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
- Here are the two studies mentioned:
- Pi is used by the food industry to give processed foods a certain texture, longer shelf life, etc.
- Adults with high Pi levels have a higher mortality rate: affects kidneys and other organs
- Study at Univ. of Texas:
- Pi lowered performance,
- Changed gene expression
- Higher level of Pi, the lower the physical activity
- Sodium phosphate is the most common ingredient used as a preservative
-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:
- FDA was recently sued by several non-profits because 7 ingredients were allowed to be used that are linked to cancer in animal studies
- FDA banned the chemicals due to the lawsuit
- Found everywhere in candy
- They have 2 years to remove the chemicals
- FDA didn't require companies to tell the public which ingredients are the cancer-causing ones
- Quaker Oats is allowed to write “strawberry” on the label and not actually add strawberries to the product
- Mark Sisson's Primal Ketchup
- U.K. gets just sugar and tomatoes, vinegar and spices
- U.S. gets GMOs and artificial preservatives
- We get exposed to genetically engineered corn that's been developed to withstand carcinogens
-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…
Resources from this episode:
–Primal Kitchen ketchup
-Zach Bush's Restore as an anti-glyphosate strategy
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