Food Babe on Cover of Experience Life Magazine Infuriates Readers

Food Babe Experience Life Magazine

Vani Hari aka Food Babe caused quite a riot on Facebook this week when Experience Life Magazine put her on the cover of its October issue. When faced with heavy criticism from readers about the magazine’s cover selection, Experience Life Magazine stated on Facebook that the comments are coming from “an industry-coordinated response — one designed to appear as though it is coming from individual consumers, but that is motivated and subsidized by a behind-the-scenes special interest.” Following this statement, Experience Life provided a PDF link that leads to an anti-GMO group called the Center for Food Safety that “exposes the truth” behind some major food companies. This infuriated readers who retorted that the magazine is misrepresenting facts and needs to apologize to the public, and putting Food Babe on the cover of Experience Life Magazine is simply adding more fuel to the fire.

A flood of memes and parodies erupted from online spoofs yet more credible versions of Food Babe, which include Chow Babe, Food Hunk, and Science Babe. Among the memes is Kirk Lazarus, Robert Downey, Jr.’s method character in “Tropic Thunder,” who says, “You went full Food Babe. Never go full Food Babe.” One commentator remarked, “This is the kind of response I would expect from ‘The Weekly World News.’ You are manufacturing a conspiracy because your chosen ‘expert’ doesn’t understand her topic of professed expertise. You can make this right by admitting a mistake or you can further indulge in this conspiratorial fantasy.”

While this may seem like a senseless mob attack on both Food Babe and Experience Life Magazine, there are reasons why many people think the latter made a serious mistake of putting the grinning food guru on the cover. “Experience Life chose a cover picture that they thought would sell print. Unfortunately, they chose a rather polarizing hero to represent their mission,” said Charlie Scheidecker, who practices massage therapy in Flat Rock, Michigan. “A cursory research reveals that Vani Hari villainizes any substance that is shown by its chemical name. Is she aware that literally every substance around us is formed by chemical bonding? Most chemicals are not formed inside a laboratory.”

Food Babe is well-known for her “chemophobia” — if an ingredient has a long, hard-to-pronounce chemical name, then people should not eat it. This irrationality stirs unnecessary fears to most ingredients that are not harmful to the human body, such as esters that gives certain fruits a particular fragrance. Even a “natural” banana contains many such long or “suspicious-looking” chemical names that are common in foods most people eat, such as ethyl butanoate (a type of ester) and phytosterols, which are a type of plant steroid-like hormones.

Food Babe Experience Life Magazine
If you can’t read it, then maybe you shouldn’t eat it. Food Babe logic.

Food Babe on the cover of a health and lifestyle magazine brings up two issues,” said Molly Gregas, Ph.D., in an online interview with Guardian Liberty Voice. Gregas is a research communication specialist and a freelance science literature editor in Toronto, Ontario. “First, the pseudoscience and misinformation that Food Babe preaches that is not grounded in fact or scientific knowledge; her material takes advantage of many people’s lack of scientific knowledge and preys on their fears.

“Second and most important  is the more broad-based problem of information literacy,” Gregas emphasized. “We live in a time that is rich in sheer volume of information, but much of that information is of poor quality. The ability to evaluate sources of information and validate them or discard them based on critical thinking ability is a crucial skill for all citizens and consumers in today’s society. The Food Babe actively undermines information literacy by encouraging people to react emotionally based on inflammatory rhetoric and by avoiding follow-up questions and fact-checking against easily available primary sources. People want to be able to make good decisions for themselves and for their families, but one can’t make good decisions with bad information. Food Babe is a source of bad information, and by placing her on their cover, Experience Life has run up against the risk of alienating their readers.”

The no-gimmicks, no-hype health and fitness magazine” is Experience Life’s tagline, and putting Food Babe on its cover and making a “shill” statement on social media contradicts its integrity. The magazine’s reputation is also reflected in its recent flood of negative ratings on Amazon.com since the Food Babe cover came out. With its rating plummeting like the sixth season of “Duck Dynasty,” other magazines should be careful about whom they put on the cover and in their stories. Considering that putting Food Babe on the cover had infuriated the public with harsh yet sometimes valid criticism, Experience Life Magazine should think twice before putting Dr. Oz or Jenny McCarthy on its cover in its January issue when tons of Americans make their annual vows to “lose weight.”

Opinion by Nick Ng

Sources:

Experience Life
Science-Based Medicine
Facebook
Interview with Charlie Scheidecker, CMT
Interview with Molly Gregas, Ph.D.
Amazon

29 Responses to "Food Babe on Cover of Experience Life Magazine Infuriates Readers"

  1. glamrshotz   October 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Anyone could cherrypick and find all types of illogical fallacies in Food Babe’s work. Since this lazy article can’t see the forest from the trees I’ll rootstrike for those that just navel gaze. It doesn’t take a science degree to follow the money trail and see the culture war created by big ag. They have a huge environmental and health disaster that they have to defend. This food and water watch report published 2 years ago showed the dramatic shift in ag academia research funding. Our current political landscape is parody in case you didn’t notice. Did I mention Monsanto now has a director of millennial engagement? Go write disparaging articles about that guy. http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/public-research-private-gain/

    Reply
  2. Jen X   September 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

    This is what is so frustrating with dealing with Fraud Broad is that any one who disagrees or presents her with evidence is a troll or a big pharma shill or whatever else she decides. If she is so confident in what she says, if she sincerely believes it, she should be jumping at the chance to discuss it. But that’s not what is happening; any one who is perceived as threatening to spread dissent within her income pool is silenced from her page. She cannot be angry when those who disagree seek to silence her in turn.

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  3. anonymous   September 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hey, if anyone reading this wants to talk rationally about nutrition, health, and other important subjects without Food Babe histrionics, I’d like to invite you over here to a group of forums run by a friend of mine. You can have science based discussions on pharmacology, GMOs, health, the environment, and all sorts of stuff. Check out the forums here: http://www.skeptiforum.org/sf-network/

    TICKER: 73 days since mention of Vani Hari and counting.

    Reply
  4. Noeffen Way   September 27, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Anyone who follows the food boob is a moron, end of story.

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  5. Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 6:17 am

    This article mischaracterizes the push back, stating it was from readers. Most comments about the cover choice were from nonreaders sent there by the Face Book group GMOLOL, a group where people can be alerted to pages with opposing views and be coached on how to respond. It’s actually very easy to cross check who is who. The vast majority of dissenting posts are not from longtime followers.

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    • Nick Ng   September 27, 2014 at 7:20 am

      “Most comments about the cover choice were from nonreaders sent there by the Face Book group GMOLOL, a group where people can be alerted to pages with opposing views and be coached on how to respond.”

      Liz, where is the evidence to support your statement?

      I, too, have commented on the cover choice. Does this make me a shill, too?

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      • Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 7:28 am

        I nor ELM called anyone a shill. The evidence is at GMOLOL and at Exp Life. GMOLOL has several posts encouraging people to visit ELM and comment, even coaching on what to say.

        Make a list of dissenting commenters, make a list of those high fiving at GMOLOL. Look for any of those people liking or commenting on ELM over the last year. Prove me wrong!

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        • Nick Ng   September 27, 2014 at 8:00 am

          “Make a list of dissenting commenters, make a list of those high fiving at GMOLOL. Look for any of those people liking or commenting on ELM over the last year. Prove me wrong!”

          The burden of proof is on you since you made a claim that a group is “coaching” people on what to say, thus, no one has to “prove” that you’re wrong. That’s like saying, “I know unicorns exist in Europe, now prove me wrong.”

          And how does liking or commenting a statement or post correlate to the fact that GMOLOL is “encouraging people to visit ELM and comment” and “coaching on what to say?” What about those who liked and commented and have never heard of GMOLOL nor are they affiliated with such interest group?

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          • KissmyKumbaya   September 27, 2014 at 8:20 am

            And really, what if GMOLOL did organize a response to go along with the regular readers anger? Isn’t that EXACTLY the same way Food Babe operates? Sending her “army” of minions to bully companies she takes some issues with? At least the responses agains Experience Life magazine are researched, and make sense.

          • Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

            It’s proven. And I’ve sent you and others where to find the data. This is not GMOLOL where everyone does the thinking for you. As the author, it’s up to you to convince readers that you have a well-researched article. You have not done that.

            And don’t lump me in with kid camp Food Babe. I can disagree with your dishonestly without blindly following her blather. It’s called thinking for oneself. Try it.

        • Nick Ng   September 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

          “It’s proven. And I’ve sent you and others where to find the data.”

          No, it is not proven, and you have not sent anyone where to find the data.

          “This is not GMOLOL where everyone does the thinking for you. As the author, it’s up to you to convince readers that you have a well-researched article. You have not done that.”

          Like I said, the burden of proof is on you, Liz, and you have not provided evidence to support your statement. I have already provided my evidence as indicated in the article with the links.

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        • Nick Ng   September 27, 2014 at 9:21 am

          “And don’t lump me in with kid camp Food Babe.”

          No, I did not nor have I considered lumping you with Food Babe’s kids camp.

          “I can disagree with your dishonestly without blindly following her blather.”

          That is awesome that you think that way, but what is my dishonesty? Please quote me where you think my dishonesty lies.

          “It’s called thinking for oneself. Try it.”

          Been doing it for a few years already.

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          • Michael Schultheiss   September 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

            The thing I find funny is that the provenance of the people who commented is her concern, and how many of them were long-time readers. One would think that the scientific facts that attest to the profound dishonesty of the “Food Babe” would be a much bigger and more pertinent concern. 😉

    • kaija24   September 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

      The burden of proof rests on the person who makes the claim.

      You claimed: “Most comments about the cover choice were from nonreaders sent there by the Face Book group GMOLOL”. Therefore, YOU have to quantitatively define “most” and provide data (numbers) and evidence to back it up.

      No one else is expected to do your homework for you, and without evidence/number to back up your claim, no one is expected to take your broad generalisations seriously.

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    • Tabitha Farrar   September 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      Wow. Wait a minute….are you a “long-time” Guardian Liberty Voice Reader, or have you been sent over here by Food Babe to respond in her defense?

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      • Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

        Nope. I was actually googling Experience Life to try to get to their website and saw this article. And was interested since it was posted on what I thought was a libertarian/independent news site.

        Based on my 2-3 day knowledge of food babe’s existence, I’d say if she were operating like GMOLOL and indeed sent any blind followers to bark at you, you’d have more than me here. Think about it. I’ve seen lots of accusations of her leading some army, but haven’t really seen any of them here or on ELM’s site. She’s either quite secure in her beliefs, quite fair in not influencing actions of her followers, or totally inept at deploying her army. And if she’s inept, then why all the panic? So you must think its one or both of the first two.

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        • Tabitha Farrar   September 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

          Interesting then, that by your own admission, you are in a minority opinion….I wonder why that is…..

          Food Babe is a threat because she speaks rubbish with confidence and those who do not know better believe her.

          I actually rather enjoy a lively discussion, so welcome your views and good humor 🙂

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          • Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

            I’m certainly in the minority for posters. We of course can’t infer about readers’ actual opinions. Since there is no page like GMOLOL driving thousands of responses, most readers are likely entirely unaware of the drama. I myself only saw it by chance. I’m not on FB much and don’t read everything by ELmag.

          • Liz B.   September 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm

            Of course I’m not sure what opinion you are taking about. That the Food babe rules all? That ELM was wrong to put her on cover? That ELM was wrong to point out the coordinated response?

            It would be pretty boring to read a magazine that contained only opinions I agree with. So they can put FoodBabe on all they want. I still think for myself. I agree, it stoked the fire that they pointed out the response. I’m guessing they wish they had not have done that. BUT many of us have learned from it. I myself had heard of groups like GMOLOL before but never saw them with my own eyes. I understand more now about how opinion gets swayed and social media limitations/veracity than I did before. All things need fertilizer to grow. So to get the rose, you need the sh*t.

  6. Jenny Northrod   September 26, 2014 at 3:37 am

    This was hysterical! I am not even sure if an apology would be sufficient now. But, I do love the fact that Experience Life just “jumped the shark”….

    Reply
  7. Khan Trayles   September 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    There was a measured response to the cover choice in the beginning. When the magazine called out those respondents as shills, that’s when the mob got angry. And large.

    Reply
  8. Sonia Simone   September 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks for a thoughtful discussion of why pseudoscience and misinformation aren’t “harmless.” Well done.

    Reply
  9. Robert Wager   September 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Has the tide turned? Is real information cherished again by reader?

    Reply
    • Michael Schultheiss   September 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Robert, I certainly hope so! That is what some of us here at GLV are trying to promote, certainly!

      Reply
  10. Nick Ng   September 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    In July, Redbook Magazine published an article about “happy endings” in the massage therapy profession. It was taken down almost immediately after AMTA, ABMP, and a legion of massage therapists criticized the story. Then Redbook issued a formal apology.

    This magazine? Well, we’ll wait and see.

    http://guardianlv.com/2014/07/massage-therapists-demand-apology-from-redbook-magazine/

    Reply
  11. Tabitha Farrar   September 25, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    So glad to see this covered! I read all the FB stuff and was happy to see her being put in her place. Great article Nick!

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    • Michael Schultheiss   September 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Exactly! I am so thrilled by this article!

      Reply
  12. Michael Schultheiss   September 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Absolutely brilliant work, Nick! The Food Babe is detestable, and I massively appreciate this fantastic skewering of her ignorant tripe! Full applause, sir.

    Reply

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