“The Food Babe” Says They’re Feeding You Lies (How to Unravel the Food Industry’s Playbook and Reclaim Your Health).

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In her new book “Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry's Playbook and Reclaim Your Health,” my guest on today's podcast, Vani Hari (AKA “The Food Babe”) exposes the lies we've been told about our food and takes readers on a journey to find healthy options.

There's so much confusion about what to eat. Are you jumping from diet to diet and nothing seems to work? Are you sick of seeing contradictory health advice from experts? Just like the tobacco industry lied to us about the dangers of cigarettes, the same untruths, cover-ups, and deceptive practices are occurring in the food industry. Vani blows the lid off the lies we've been fed about the food we eat – lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science we base our food choices on.

In the book, she discusses:

-How nutrition research is manipulated by food company-funded experts…

-How to spot fake news generated by Big Food…

-The tricks food companies use to make their food addictive…

-Why labels like “all natural” and “non-GMO” aren't what they seem and how to identify the healthiest food…

-Food marketing hoaxes that persuade us into buying junk food disguised as health food…

Vani Hari started FoodBabe.com in April 2011 to spread information about what is really in the American food supply. She teaches people how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. The success in her writing and investigative work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and expose the truth.

Impassioned by knowing how food affects health, Vani loves sharing her message on the blogosphere to 3 million unique readers across the globe. Vani convinced the biggest fast food chain in the world, Subway, to remove a controversial ingredient after receiving 50,000 signatures in 24 hours on her petition to the chain. After receiving tremendous attention on her posts about Chick-Fil-A, she was invited by the company's leadership to meet at its headquarters to consult on specific improvements to ingredients used by the national chain, which they later implemented. 7 months after Vani petitioned Kraft to remove harmful petroleum-based artificial food dyes from Mac & Cheese, Kraft responded by removing the dye from all products aimed at children.

Other major food companies that have responded to her writings include Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Lean Cuisine, McDonald's, General Mills, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Yoforia, and Moe's South West Grill.

Vani's activism brought national attention at the Democratic National Convention when she used her status as an elected delegate to protest in front of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the issue of GMO labeling. Vani has been profiled in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Doctors Show, NBC News, Fox News and is a regular cooking contributor on NBC's Charlotte Today and a food expert on CNN.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Inorganic phosphates (Pi) and their effects on physical performance…8:20

-Insights into Vani's investigations into why foods are manufactured so differently in Europe vs. the U.S….12:15

  • Vani became aware of this when she noticed the ingredients in Kraft mac and cheese was very different in Europe than in the U.S.
  • Started a petition to get Kraft to remove artificial food dyes in the U.S.
  • U.K. requires warning label: “may cause adverse effects on activity and attention in children”
    • Kraft decided to use natural ingredients rather than put on the warning label
    • Chose to not do the same in the U.S. because the FDA doesn't require a warning label; it's simply cheaper.
    • Natural ingredients look and taste the same as yellow #5 and #6
  • Every major American company does this
  • Pepsi serves American version of its products with artificial preservatives; and one with plain sugar, beta-carotene, etc. in Europe
  • It comes down to money: synthetic ingredients are cheaper
  • French fries are vastly different in the U.K. from the U.S.
  • These chemicals go into many things, not just food
  • The dangers of artificial flavors:
  • Quaker Oats is allowed to write “strawberry” on the label and not actually add strawberries to the product
  • Ketchup:

-To what extent the FDA is involved in regulating the foods we buy at the grocery store, airport delis, etc…40:45

  • Common phrase: “Generally regarded as safe”
    • Not mandatory to report to the FDA
  • Americans are very trusting of their government to oversee, ensure what we eat is safe
    • Food companies invent ingredients;
    • Safety tested by the companies,
    • FDA doesn't have the resources to check everything
  • How is the FDA regulated?
    • NRDC, watchdog organization
    • WTF: Red dye #3 was banned in cosmetics, but not in maraschino cherries?
  • GAO: Org that exists to submit claims with concerns about unsafe ingredients

-Some of the common lies about ingredients we find on packaged food…47:30

  • Parmesan cheese had up to 13% cellulose added to it
  • Sargento capitalized on new awareness, but in a deceitful way
    • “Off the block”
    • Read the ingredients, still using cellulose
  • Former CEO of Whole Foods asked Vani for “next level” of package labeling trends
    • Will see ingredients on front, vs. the back of packaging
  • RX Bar: “No BS”… had “natural flavoring” on the back of the package
    • Natural flavors can have multiple chemicals used
    • “Incidental additives”

-What concerns we should have if we buy all organic…55:36

  • Different levels of “organic”
    • 100% – every ingredient is organic
    • 95% – up to 5% non-organic allowed
    • “Made with organic ingredients” – only 70% need to be organic
  • Pesticides used on organic products
    • Certified organic farm must use natural methods of controlling weeds before using pesticides
    • Types of chemicals are tested
    • Eating organic doesn't avoid pesticides; it does reduce the load on your body
    • Beware of glyphosate

-What does the diet look like for The Food Babe?…1:03:50

  • Avoid as many packaged and processed foods as possible
  • Eat most meals at home
  • Steel cut oatmeal w/ flax seeds, chia seeds, fruit
  • Make a salad for lunch
  • Dinner: 4-course meals

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

-Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry's Playbook and Reclaim Your Health

-The latest two studies on inorganic phosphate: Number 1; and Number 2.

Primal Kitchen ketchup

Kion natural energy bars

-Zach Bush's Restore as an anti-glyphosate strategy

Marion Nestle's Amazon book page

Episode Sponsors:

Kion:  My personal playground for new supplement formulations. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners receive a 10% discount off your entire order when you use discount: BGF10. GetKion.com

Policy Genius: The easy way to shop and compare all your insurance needs. Policygenius.com

Pura Thrive: Combines pure ingredients in targeted dosages through a superior delivery mechanism that is unrivaled by any other supplement on the market today. Get 15% off a bottle of the Keto Balance when you go to Purathrive.com/GreenfieldKeto

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Vani or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

17 thoughts on ““The Food Babe” Says They’re Feeding You Lies (How to Unravel the Food Industry’s Playbook and Reclaim Your Health).

  1. David says:

    Great podcast, Ben, thank you. Why some of your fans are vilifying you because of their disdain for Vani is incredibly childish. Imagine, someone unsubscribing from everything to do with you because you had a guest on that they don’t agree with. It’s remarkably petty and rotten. You can’t put a price on all the great information you’ve shared with everyone over the years. It’s such a cheap shot for someone to just denounce you like that. Vani has infiltrated the food industry and is doing an amazing job reporting the facts and getting companies to shape up.

  2. Bill Montgomery says:

    What about “natural ingredients” in Zevia soda?

  3. Lee says:

    Loved this podcast and information provided. We simply cannot trust the food on the shelves and the marketing strategies by big business. Thanks for always staying up to date!!

  4. Nate says:

    No clue why anyone is hating on her. She is speaking some good facts and has completely reasonable concerns. Good job to her, and I will be buying her book.

    1. Brian says:

      Because she doesn’t understand science and talks drivel because of it. Even she doesn’t even know what she’s talking about, so be careful.

  5. David says:

    Excellent and important information in this podcast with Vani Hari.

  6. Annamarie says:

    Hi Ben, thank you for the podcast, with the Food Babe,
    It made me aware that we have just bought some Almonds from the USA.
    Reading that almost made me scream.
    I’ll have to investigate that tomorrow, definitely.
    Living in NZ, that is supposed to be green and clean,
    How could that happen?

  7. EEProf says:

    I found this article refreshing. As Berlin George said, a lot of Vani Hari’s stuff is just nonsense. That said, avoiding sugar (the new tobacco) and eating whole foods as well as watching macros based on your age, sex and genetics is just the absolute simplest way to optimal health. Oh, and exercise, which is the most potent disease preventative thing you can do.

    Ben, you are doing a fine job, just don’t stray too far away from science and understand that Uncle Sam isn’t out to kill us all.

    1. William says:

      For those of you who think the government is not out there to make you sick wake the fuck up and look what they are doing to the food source they get you sick then you spend money on medicine rinse and repeat America spends more than any other country on health care a blind man can see they are poisoning us on purpose it’s all for money.

  8. Berlin George says:


    You just lost your credibility.

    I can not believe you have her featured on your otherwise terrific site! Unsubscribing from everything I have been getting from you, including supplements, today. This is so disappointing! I looked to you for straight accurate health info, not pseudoscience and fearmongering that she specializes in.


    Go read https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/making-ones-own-…
    And this is just one of many excellent quotes from that link/

    “Kevin M. Folta, the chairman of the horticultural sciences department at the University of Florida, described Ms. Hari’s lecture at the university last October as a “corrupt message of bogus science and abject food terrorism.” (Her fee was $6,000.) Dr. Folta added, “She found that a popular social media site was more powerful than science itself, more powerful than reason, more powerful than actually knowing what you’re talking about.”

    1. Meh. I thought she had some good tips. Did you listen?

      1. JB says:

        Dear Ben. I really believe you’re a good knowledgable person, even though sometimes it looks you just lost it.
        Based on your education I would expect you to know that phosphate loading has been used for years in endurance sports…in particular sodium phosphate is used to alter 2,3-dpg concentration, improving Vo2max etc. So to say it’s decreasing performance, is not true.
        Food babe, I believe is trying to do a good thing, in a wrong way. Telling public that all is bad, and they’re trying to poison us, but at the same time offering a solution is a bit hypocritical. When asked for a science on particular matter, she’d always say she didn’t dig deep into it….
        And let’s talk about Europe being better than USA regarding food safety…this is just not true. Glyphosate is being used in many countries, dies, artificial sweeteners as well. The difference is in USA you have a choice, you can avoid it, in Europe, not so much.

        I really liked your content Ben, but lately it’s becoming all about marketing&sponsors and unreasonable claims. If you’re using 100s of products at the time, how can you recognise what effect one particular product does?

      2. Brian says:

        I know this quack from elsewhere on the net, and not only did I not listen, I instantly unsubscribed to the podcast for giving this attention whore bottom-feeder a platform. Credibility took a huge dive for this one.

    2. David Manar says:

      +1 Thanks.

      I’ve never heard of the Food Babe. But it took only a few minutes of Googling on her to know that this is definitely not a person I’d want to look to for health information. Reading some of her views is like playing fallacy-bingo.

      Ben Greenfield wrote:
      >Meh. I thought she had some good tips. Did you listen?

      To paraphrase an old cliche, even “a stopped clock is right 730 times a year,” but I wouldn’t rely on it.

    3. Tina says:

      I was on board the Ben Greenfield Fitness train completely until I saw that The Food Babe has been given a platform in his podcast. Now, credibility and my trust in Ben’s guests/info has plummeted and i’m not sure I can get back on board, eek.

      Sorry, Ben. I try not to be negative and I know I am ‘just one listener amongst many’ but this guest…nope.

  9. As soon as I went Keto, my bun metabolic panel blood test went from 17 to 32. And that leads to kidney failure. I’m guessing I do too much exercise & eat too much protein. What do I do to lower my bun test?

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