It’s no secret that I’m no a fan of the Food Babe (I’ve written about her here and here). Basically, she’s a shock jock, stunt woman, a charlatan, a snake oil salesman teetering on her high heels trying to sound like an authority on subjects about which she knows nothing. For the most part, I think of her as an annoyance, nothing more.
But then I saw her ranting about Glucola—a sugary drink given to pregnant women by doctors to screen for gestational diabetes.
The Food Babe’s—who incidentally is not a mother—advice? Don’t drink the stuff. That’s right. Don’t drink the stuff that’s going to help protect you and your growing baby.
Why not? She offers this standard line:
These drinks (also known as “Glucola”) are essentially sugar water with hazardous artificial colors and preservatives with a VERY LONG shelf life.
And then, as if her arrogance wasn’t sickening enough, she adds:
Realize you have a choice – Simply ask your doctor what other options you have and if they don’t know, educate them!
Telling moms that Glucola is dangerous and then encouraging them to refuse the test makes the Food Babe far worse than an annoyance. She’s dangerous and wildly irresponsible.
I refuse to add links to The Food Babe’s reckless online musings and I suggest you stay away from her website and harmful advice. But for those left wondering about Glucola, check out Dr. Jen Gunter’s blog. Dr. Gunter, and OB/GYN, takes on the Food Babe and explains how Glucola is far from toxic and helps doctors protect women and their babies from the real danger–gestational diabetes.
…Glucola is the common name used for the sugary drink that doctors and midwives and nurse practitioners give their pregnant patients to screen for diabetes. Screening for diabetes in pregnancy is recommended as high blood sugar is associated with a number of bad outcomes for both baby and mother.
The Glucola. It tastes nasty, no getting around that, but that’s not because of some harmful ingredient but because it has so much sugar. We use the Glucola to test for diabetes because we need to know the response to an exact amount of sugar with a predictable absorption.
The Glucola contains chemicals because everything that we ingest is a chemical. Chemicals are not bad. Dihydrogen oxide is a chemical, but that doesn’t make it scary it just makes it water.
While The Food Babe spouts off about Glucola, what she doesn’t do is inform pregnant women what will happen if they skip it and proceed through their pregnancy with their gestational diabetes undetected. Luckily, Dr. Gunter covers that:
An affected baby can have dangerously low blood sugar at birth, has a greater risk of needing care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and babies with gestational diabetes can be too large to deliver vaginally. This leads to more c-sections and sometimes if a vaginal delivery is attempted and the baby is too large it can get stuck with its head out of the vagina but shoulders trapped underneath the pubic bone. This is called a shoulder dystocia and is a true obstetrical emergency as the baby is without oxygen for most of the time it is stuck. There is also concern that exposure to elevated glucose levels during pregnancy could lead a higher risk of obesity and diabetes for the baby later in life. Mothers with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, a potentially very serious and even life threatening condition involving high-blood pressure in pregnancy. Furthermore (if all that were not enough) women with GDM have a 60% risk of developing type 2 DM later in life.
This blog post should serve more than to reassure women about Glucola; It should teach women a thing or two about The Food Babe and just how far she’s willing to go to scare women.
Let me be clear: The Food Babe sees nothing wrong with putting pregnant women and the babies they’re carrying in danger to promote her site and to further alarmism about harmless chemicals in important medications.