The Food Babe? More like the Fool Babe.

I’m not too keen on taking factual advice from a self-labeled “babe”. She’s proving to be no better than celebs who suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect – they are overly confident that they know stuff. But they don’t. She’s scientifically ignorant and serving some rotten advice. But she may have just made a fatal mistake by dissing beer.

Quackmail: Why You Shouldn’t Fall For The Internet’s Newest Fool, The Food Babe.

Ironically, one of the key factoids in blogger Vani Hari—aka, “The Food Babe’s”—attack on Big Beer was that they “even use fish swim bladders” to make their product without putting this self-evidently dodgy fact on the label; the implication is that beer should not from fish bladder be made. Yet, isinglass—as dried fish bladder is Tolkienesquely called—has been used to clarify beer, wine and liquor since the early 18th century, and its manufacture was widespread in Colonial America (a versatile compound, it was also mixed with gin and used as a glue to repair broken china). While this may cause vegans to pause before a draught, isinglass has been used and consumed without incident for centuries.

Unfortunately, this kind of clarification, where a blogger takes something commonplace and gives it a nefarious social media friendly twist to advance an agenda, did not make the Financial Times, Business Insider, USA Today, NBC News, and undoubtedly many more news stories that uncritically reported the Food Babe’s victory.

That the media should give The Food Babe a free pass as an expert or as a credible consumer watchdog is especially troubling when you look at some of her other claims, as recorded by the doctors at Science-Based Medicine. As infectious disease specialist Mark Crislip MD noted, Hari out goops Gwyneth Paltrow on the feelings of water by claiming that if you expose water to the words “Hitler” and “Satan” it will change its physical structure in exactly the same way as if you microwaved it. She believes getting the flu shot will give you cancer from all the “chemicals.” She is, naturally, against GMOs.

Yes, the Food Babe was given a dish of due criticism by people who are more informed. Not only is the toxic gambit stupid but it’s not new. This is another blogger trying to get attention by scaring you for nothing.

Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe): The Jenny McCarthy of food « Science-Based Medicine.

Who is this “Food Babe,” anyway?

It’s a marker of just what a double-edged sword the Internet is. While the Internet is the most fantastic piece of technology ever devised for spreading knowledge and empowering anyone to speak up, there’s a dark side. That dark side consists of people like Vani Hari. No Internet, no Food Babe, no chemically illiterate, scientifically ignorant rabble rousing. How did she get her start? What are her qualifications?

The second question is easy to answer. She has no relevant qualifications. She isn’t a scientist. She isn’t a doctor. She isn’t a dietician. She has no training in nutrition. It’s not for nothing that she’s been referred to as the Mike Adams of food activism, which is not a compliment. In any case, according to her Wikipedia entry she has a B.S. in Computer Science and began her career as a banking consultant.

As Dr. Gorski notes, she got her edumacation from Google University, same as anti-vax advocate Jenny McCarthy. Oh geez!!! Scam Stud « Science-Based Medicine.

And she also caused a ruckus at Subway. NeuroLogica Blog » Eating Yoga Mats.

Honestly, it’s nice to be a babe but not nice to be known for being stupid and misleading the public.

The New Yellow Journalism – Brookston Beer Bulletin.

Yours for Good Fermentables ™: Beer Wars: The Calumny of The Food Babe..

  12 comments for “The Food Babe? More like the Fool Babe.

  1. Douglas
    June 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    A friend of mine shared her post about beer on my facebook a while back and I absolutely shredded it. I then proceeded to castigate my friend for even reading such obvious tripe. I want to throttle people like the “FoodBabe”. At least she’s not calling herself “FoodScientist”

  2. Bill T.
    June 17, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Next I suppose you’re going to be poo-pooing the dangers of the nefarious dihydrous monoxide (sometimes “dihydrogen monoxide” any chemistry majors out there, which would be considered more correct?) that is in EVERY food product sold, yet is omittted in the ingredients from most. Methinks a government cover-up.

  3. Frederick
    June 17, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    “I’m not too keen on taking factual advice from a self-labeled “babe” ”
    Totally agree with that, and she also seem to think that she is super good looking, but she is not, tone down the make up a little.
    All those evil chemical on her face, must be doing damage to her brain. Since I read her rambling, I’m drinking more beer out of spite! lol

  4. Paul
    June 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Thanks for the article. I’ve noticed her shenanigans previously and am glad that someone is calling her out. If we are silent in the face of ignorance, it will only grow. Reporters seem to love self-made gurus and relish the fact that at the very least they will get a controversial article out of them.

  5. BobM
    June 18, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    Some eejit said that formaldehyde is evil because it is used to preserve mummies. To which my reply is water is used as a coolant for my car engine yet it is completely harmless and I drink a lot of it. They say research has shown that the IQ level of human beings has gone down since we were hunter gatherers. I’d believe that…………….

  6. Andrew W
    June 18, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    I am also disgusted with her. She gives us Babe’s a bad name! Babe’s are inteligentz as well as really, really, really, really good looking.

    I learnt of the use of fish bladders in beer some 20 years ago, on a tour of a brewery, for my bar and waiting course. They described the use of such for the control of carbohydrate content in the beer, as well as clarifying it. It has been tested time and time again and proven to be effect and totally safe. All in all, it is just a food product being used in another food product. Bet she will coming after ‘poisonous’ can tuna next! Evil fish….

  7. Erik
    June 18, 2014 at 3:40 AM

    For me, the issue with food activism is not the push for transparency in ingredients lists, but the way the imformation is being used and extracted. Because of her charismatic rhetoric and her vocal “#foodbabearmy”, two major corporations so far have given in to her demands to save face in the court of public opinion. Add on top the praises of uncritical media outlets and like-minded bloggers about the “powers of social activism”, and her and her followers’ resolve to continue their crusades armed with misinformation and fallicious reasoning will only get stronger. It saddens me in that I could totally see her or someone like her use their powers for “good.” I’d love it if her site actually took a critical, scientific look at what is in food, dispelled myths, talked to real experts in the industry, and generally be a positive and unbiased health site. That would be pretty cool.

  8. Chris Howard
    June 18, 2014 at 7:15 AM


    Does this mean that beer is rich with Omega 3 fatty acids?!?

    Now I don’t have to take those stupid fish oil pills, anymore! I can just drink more Coors yellow bellies!


  9. June 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I work in electronics, several years ago I was doing test engineering work at a very large company. On a lark I relabeled all of the appropriate bottles to the substances chemical name dihydrogen monoxide. Everyone in the lab thought it was funny (engineers are dorks at heart) and the relabeling stuck. A couple months later the Safety Guy sweeps through the lab and sees the unfamiliar labels, does a Google search and comes up with this web site. Then I get pulled into a meeting with my smiling manager and a concerned looking Safety Guy. Safety Guy starts off saying that there is a procedure for introducing new chemicals into the lab, we need to pull MSDS sheets and notify him and get appropriate OSHA labeling. Then my manager, still smiling asks me to explain to him what Dihydrogen Monoxide is and how we use it. Safety Guy refused to talk to me after that day.

  10. Tribeca Mike
    June 18, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    The links with this article lead me to some very informative places. Thanks!

  11. al fair
    June 19, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    I saw that article on Facebook too. i feel like anyone who really cared what they were drinking would already know about isinglass. I mean, not that veganism is how everyone cares what they’re eating, but isinglass is veganism 102. and they don’t wanna eat it, but they know it’s a traditional brewing method and why a site like bar ignore exists.

  12. Bill T.
    June 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    So you got an unexpected bonus on top of the joke. Nice.

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