The Intentionally Misleading Food Babe

Edited by Peter

I have previously written about the Food Babe and her obsession with demanding that certain chemicals must not be used in the manufacture of food simply because they have alternative industrial uses. I gave an example of how in 2013, she led a campaign to ban the use of azodicarbonamide in the production of Subway sandwiches because it also happens to be used in manufacture of certain plastics. By linking the two together, the Food Babe struck gold as it fed into people’s beliefs that food served in restaurants like Subway is fake, synthetic, and plastic. This, coupled with the fact that the azodicarbonamide has been linked to respiratory problems, meant that people jumped at the opportunity to sign her petition – leading to Subway eventually bowing to their demands. The only problem here is that azodicarbonamide breaks down during bread manufacture – it has only been linked to lung issues in workers exposed to large amounts of the raw material – it’s the dose that makes the poison, and believe it or not things can have multiple uses. Sounds crazy I know. Since then, the Food Babe has been successful in using the same tactics, only recently she has gone after something very close to my heart…beer.

One night, whilst browsing the internet, I came across one of the Food Babe’s videos where she is asking for large breweries to release the ingredients used in the production of their beers. As always, the food babe drones her lines out – clearly reading them from a teleprompter with all the style and charisma of a damp hedgehog. She starts by telling us that her husband is a fan of beer, before saying that there is a “long list of ingredients allowed in beer” – giving the impression that there is something nefarious afoot. She then begins to list some of these ingredients as more scroll behind her. Sticking with her cliché Food Babe formula, she once again links a chemical used in food manufacture to another use. This time she does not even bother to tell us the name of the chemical, but simply says that beer can contain “ingredients found in airplane de-icing liquids”.

Naturally, I wanted to find out what chemical she was referring to, so began to search her website but was unable to find this information. I did, however, find a picture showing us what beers contained what evil ingredients – which begs the question, how exactly does she know this if the breweries don’t make their ingredients public?!?!

At the same time I was looking through her website, I was searching through videos on YouTube and came across one where she actually names the compound. The video in question was a interview of the Food Babe by radio show host and owner of the website Info Wars, Alex Jones (For those of you who are thinking that she can’t possibly stoop any lower, she also appeared in Natural News’ one and only Mike Adams’ podcast). The video is 20 minutes long and is cringe-worthy throughout as Alex constantly talks about shadow governments and sinister plots as the food babe smiles and nods politely. Perhaps one of the most unintentionally funny and ironic parts of the video is a bit where we cut to Alex awkwardly pipetting his own brand colloidal silver into a water bottle as the Food Babe, who famously said “There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever” lists chemicals which she believes potentially cause harm. The Food Babe then finally named the compound used in aeroplane de-icers as propylene glycol – a viscous and colourless liquid that is, indeed, used in some types of antifreeze. What the Food Babe fails to mention is that propylene glycol has a very low toxicity, and would require extremely large doses over a relatively short period of time for there to be any danger. Even long-term oral toxicity studies performed on rats fed with as much as 5% propylene glycol showed no apparent ill effects.

But do you want to know the kicker?!? The fact that exposes the Food Babe as the uninformed and uneducated fear-pusher that she is?!? It’s the fact that she might not be talking about propylene glycol in the first place. It is highly likely that she got propylene glycol confused with propylene glycol alginate, which is used in beer to stabilise foam. Although these molecules sound similar, they are infact vastly different – with one being a small diol and the other being a huge polysaccharide that has been esterified with propylene glycol.

What this all boils down to is fear. The Food Babe is relying on her audience not taking the time to find out what chemical she is referring to and naturally assuming that it’s going to be quite toxic. Don’t get me wrong – I can completely understand wanting to know what ingredients are in your food, but saying that they may contain de-icing liquids (which although is potentially factually correct) is just intentionally misleading. In reality, this is not a million miles away from telling people not to eat fries from McDonalds, as they too contain a de-icer in the form of sodium chloride.

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About Myles Power (623 Articles)
My name is Myles Power, and I run the educational YouTube channel, powerm1985. I spend what little free time I have sharing my love of SCIENCE! through home experiments, visiting sites of scientific interest, and angrily ranting at pseudoscience proponents. I am also one of the founding members of the podcast 'The League of Nerds' - which I co-host with James from 'The History of Infection'.

8 Comments on The Intentionally Misleading Food Babe

  1. As a mother… wait, I meant as a mechanic, one of the workshops I used to work in used propylene glycol-based coolants instead of ethylene glycol-based coolants purely for the reason that it does a whole lot less damage to the water supply if you have a major spill of it. It’s used as a coolant specifically because it’s nowhere near as toxic as ethylene glycol, and therefore not as harmful to the environment if you “accidentally” dump it into the waterways, as so often happens… not that I would ever do that.

    So IF there were tiny quantities of propylene glycol in beer – which, as you mentioned, there probably isn’t – it likely wouldn’t be a cause for concern… in this mechanic’s opinion. Take that for what it’s worth :P

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Also, it’s used in potable water systems such as RV’s to winterize. All you need to do is flush until the water is no longer pink and your system is safe.

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  3. The graphic has another thing wrong. There is no ‘fish bladder’ im beer. There is ‘Fish swim bladder’ which is very different and has been used for centuries to clear beer. It’s primarily collagen. It drops out of the beer which is why it’s used. It grabs onto other particles and drops to the bottom where it is left behind.

    It’s certainly not some new fangled ‘chemical’, it’s a centuries old traditional method for making your beer clear.

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  4. Islinglass is the common name for the agent used to clear beer. Used for years in minute quantities and for an essential reason as well. As well, it is filtered out so there is none of it in the end product.

    I guess that saying its in beer is like saying wrapping your lunch in cling film and suddenly saying that there’s toxic plastic in it. It’s rarely used these days because, well, because there’s better and cheaper alternatives to it.

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  5. There may be propylene glycol alginate in beer . It is NOT propylene glycol. She is chemically illiterate.Just because two compound have similar-sounding names does not mean that they have similar effects. For example methyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol.

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  6. Wow I can’t even believe you think this article actually rebutes anything the food babe has put out there. You’re simply reaffirming everything she has been advocating about. Just because some chemicals are “less toxic” they are still chemicals. They are not natural and should not be ingested. I can’t believe your argument???

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    • She says if it’s a chemical, no amount is safe and you should not put it in your body. It’s amazing she knows so much about chemicals with NO relevant training. All matter on earth is composed of chemicals. That includes the water she must not drinking if she’s true to her mantra. She’s an opportunistic, pseudo scientific, fear mongering, money grubbing disgrace. Dishonest in all respects. If you believe ANY of her calculating drivel, you should re-examine your thought processes.

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  7. I’m much more worried about the dihydrogen monoxide in beer. It is, after all, the main component of raw sewage. Who wants to drink sewage? Disgusting!

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