What do you get when you combine food diaries of suspect reliability with an agenda against Big Food?

A prominent epidemiologist. No methodology is deemed too shoddy to manufacture "statistical significance" because few in food epidemiology seem to recognize how useless that is as a barometer for "legitimate result."

Shoddy methods are common in the anti-science movement, International Agency for Research on Cancer will happily use animals models (not valid, mice are not tiny people) with doses of 5 orders of magnitude (not valid to claim 1 dose is the same as 10,000 doses) if they want to scare you about pickle juice or tea. Epidemiology is not science because it needs no hypothesis. All they have to do is get enough foods or chemicals people claim they ate in rows and enough data about diseases people get in columns and there is a 100% chance they can correlate something to something and declaring statistical significance is easy, which is enough to get it in an epidemiology fanzine like Environmental Health Perspectives. Because that is a government publication, and therefore more legitimate to an alarming swath of corporate journalists, somewhere an 'X IS LINKED TO Y' article will appear.

What's all the sudden drama from anti-science activists? Soy leghemoglobin sailed through FDA because soy has been used for thousands of years, it is even certified organic. Yet environmentalists now oppose it. They don't want animal deaths to stop, they want to control human behavior - and the way to do that is scaring people into giving environmentalists money for 'protection'. If you don't yet know how often epidemiologists collude with environmentalists and other trial lawyers to get expert witness contracts, oh to have your glorious naïve soul. Credit: NTL Photography, via The Conversation

Most people, you included if you haven't already taken the science blue pill and went back to trusting the Washington Post, instinctively don't trust epidemiologists and claims about Scary Chemicals and Miracle Vegetables trotted out once per week is why. Food epidemiologists have been doing this stuff for 40 years and not a single life or disease instance has been saved by their chronic scaremongering.(1) 

In this case the shoddy method was creating a giant umbrella containing Doritos, packaged cookies and...vegan meat alternatives...and calling them ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS and that was good enough for obscure The Lancet Regional Health editors which is good enough for a Wellness Journalist at Washington Post. All of which ignored that the vegan foods were 0.2% of the total calories.

There is already an official newspaper of the anti-science left, it is called The Guardian. The world doesn't need another one.

It is no surprise that neither editors at the journal or journalists at the paper read far enough to see vegan processed food was irrelevant. This is the same Washington Post where journalists are rending garments because an editor asked them to stop writing nonsense. This is the same Lancet that published a paper claiming vaccines cause autism.

All food is processed food, but activists had to abandon ship on that term when lawyers hoping to sue over processed food - epidemiologists funded by lawyers claimed they cause cancer - wanted a referendum in California putting warning labels on it. Since epidemiologists know very little about science, much less food, they didn't realize that all food is processed. We aren't cows eating wheat from the ground, it's processed into flour and then processed into bread and pasta. So the organic food companies behind their work were going to be forced to put Processed Food labels on every one of their products too, and the supposed public health movement to "hold corporations accountable where it hurts" evaporated once lawyers were not going to benefit "where it counts."

They quickly pivoted to ultra-processed foods, though definitions for that are as conflicting and arbitrary as food epidemiology papers. Except they are also in a war on sodas and the epidemiology correlation from that one absolved meat substitutes completely. And it had some of the same authors now saying it is vegan food killing us.

'Science is a vast right-wing conspiracy' narratives died down in the US when Democrats decided to take credit for the COVID-19 whose approval they claimed was rushed during the 2020 election, but it is still common elsewhere. Many claim that Vaccines by Big Pharma, UPFs by Big Food, and Big Tobacco (whatever they are up to these days) are all in cahoots with Big Government to...no one knows. Sit in their corporation-y buildings and make money, I suppose.

I like to ridicule vegans because they create supernatural beliefs about their lifestyle choices, the same reason I ridicule people who believe in astrology, acupuncture, and organic food. But this is a covert attempt to undermine alternatives to meat, so it is a bizarre alliance among anti-science trade groups funded by organic corporations, and the ranchers that anti-science activists otherwise hate. Meat grown without animals is a legitimately great goal, but they have turned their billions and billions in activism on that also, until then we have things like Impossible Burger.

Meat substitutes are an interim solution but a promising one. That is likely the reason why epidemiologists have turned on it. That, and getting "grants" from companies who want their war on science to continue.


(1) It was a disaster during COVID-19 because disease epidemiologists wanted to be trusted guides while the public wondered why a group of people who claimed eggs and butter were killing us while resveratrol and chocolate prevented cancer were suddenly pretending to know anything about R0 and SIR.