Food Babe Selling “Toxic” Product: Nutiva Chia Seeds

I haven’t been shopping at 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.



[…]”–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, 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



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


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

(1) Why Chewing Gum Destroys Your Health

(2) Food Babe Shop: For Your Belly

(3) USDA Statistics Report: #12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried

(4) 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)


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?


(1) Kate Tietje: Monday Health, Raw Milk

(2) Where Does Your Dairy Come From?

(3) Raw Milk: Finding It, Using It, And More

(4) Ten Benefits And Uses For Raw Honey

(5) Modern Alternative Mama Monkey Smoothie (Facebook)

(6) Silk 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.

Modern Alternative Mama’s Skin Cancer Extravaganza

Kate Tietje (“Modern Alternative Mama”) is a scientifically illiterate mommy blogger who routinely hands out some of the most dangerous advice on the internet. I’ve previously covered her shameful “vaccine injury awareness month” (meant to counter Breast Cancer Awareness Month–yeah, figure that one out) and the endangerment of her children through neglect. Today I’d like to go back to basics and concentrate on points that even her 57,000+ pseudoscience-loving followers will be able to grasp: hypocrisy and lies.

There will be no squirming out of this one, Kate.

In a recent article, “Have You Gotten Your Sunscreen Yet This Summer?”,1,2 Tietje has this to say about sunscreen ingredients:

“I’m not really comfortable with the physical blockers, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know they are common in “natural” sunscreens and probably fine, but I just do not want to rub that on my children’s skin. I don’t know, I worry. Maybe that’s crazy.” (emphasis mine)

Whoa! Crazy, indeed! Sherman, set the wayback machine7 to a month earlier and let’s peek at another Modern Alternative Mama (MAM) post:3

“It’s been awhile since I’ve done a giveaway here. But, I know that you will truly love this company [BanjOrganics] and I wanted to share it with you.”

Yes, it’s MAMs huge “BanjOrganics Giveaway” contest! The lucky winner takes home a gift basket chock full of natural products, including a jar of sunscreen. Let’s have a look at the ingredients in that sunscreen, shall we?4

banjorganics modern alternative mama sunscreen

BanjOrganics sunscreen ingredients. Note the zinc oxide

Oh dear.  See the highlighted ingredient?  Zinc oxide? What was it that Kate said about zinc oxide? Oh yes… she’s not comfortable with it and just doesn’t want to rub it on her children’s skin.

I suppose one way to avoid exposing your children to “toxic” ingredients is to pawn them off on unsuspecting readers.

So, what does Tietje use on her children? Well, sadly, she freely confesses she’d rather let them run around in the sun unprotected and burn. But when she does apply a sunscreen to her endangered kiddos, she makes her own.

Unfortunately, by her own admission (she doesn’t know it yet–hint hint), she’s using an ingredient that she claims will give the kids skin cancer.

Let’s walk through this. First, here’s her homemade sunscreen recipe.  Take note of the highlighted ingredient.  It will be important later.

Mama's sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.

Mama’s sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.


Next, we have to remind ourselves of a sunscreen additive that Modern Alternative Mama told us that we must avoid.  She lays this out clearly in her article “What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen”:5


Hmmm… avoid vitamin A in sunscreens because, according to intrepid scientist Kate Tietje, it can speed development of tumors when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight.  Really?

I think you can see where this is heading.  Remember those raspberries in Mama’s homemade sunscreen?

According to the USDA, raspberries are a rich source of vitamin A:6

usda raspberry

USDA raspberry nutritional information. (click/enlarge)


So… vitamin A in sunscreen leads to the possibility of tumors, and Modern Alternative Mama is pushing a sunscreen recipe rich in vitamin A.  Or were we supposed to go back to the zinc oxide solution she’s giving away to readers, but is afraid to use on her own children?

Needless to say, none of the products or ingredients mentioned in this article are actually dangerous.  I’d be happy to debate the issues with Tietje, but like everyone else who questioned her bad science, I was banned from her Facebook page.


Image Credits
Modern Alternative Mama, Facebook, and BanjOrganics 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.

(1) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook Intro)

(2) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook-Linked Blog Post)

(3) Modern Alternative Mama BanjOrganics Giveaway

(4) BanjOrganics Sunscreen Ingredients!product/prd1/1903932945/sunscreen

(5) What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen

(6) USDA Raspberry Nutrient Profile

(7) The WayBack Machine

Food Babe: Tell Us When You’re Going To Drop The BHT

Vani Hari, the world’s greatest hypocrite, made an ironic post to Facebook today,1 reminding Kellogg’s and General Mills that it’s been four months since she petitioned them to remove the preservative BHT from their products:

” It’s now been 4 MONTHS since we launched this petition, and we still have no timeline from either of these companies.”–Food Babe Facebook post

The irony stems from the fact that it’s been four months since I caught Food Babe selling a BHT-laden product2–a body scrub she claimed to use daily.  And, despite a poorly constructed excuse3 and a promise to remove the item from her web site, she’s still pushing it via Pinterest4… four months later.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”–Hamlet, Act III, Scene II

Food Babe sold the product in question for nearly three years and says she personally uses every item she sells.  How did she miss the BHT on the label?  Inquiring minds want to know.  We’d also like to know why most of the products sold by Vani Hari contain the same ingredients she says are dangerous.  Of course, we can’t ask her, because commentary on her Facebook page and web site is heavily censored.  Anyone pointing out her double standards is immediately banned.

But, anyway… tell us, Food Babe: when are you going to drop the BHT?  It has, as you say, been four months.


food babe facebook

Food Babe’s rather hypocritical Facebook post. (click/enlarge)


food babe pinterest bht

Screen capture of Food Babe’s Pinterest page on June 5, 2015.  Note the BHT-laden Fresh Brown Body Polish.  (click/enlarge)



Purchased from in February, 2015, Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish clearly contains BHT. (click/enlarge)


(1) Food Babe Facebook Post (June 6, 2015)
Food Babe Facebook Post (June 6, 2015)

(2) Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from
Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from

(3) Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water
Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water

(4) Food Babe Pinterest Beauty Page
Food Babe Pinterest Beauty Page

Image Credits
Fresh 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.

Food Babe Links Her Own Product To Leukemia, Other Cancers

food babe meme

Abstract: Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) does little to differentiate between “toxins” in the belly or applied to the skin.  According to Hari, toxins applied to the hair and skin are dangerous because they’re absorbed by the body.  The Babe is guilty of selling food and beauty products that contain the very same ingredients she falsely claims will harm her readers.  We’ll illustrate this fact here in a “Food Babe-style” investigation.


It’s payday.  My pockets are flush with cash and my cheeks are flushed with excitement–I’ve got some extra money to blow over on the shopping page!  My wife and I are still thrilled with the BHT-laden brown sugar body polish we recently purchased from Food Babe, and we thought we’d pick up a bottle of shampoo to go along with it.

Now, those of you who have previously gone on these shopping excursions with me know we adhere to a strict set of rules, taken from the Vani Hari playbook itself:

  1. Always read the product labels
  2. Consult and Vani Hari’s The Food Babe Way for advice
  3. Scream bloody murder if we find any “dangerous” ingredients

Wanna go shopping with me?  It’ll be an eye opening experience, I promise.  Let’s go!

As I mentioned, we’re looking for shampoo.  This offering from the Food Babe beauty shop looks good: John Masters Organics Evening Primrose:1

john masters organics food babe

John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo on

I sleep better at night knowing Food Babe isn’t just about food–she’s out there on the front lines fighting for safer beauty products as well:

“Being a Food Babe doesn’t stop at food. Once you’ve understood what chemicals can do in your diet – The next logical step is to understand what other chemicals in your surroundings can effect your health. Ever thought about what toxins are lurking in the cosmetic industry? Why there are so many chemicals in your shampoo or toothpaste?”–Vani Hari2

Vani goes on to explain to me exactly why I should worry about chemicals in my shampoo:

Your skin is your largest organ!  What you put on your hair, is absorbed into your blood through your scalp and face.”–Vani Hari3

Food Babe says unequivocally that what I put on my hair is absorbed into my blood.  I’ll try to keep this in mind as we shop, but I hope you’ll remind me.  You’ll do that, won’t you?  Great!

So about this shampoo Ms. Hari is selling: as Shakespeare might have said: “Soft!  What ingredient through yonder product breaks?” (click image to enlarge)

food babe sodium benzoate

This shampoo sold by Food Babe contains sodium benzoate, which she says is dangerous. (click/enlarge)

Why, it’s sodium benzoate, and the Food Babe Army is the pawn.

Vani Hari says this about sodium benzoate:

“one of the absolute worst preservatives out there.”–Vani Hari4

… because:

“when combined with Vitamin C this [sodium benzoate] can produce benzene that has been known to cause Leukemia and other cancers.”–Vani Hari7

All of a sudden, I’m all torn up inside.  I know Vani was writing about food when blasted sodium benzoate, and we’re only shopping for shampoo on her web site, but I’m haunted by something she said earlier.  You were going to help me remember, weren’t you, dear reader?  What was it Food Babe said?

“Your skin is your largest organ!  What you put on your hair, is absorbed into your blood through your scalp and face.” (emphasis mine)– Vani Hari 3

Yes, that’s it!

Now I’m a little worried.

But let’s not overreact.  Food Babe says we need the combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C to produce her “leukemia-causing benzene”, and we’ve only spotted the sodium benzoate on the label.  There’s no vitamin C listed there.

Or is there?

To be safe, let’s put on our Food Babe Investigator Hatspatent pending and scan that ingredient list for a source of vitamin C:

food babe sodium benzoate vitamin C

According to multiple research papers, aloe vera is a source of vitamin C. (click/enlarge)

Oh dear.  We didn’t have to go far.  I’m not a biologist, but, according to multiple research papers written by experts, aloe vera is a reliable source of vitamin C.8,9,10

So Food Babe’s shampoo does contain sodium benzoate and vitamin C.

And she says this combination is toxic.

And she expressly forbids you from putting it on your hair, because she believes “toxins” will be absorbed into the body.

But she sells it on her web site.

the screamLook, the sodium benzoate/vitamin C scare is an old one, and I’m not going to give it credence by debunking it–not until Vani Hari explains why she’s selling multiple products with this combination while simultaneously claiming it’s dangerous.  Did I say “multiple products”?  Yes, I did–#FoodBabeArmy, I’ll leave it to you to do some label reading of your own.

The upshot of all of this is that John Masters is a fine company with a solid safety record.  They use products made of ingredients reviewed and approved by those far more qualified than Vani Hari (or myself), and it’s those experts I’ll be going to when making purchasing decisions.  In honor of John Masters’ solid track record, and based on the favorable reviews left by customers on Amazon, I’m going to be buying a bottle of this shampoo.

I just won’t be buying it via

I’ll leave you with a quote:

“Your skin is your largest organ.  It covers and protects everything on your body. How you treat it is incredibly important to your health. However, the skin is one of the most unappreciated organs, and one that I used to totally take for granted, slathering products full of toxic chemicals on it day after day. When I look back at all the different potions I’ve tried, I shake my head in disbelief and wish I would have known better.”–Vani Hari5

Practice what you preach, Vani.

Image Credits, John Masters, 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.

Dr. Evil meme courtesy Also 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.

“The Scream” from WikiCommons, image is in the public domain because copyright has expired.

(1) Food Babe Shopping: For Your Beauty

(2) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout

(3) Holistic Health Care

(4) Food Babe–Jason’s Deli

(5) The Ingredients in Sunscreen Destroying Your Health

(6) John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo Ingredients

(7) Why Aren’t You Making Your Own Hummus?

Amar Surjushe, Resham Vasani, and D G Saple
Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
doi:  10.4103/0019-5154.44785
PMCID: PMC2763764

(9) Biologic Effects Of Aloe Vera Gel
N Kathuria, N Gupta, Manisha, R Prasad, Nikita
(Internet Scientific publications)

(10) Effects of Drugs Effect of an extract of Aloe vera on the biodistribution of sodium pertechnetate in rats
Holanda, Costa, Silva, et al
Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira – Vol. 24 (5) 2009


John Hagee Repeats His “Blood Moon” Errors–On Film

blood moon

Total lunar eclipse. October 17, 2014.  (Photo by the author.)

With a beautiful total lunar eclipse on slate for Saturday, April 4, old earth creationist John Hagee has resurfaced with revived claims of prophecies in the skies.  I wrote about Hagee earlier this year, debunking his claim that a tetrad (series of 4) “blood moons” was a sign from the heavens that something significant was about to happen in Israel.

This time, Hagee is back with a movie.  “Four Blood Moons”1 rehashes the false claims the pastor made in his book by the same name.  The film opened with a special one-day release on March 23 and returns for an encore on April 9.  Based on the movie’s trailer and interviews with Hagee, it doesn’t look like the creationist has added anything new to the claims I’ve already debunked.  So I’d like to just hit the highlights here.  For a thorough point-by-point refutation of Hagee’s claims, complete with references (NASA tables of solar eclipses, information on the Hebrew calendar, the pastor’s historical mistakes, etc.), please see my article “Oh Bloody…“.2

To review: the pastor claims that major events in the history of Israel are linked to total lunar eclipses occurring on the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot.  The pattern that he sees goes something like this:

  1. Tragedy knocks on the door of Israel and/or the Jewish people.
  2. Miraculous victory is somehow snatched from the jaws of defeat.
  3. (1) and (2) are announced in the heavens by a tetrad of “blood moons” (total lunar eclipses) that magically occur during one of two Jewish holy weeks.

Hagee’s conclusion: divine intervention in Israel, proven by an invisible hand controlling the positions of the sun, earth, and moon.


As I explained in (excruciating?) detail in my earlier piece on this subject,2 Hagee is wrong in nearly every way imaginable:

1. Holidays on the Hebrew calendar are tied to lunar phases because humans designed the calendar that way.  Periodic adjustments are made to the calendar–by humans–to keep seasons (and, as a result, religious holidays) “aligned”.  It’s no accident that the sun, moon, and earth are lined up in a certain way on a given Jewish holiday.  People constructed the calendar in that manner–and they go to a lot of trouble to keep it from changing, even periodically adding a temporary month to keep the holidays from drifting out of alignment.

2. Major events cited as miraculous by Hagee do not actually coincide with “blood moons”.  He apparently never bothered to check an almanac of eclipses.  His 1967 “Six Day War” example is a great illustration.  Yes, it was triumph from tragedy for Israel.  Unfortunately for the good pastor, there was no lunar eclipse on Passover or Sukkot in ’67.  Oops.

3. In fact, most major events in Israel’s history don’t occur anywhere near an eclipse.  If the heavens are being used as a signalling device, it’s broken most of the time.  I offer as evidence the Yom Kippur War of 1973.  If ever Israel turned tragedy into triumph, wouldn’t beating off the overwhelming surprise attack in 1973 be a prime example?  Where were the holiday eclipses?  Answer: there weren’t any.

4. Hagee’s command of history is shaky at best.  For example, America wasn’t “discovered” by Columbus as Hagee claims–there were already people living there when the explorer arrived.  In any event, he wasn’t the first outsider to arrive in North America.  And, while credence could be given to the minister’s claim that the United States became an eventual safe haven for the Jewish people, it certainly didn’t remain that way for the millions of Native Americans who died at the hands of European settlers.

And, dare I mention… there was no Passover/Sukkot eclipse in 1492?

John Hagee

John Hagee gets it wrong again.

Other than the simple truth that eclipses actually happen, John Hagee doesn’t even try to get his story straight.  And, for some reason, his followers eat his nonsense up.  It’s a shame that an event that’s beautiful and wondrous in its own right has to be linked to superstition and fear, and that those who follow Hagee won’t take the time to fact check him.

While not as awe-inspiring as total eclipses of the sun, lunar eclipses are still a treat–and visible from a larger portion of the earth’s surface than their solar counterparts.  To check visibility of the April 4 eclipse from your area of the world, NASA provides a nice map.3 Sky & Telescope magazine offers up a brief article on the eclipse along with timetables.4

Image Credits
Lunar eclipse photography by the author.  Copyright (c) 2015 Mark Aaron Alsip.  All rights reserved.

“John Hagee at Podium” from Wiki Commons, by owner Christians United for Israel.  Released into public domain by owner.  Image owner does not necessarily agree with or endorse the views expressed by the author.

Note: to avoid increasing search engine exposure for quack web sites, I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate URLs.   You have my promise you’re being redirected to the web site indicated in the title 🙂

(1) Four Blood Moons (Movie Official Page–Facebook)

(2) Oh Bloody…

(3) Total Lunar Eclipse of 2015 Apr 04 (NASA)

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  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  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



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.

(1) Food Babe on Agave (Facebook)

(2) Food Babe Shopping

(3) Righteously Raw/Food Babe Amazon

(4) Righteously Raw–“Why We Use Agave”

(5) Food Babe Sugar Archives

(6) Food Babe Pantry List

(7) Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss All Product 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 affiliate, uses cellulose in their probiotics line.4  She proudly features Ultimate Flora products on the 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?:


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?


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 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.

(1) Food Babe Cellulose Archives

(2) Food Babe Facebook Rants

(3) Food Babe Shopping

(4) Ultima Flora Probiotics Ingredients

(5) Ultima Flora on (via Food Babe affiliate link)

(6) She Did It Again!  Food Babe Linked To Another Company…

She Did It Again! Food Babe Linked To Another Company Using Same Dyes She Forbids

As if more proof was needed of Vani Hari’s hypocrisy and double standards, the self-styled “Food Babe” can now definitively be linked to a third company using the very same dyes  featured in her campaigns against the likes of Nestle, Kraft, and McDonald’s.

Food Babe earns sales commissions on Giovanni beauty products via an article on “holistic health care” (yes, it’s OK to roll your eyes in amusement).1  Several of her affiliate’s offerings contain dyes such as Red #40 and Yellow #5,2  which the Babe links to a variety of diseases and conditions in her petition wars against other corporations that use the same additives.

Hari cannot excuse herself on the grounds that Giovanni isn’t offering food products, because she explicitly warns against beauty products containing these dyes as well.3  The question must be asked: if she’s dead set on companies removing these ingredients from their products, why is she affiliated with such companies?

The Giovanni news is only the tip of the iceberg.  Food Babe blatantly sells a line of Tarte lip stains containing her “forbidden” dyes via her web site’s shopping page,4 and has been selling another line of cosmetics (Josie Maran) containing the dyes since 2013.5

Giovanni, Tarte, and the other companies mentioned here all have wonderful safety records and I hope they will not be punished because Vani Hari chose to align herself with them.

This is a well established pattern.  Recently, I wrote that Hari has been selling a product containing the preservative BHT, even while she led a petition drive against General Mills and Kellogg’s for using the same additive.  Though she quietly pulled the item from her web site, she continues feature it on her Pinterest page.6

Worse, Food Babe publicly threw her affiliate under the bus, claiming they were “sneaky” about the ingredients listed on their web site–a curious statement coming from an activist who claims to personally use every product she sells.7  The manufacturer clearly lists BHT as an ingredient, and Food Babe urges her followers to always read the product labels.  How did she go nearly 3 years without seeing the BHT?

The bigger questions are, (1) how much longer will members of the “Food Babe Army” (#FoodBabeArmy) continue to blindly follow a leader who obviously doesn’t practice what she preaches, and (2) when will American news organizations stop breathlessly promoting Hari as an activist working for the public good, and instead take just 5 minutes to do what I’ve done (check the ingredients of her products against the list of those she says are dangerous)?



food babe giovanni

Giovanni beauty products feature prominently in Hari’s Holistic Hair Care article. (click/enlarge)


Food Babe highly recommends this company's products. (click/enlarge)

Food Babe highly recommends this company’s products, despite the fact several contain dyes she claims are dangerous.  Experts disagree with Hari–the ingredients are safe.  Please don’t punish Giovanni for Hari’s mistakes.  (click/enlarge)


food babe giovanni yellow 5

Giovanni uses safe dyes that Food Babe says are dangerous–but sells anyway.  Confused?  So is she, apparently.  This product contains the same dyes (red 40, yellow 5) over which she lambasts McDonald’s.  And yes, she says the dyes are dangerous in beauty products as well as food products.  (click/enlarge)



food babe pinterest

Food Babe continues to sell Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish, which contains BHT, while she’s simultaneously campaigning against Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove BHT. (click/enlarge)


Image Credits
Food Babe, Pinterest, Giovanni 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.

(1) Food Babe Holistic Hair Care

(2) Giovanni Product Ingredients

(3) Be A Drug Store Beauty Dropout!

(4) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes but Sells Same

(5) Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should be Looking in the Mirror

(6) Food Babe Pinterest

(7) Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water

Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should Be Looking In the Mirror

Yesterday, Vani Hari (the Food Babe) warned Hershey’s that she was “staring” at them after Nestle announced the pending removal of FDA-approved dyes from their chocolate products.1

Hari should have been looking in a mirror, as I’ve found her affiliated with a company selling products containing the same dyes.  (She’s already been caught in a separate dye blunder earlier this week.)

As early as 2013, Food Babe has been in a relationship with Josie Maran cosmetics, earning sales commissions from at least two of their products via her web site.2

Several Josie Maran offerings include the same dyes featured in Nestle’s press release, including Red #40 and Yellow #5.3,4,5,6  Hari campaigns vigorously against yellow #5.  The two items I found on Hari’s web site don’t contain the dyes in question, but that’s beside the point–Food Babe argues (quite loudly) that companies should not be using these dyes at all.  So why is she in business with a company that sells them?

food babe hershey nestle

Food Babe is staring at Hershey’s.  She should have been looking at herself. (click/enlarge)


For the record: experts say that these dyes have been extensively tested. They are considered safe by the FDA.7  Josie Maran has an excellent safety record and there is no reason to punish this company because of the poor research and double standards exhibited by Food Babe.

This isn’t the first time Food Babe has been caught out on the dye issue.  On February 16, I revealed that she has been selling a lip stain that contains 3 dyes over which she berated Kraft.8  She has yet to respond.

Why is it OK for Food Babe to scold Nestle because their products contain (safe) dyes and colorings when she’s connected with a company that’s doing the same thing?  How much longer will her double standards and hypocrisy be allowed to go unchecked?

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  "Lakes" are water insoluble forms.  "May contain" presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  Both straight dyes and “lakes” are found.  Lakes are water insoluble forms–see my article here.  “May contain” presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)


Edit History
The original article incorrectly said that the Nestle press release stated dyes were being removed from all products.  It should have said all CHOCOLATE products.  This has been corrected.

Image Credits
Josie Maran 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.

(1) Nestle Announcement

(2) Food Babe Shopping

(3) Josie Maran Coconut Water Lip Stain Ingredients (Manufacturer Web Site)

(4) Josie Maran Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick

(5) Josie Maran Argan Color Stick

(6) Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee

(7) FDA: Color Additives

(8) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes But Sells Same (Bad Science Debunked)