The other day I came across an article on Gawker that was both thoroughly entertaining and empowering. It’s usually quite difficult to attribute both of those adjectives to the journalistic pieces found on Gawker; but I just had to share this one. It was written by Yvette d’Entremont, also known as “Science Babe”, who writes a blog debunking science myths the same way your very own Pocket RD debunks nutrition myths. In this article, Science Babe took a big (I’m talking REALLY big) swing at Vani Hari, who is better known as “Food Babe”. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is the ultimate Battle of the Babes. This is the girl fight to end all girl fights, the grudge match of men’s dreams, the stuff that Jock Jams music was made for. In one corner, we have an established scientist with a B.S. in chemistry and a MSc in forrrreensicccc ssssscience! In the other corner, we have a young woman whose blog I scoured for credentials and found ZZEEERRRROOOO! She even includes a disclaimer that she is NOT a doctor or registered dietitian. At least she has a picture of herself with Olivia Wilde, captioned “Discussing food politics”. Ah, there are the credentials I was looking for. Let’s get this match under way, because these babes are ready to rumble.
Once you go beyond Food Babe’s pretty face, you’ll see that her mission is to help you rid yourself of all the toxins found in food. She claims that eating our favorite Western diet foods caused her appendicitis (a lofty claim at best), and now she’s leading her “Food Babe Army” to basically bother the s**t out of every food company and restaurant in America. They must really love her. There’s no petition left unsigned, no political convention left unattended, no Dr. Oz show left without another scam artist making bogus health claims. Not only does Food Babe claim sugar has “toxic” effects, her crusade against anything treated with pesticides or additives has her cult-ish “Army” poised for a lifelong battle with orthorexia.
For obvious reasons, I declare the winner of this battle (by a landslide) to be Science Babe. She not only bases her blog on evidenced-based research; she actually has the credentials to back up what she says. The world of nutrition is unfortunately flooded with thousands of Food Babes, all claiming to be nutrition experts because they read that one book or lost weight that one time. This type of market saturation makes it difficult for us professional RDs to get our voices heard over the constant chirping of the Food Babes of the world.
The other thing about being an RD is that we know when to admit that we’re wrong. Nutritional science is constantly evolving, with age-old claims about things like saturated fat and egg yolks being turned over every day. Our nutritional advice evolves as the science evolves…you know…since we actually read the science. On the other hand, Food Babe is never willing to back down from a misguided claim, she just mysteriously makes those blog entries disappear…
Ok last thing and then I’ll get off my soap box. My mission as the Pocket RD is to give you perspective on all those popular nutrition trends and guide you to make your own educated decisions. The key to that mission is the last part of the sentence. When I write this blog or counsel patients, I have zero intention of telling you what to do. Every single nutrition decision is individualized, and has to work for you in order for it to work at all. The day that I publish a list of nutrition rules and regulations is the day I fail as an RD. And I don’t plan on failing. So I implore all of you reading this: we RDs and other professionals like Science Babe have those acronyms after our names for a reason. It’s important that we continue to fight that black magic that is Food Babe. Please don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
Read the full Gawker article here. It’s worth the read.