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Celebrity Nonsense

Recently USA Today featured an article on Pepsi Cola's plans to replace high fructose corn syrup in some of their products with "real sugar." Of course this difference is irrelevant. The move is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. But here is perhaps the most interesting part of the story. To whom did they go to get a comment about this proposed move? Dr. Walter Willett, head of Harvard's School of Public Health who is one of the world's leading experts on nutrition? Or Dr. Robert Lustig whose lecture on sugar has had over four milllion views? Or Marion Nestle of New York University who has written extensively on the issue? Or Michael Pollan author of the excellent book, The Omnivore's Dilemna? Or Dr. Dean Ornish who has shown that deposits in arteries can be reduced by changes in diet? Or even Dr. Andrew Weil who runs the Integrated Medicine Program at the University of Arizona? Nope!

They go to the Food Babe for an opinion! A blogger who has no scientific background but has managed to create an image of being a champion protecting the public from an onslaught of toxic foods unleashed by uncaring, irresponsible producers. The Babe opines that the caramel colouring is more dangerous than sugar. Absurd. This is the same woman who tells people not to vaccinate against the flu because the vaccine contains toxins like aluminum and formaldehyde. As far as aluminum goes, she’s just wrong. There isn’t any. And as for the formaldehyde? Well there is a tiny amount used as a preservative. How tiny? About one fiftieth the amount that occurs naturally in an apple or pear.

But who would have thought that the folly of the Food Babe and that of other pseudoscience-drenched celebrities like Suzanne Somers, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jenny McCarthy could be outdone by another celebrity? Alicia Silverstone, the actress who rose to fame starring in the movie Clueless, is up to the task. Clueless is an appropriate word to associate with Alicia. In her book, The Kind Diet, she exudes a plethora of looney advice that goes beyond avoiding vaccination. She wants babies to poop in the grass instead of using diapers and believes that a vegan diet protects against childhood disease. And of course tampons upset the body's hormone balance. But she does urge moms to restrict sugar. Well even the clueless sometimes get things right.

Why would anyone take health advice from an actress? Or from the “Banana Girl." This lady has really gone bananas. Literally. Sometimes she eats thirty a day. I can’t imagine what that does to her bowels but she surely is mentally constipated. Like the Food Babe, she has impeccable credentials. She once took a dietetics course but gave it up because she couldn't cope with the thought of giving dairy to heart attack patients. Not sure where she learned about bananas but she mentions she worked as a stripper. Her breakfast consists of Datorade which is 20-30 dates blended at high speed with around 1.2-1.5 litres of water plus cinnamon to taste. For lunch it is 8-10 mangoes, half a large jackfruit and 3 pineapples. Dinner is a baby green salad with 5 chopped up bananas and 5 dates. She claims this diet results in heightened mental clarity. I beg to differ. I think Banana Girl must have slipped on one of her bananas and scrambled her brain.

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