A large platform lets people get away with giving bad advice. Unfortuantely fact checking rarely is applied. NPR ran a piece on the Food Babe recently.
Other critics are less generous in their assessment, noting that Hari isn't just raising the alarm about food additives. Through affiliated marketing partnerships, she is also making money by referring her website readers to organic and non-GMO food brands, as Ad Age has reported. Indeed, the Food Babe brand, a registered LLC, has become a full-time job for Hari, who also earns fees from speaking appearances.
"Unfortunately, the Web is cluttered with people who really have no idea what they are talking about giving advice as if it were authoritative, and often that advice is colored by either an ideological agenda or a commercial interest," Yale's Novella writes on his blog. "The Food Babe is now the poster child for this phenomenon."
Hari has brushed off such questions about her motivations and scientific proficiency. "I know that I'm doing the right thing," she told the Observer. "I'm trying to help people understand things that no one else has spoken out about."
But the message of Hari's campaigns boils down to "this toxic secret thing they are putting in my food is making me [sick]," says John Coupland, a food scientist at Penn State, in an email to The Salt.
"I personally think this is largely a distraction from more real concerns" about the food system, says Coupland. Problems, he says, like advertising aimed at kids, the environmental impacts of food production, food waste and hunger.
Conventional urban price indexes indicate that if city population doubles, prices will rise 4.2%. However, removing biases in the data reveals that prices will fall 1.1% when population doubles.
City size was positively correlated with the number of varieties of products available: “A doubling in city size is associated with a 20% increase in the number of available products.”
Households in larger cities tend to purchase a greater variety of goods than those in smaller cities. This holds true even when the authors control for consumer diversity in their experiment. For example, the study estimates that New York City consumers have access to a variety of grocers that is four times greater than that of Des Moines, Iowa.
Food costs are generally lower for consumers in larger cities than those in smaller cities. When similar products are available in both New York and Des Moines, those in New York are 1.3% lower because the city’s residents have access to more varieties. Uncorrected biases account for 97% of the estimated differences in food prices between urban and non-urban areas shown in indices such as those of the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association (ACCRA).
Of course there are many who can't afford decent food no matter where they live and there are local issues tied to the distance people can afford to travel.
Mentioend last year - the turducken of deserts - pumpecapple piecake. Three full pies baked into an object that weighs in at nearly 24 pounds. Sure its $175, but its less than $7.50 a pound and will make a lasting impresson on the recipient as well as their waistline.
He went on, “I recently saw a retired executive of an international company. He got a life coach to help him, and one of the pieces of advice the coach gave him was to get on a gluten-free diet. A life coach is prescribing a gluten-free diet. So do podiatrists, chiropractors, even psychiatrists.’’ He stopped, stood up, shook his head as if he were about to say something he shouldn’t, then shrugged and sat down again. “A friend of mine told me his wife was seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety and depression. And one of the first things the psychiatrist did was to put her on a gluten-free diet. This is getting out of hand. We are seeing more and more cases of orthorexia nervosa”—people who progressively withdraw different foods in what they perceive as an attempt to improve their health. “First, they come off gluten. Then corn. Then soy. Then tomatoes. Then milk. After a while, they don’t have anything left to eat—and they proselytize about it. Worse is what parents are doing to their children. It’s cruel and unusual treatment to put a child on a gluten-free diet without its being indicated medically. Parental perception of a child’s feeling better on a gluten-free diet is even weaker than self-perception.”
The initial appeal, and potential success, of a gluten-free diet is not hard to understand, particularly for people with genuine stomach ailments. Cutting back on foods that contain gluten often helps people reduce their consumption of refined carbohydrates, bread, beer, and other highly caloric foods. When followed carefully, those restrictions help people lose weight, particularly if they substitute foods like quinoa and lentils for the starches they had been eating. But eliminating gluten is complicated, inconvenient, and costly, and data suggest that most people don’t do it for long.
The diet can also be unhealthy. “Often, gluten-free versions of traditional wheat-based foods are actually junk food,’’ Green said. That becomes clear after a cursory glance at the labels of many gluten-free products. Ingredients like rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch are often used as replacements for white flour. But they are highly refined carbohydrates, and release at least as much sugar into the bloodstream as the foods that people have forsaken. “Our patients have jumped on this bandwagon and largely left the medical community wondering what the hell is going on,’’ Green said.
“You know, people are always dropping off samples of gluten-free products at our office. And when I eat them I regret it. I get heartburn. I feel nauseous. Because what are the things that sell food? Salt, sugar, fat, and gluten. If the makers take one away, then they add more of another to keep it attractive to people. If you don’t have celiac disease, then these diets are not going to help you.” People seem to forget that a gluten-free cake is still a cake.