides more than enough room to scare the bejesus out of the public. From there, it’s just a short hop, skip, and jump to the online store of the person making the frightening tweets. The sad fact is that all too often, the products being sold by the so-called expert contain exactly the same ingredients he/she claims to be dangerous.

Eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman has mastered this “trick or tweet” technique. Here’s a recent tweet hinting at horrifying side effects from a safe food coloring:1

hyman tweet on caramel color

Dr. Mark Hyman’s tweet on the dangers of caramel color. (click/enlarge)

Caramel coloring has never actually been shown to be dangerous to humans.  But let’s debunk Hyman on a different level.  The doctor apparently makes a comfortable living selling expensive dietary supplements via his web site, drhyman.com.  If you’ve read any of his books or blog posts, you know he’s not shy about pushing these supplements as part of his diet plans.

Let’s drop by the Dr. Hyman online store and do some shopping, keeping in mind his claim that caramel coloring “poses a cancer risk to consumers”:

hyman's caramel color neuromins

Pure Encapsulations “Neuromins” via Dr. Hyman’s store. (click/enlarge)

For only $114 (!) we can pick up a 120 count bottle of “Neuromins”,2 a supplement designed (according to Hyman) to assist in the development of mental and visual functions.  I’m all excited!

But wait…  what’s that I see in the Neuromins ingredient list?3

neuromins ingredients

This supplement, sold by Dr. Hyman, contains the very caramel coloring he tagged “carcinogenic”. (click/enlarge)

Yes, that’s right: caramel coloring.  Didn’t Hyman just claim that caramel coloring was carcinogenic?

Is the caramel coloring in Hyman’s supplements the same coloring found in the soft drinks he falsely and irresponsibly links to cancer?  Why yes.. yes it is!

Caramel coloring levels III and IV are most often featured in carcinogen propaganda campaigns run by pseudoscientists because they’re the ones used in the soft drinks, beer, and pumpkin spice lattes being slandered.  I checked with the manufacturer of Hyman’s supplements, Pure Encapsulations, and they confirmed that the coloring they use is indeed level IV.

Dr. Hyman, if you believe it causes cancer, why are you selling it?

We must pause here and point out that while the health benefits of the product being discussed may be debatable (the claims haven’t been evaluated by the FDA), the safety of the product itself is not being called into question.  As the manufacturer of the coloring points out, the coloring itself does have FDA approval (GRAS–“Generally Recognized As Safe”, CFR Title 21, Section 182.1235).

I sincerely hope no one will punish Pure Encapsulations because of Dr. Hyman’s hypocritical stance on a safe food coloring.  This company was most transparent in answering questions about their product.  No guilt by association, please.

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed I highlighted two ingredients on the Neuromins label earlier.  Caramel coloring shared center stage with “carrageenan”.  Why is this significant?

Because of another Mark Hyman tweet:4

carrageenan mark hyman

Dr. Hyman celebrates removal of “controversial” ingredient carrageenan. (click/enlarge)

Not content with putting just one foot in his mouth, the doctor effortlessly inserts the other with this tweet.  Here, Hyman congratulates his partner in nonsense, the “Food Babe”, in her claimed role in the removal of the benign thickening agent carrageenan from a company’s product line. (Hyman wrote the foreword to Food Babe’s ill informed book “The Food Babe Way”, championing her work in removing “toxins” such as this from our lives.)

If you haven’t followed the controversy, carrageenan is a safe, commonly used additive that’s gotten a bad rap because of pseudoscience.  Woomeisters confuse carrageenan with degraded carrageenan.  The latter appears on an IARC list of “carcinogenic” items such as pickled vegetables, coffee, talc body powder, a compound found in dandelion tea, and the profession of carpentry.5 (Read: the demonstrated cancer risk to humans is nil.)

Are you scared yet?  Me neither.

But, to summarize, let’s put the question to Dr. Mark Hyman:  if caramel coloring and carrageenan are “carcinogenic” and “controversial”, why the hell are you selling them?  As I pointed out in the first article in this series, this type of hypocrisy is (sadly) all too common with the snake oil aficionados.  The fact that the seller in this case carries the initials “M.D.” by his name makes the offense all the more egregious.

 

References
(1) Mark Hyman Tweet on Caramel Coloring
https://twitter.com/markhymanmd/status/568754599953244160

(2) “Neuromins” on DrHyman.com
http://store.drhyman.com/Store/Show/SearchResults/533/Neuromins-

(3) Pure Encapsulations Neuromins Product Fact Sheet
http://www.pureencapsulations.com/neurominstm.html

(4) Mark Hyman Tweet on Carrageenan
https://twitter.com/markhymanmd/status/502810272294109184

(5) Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–112
http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/ClassificationsGroupOrder.pdf

Image Credits
Dr. Mark Hyman material, Twitter, and Pure Encapsulations 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.