Food Babe, aka Vani Hari, has developed quite a following on her blog where she provides advice on healthy living. Some of the advice can be quite good, however, it can also include incorrect information often creates unnecessary chemophobia.
A recent article for magazine The Cut provided some good examples of how good advice can be muddled with less than scientific information.
The article starts poorly with Vani explaining that
“For several years, I’ve started my day with warm lemon water and cayenne pepper. Lemon water is very alkaline and can stimulate the liver.”
Lemon water is very alkaline? I don’t think so. Lemons are acidic.
Later she describes her own diet which seems quite sensible – lots of green vegetables, proteins etc. Unfortunately this is accompanied by a requirement that the vegetables are organic due to a fear of the “synthetic pesticides, which can cause cancers and auto-immune disorders.”
She applies the mistaken belief that “An acidic body promotes disease and inflammation.” and consequently she tries “to make my diet mostly alkaline.”
She also plays the fairly standard alternative health card of creating an enemy, explaining that
“There are people who want to keep the chemicals in our food and keep us dependent on chemicals. They’re chemical activists.”
“I want to know why companies aren’t coming up with chemical inventions that are improving our health. And people can’t argue with that.”
Actually it is fairly easy to argue with that. The pharmaceutical industry has created a wide range of chemical inventions to treat a wide range of conditions including septicaemia, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and a number of different cancers.
It is such a pity to see good health advice mixed in with misinformation, in a way that is likely to confuse people as well as create some paranoia about different sources of food.