April 9, 2015 3:12 pm
Updated: April 10, 2015 7:36 pm

Here’s why critics are slamming Food Babe and her claims

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WATCH: One of Food Babe’s critics, Science Babe, penned a scathing story saying Food Babe is full of it. Allison Vuchnich has more on the food fight.

She led a crusade to remove orange dyes from Kraft Dinner, then warned consumers about the “yoga mat” chemical found in Subway sandwich bread, but this week a high-profile food blogger came under scrutiny for her health claims.

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Vani Hari, also known as Food Babe, is facing harsh criticism from a former chemistry professor turned blogger nicknamed Science Babe. And in true blogger fashion, the pair has taken to the Internet for what’s turned into a nasty war of words.

Here’s how it all started and what the two sides are alleging.

READ MORE: Is health reporting sensationalized? Scientists study where overhyping starts

Earlier this week, Science Babe blogger Yvette d’Entremont, a former chemist, wrote a vitriolic piece for Gawker with a cheeky, attention-grabbing headline (The “Food Babe” blogger is full of S***).

In the post, which has now gone viral, d’Entremont claimed that Hari is doing more harm than good by spreading fear and making inaccurate claims.

Among them:

That pilots control the air on an airplane so passengers are better off sitting at the front so they can breathe better air.

That a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has a “toxic” dose of sugar and the caramel colouring is laced with carcinogens. (“The average adult would need to ingest about 50 PSLs in one sitting to get a lethal dose of sugar,” d’Entremont wrote.)

That consumers should lie about allergies to save calories when eating out in restaurants.

WATCH ABOVE: There is a lot of health and medical advice to be found on TV and online, but Dr. Samir Gupta has some words of caution.

D’Entremont reiterated her concern that Hari scares consumers about ingredients without sound evidence to back up her claims. She called it a “tricky technique.”

“If I told you that a chemical that’s used as a disinfectant, used in industrial laboratory for hydrolysis reactions, and can create a nasty chemical burn is also a common ingredient in salad dressing, would you panic?”

D’Entremont was talking about vinegar.

READ MORE: 6 misconceptions about nutrition and healthy eating

“Reading Hari’s site, it’s rare to come across a single scientific fact. Between her egregious abuse of the word ‘toxin’ anytime there’s a chemical she can’t pronounce and asserting that everyone who disagrees with her is a paid shill, it’s hard to pinpoint her biggest sin,” she wrote.

In response, Hari told her “Food Babe army” that d’Entremont’s post is “very unprofessional and overly profane.”

She calls on readers to consider d’Entremont’s credentials and alleges that she’s “undoubtedly pro-chemical and pro-GMO.”

In the sparring, Hari noted that d’Entremont worked for Amvac Chemical, which has ties to Monsanto. She alleged that Gawker paid d’Entremont for the now viral piece.

READ MORE: 6 (more) common misconceptions about nutrition

Things got even messier: Hari dragged up a message from d’Entremont’s ex-colleague who suggested that she was fired from her job.

In the she said/she said, d’Entremont claimed that an ex-lover sent Hari false information.

“I just want a safer and healthier food system, and some people want to keep the food system just like it is today – broken, corrupt and full of unregulated food additives and chemicals that only improve the bottom line of food and biotech companies and not our health,” Hari wrote in her response.

“My message is that it’s far better to err on the side of caution,” she said.

READ MORE: What Health Canada’s ‘easier to read’ nutrition labels would look like

In the meantime, media outlets around the world are documenting the fight between the two bloggers. This isn’t the first time Hari has been called out. In other instances, she’s been nicknamed the “Jenny McCarthy of food activism.”

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

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