“The Natural Society” Fails At Biology, Math

Slimfy Stage 1 from Natural Society

The Natural Society lambastes cellulose as cheap filler that can’t be digested. Perhaps that’s why they use it in their diet foods? (click/enlarge)

Hypocrisy, thy name is The Natural Society.

In the short time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve caught some of the bigger names in woo in embarrassing acts, such as food/product safety “expert” The Food Babe selling pesticides and coal tar dyes to children.  But small-time player “The Natural Society”, with their “Slimfy Nature and Science” diet foods, takes the cake.  You just can’t get any more obvious than this:

“Fifteen Companies Whose Products Contain Wood Pulp”,1 penned by Natural Society co-founder Anthony Gucciardi, counts fifteen companies who use an ingredient that, according to Gucciardi, is “wood pulp”:  a useless filler that can’t be digested by humans.  Gucciardi’s shaky biology aside (cellulose is an important biological component found in plant cell walls), it’s obvious the man has trouble counting.  He missed the sixteenth company selling cellulose in its food products: his own.

Yes, like most pseudoscience sites, The Natural Society has an online store.  How better to market alternatives to the products they’re demonizing?  One of the offerings from these snake oil salesmen is “Slimfy”, a diet supplement.  Anyone care to guess what’s found in each and every bottle of Slimfy?  If you said “cellulose”, you’re correct.  Extra credit to those who answered “microcrystalline cellulose.”

What does Gucciardi himself say about the cellulose in his products?

“Cellulose can be found in products under ingredient listings such as cellulose gum, powdered cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, and more.” 1 (emphasis mine)

Yes, yes. We saw the Natural Society play the name game on its own labeling. Your point is, Mr. Gucciardi?

What many do not realize, however, is that cellulose is actually wood pulp. Unable to be digested by humans due to the lack of necessary enzymes needed to break the ingredient down, cellulose has been deemed ‘safe for consumption’ by the FDA.” 1

Ah… imply cellulose isn’t safe to eat by putting “safe for consumption” in quotes… clever!  So why are you selling it as an edible product then, Anthony? (May I call you Anthony?)

But what you really have to applaud is the cajones of a company that takes an ingredient they claim can’t be digested by humans, places it in a bottle, and sells it as a diet aid–for $37.50 per jar of 60 capsules ($225 for a buy 3, get 3 free deal)!

Well, that’s one way to lose weight.  Aye, carumba!


Image Credits
The Natural Society and Slimfy 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.

(1) Fifteen Companies Whose Products Contain Wood Pulp Cellulose


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.


(1) Hyman demonizes cellulose on Facebook

(2) Health Foods That Are Dangerous For Your Health (Hyman)

(3) Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra on Mark Hyman’s Online Store

(4) Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra Ingredients List

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.

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?:


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 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.

(1) Food Babe Cellulose Archives

(2) Food Babe Facebook Rants

(3) Food Babe Shopping

(4) Ultima Flora Probiotics Ingredients

(5) Ultima Flora on Amazon.com (via Food Babe affiliate link)

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