Yvette d'Entremont in Gawker:
Hari's campaign last year against the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte drove me to launch my site (don't fuck with a Bostonian's Pumpkin-Spice Anything). She alleged that the PSL has a “toxic” dose of sugar and two (TWO!!) doses of caramel color level IV in carcinogen class 2b.
The word “toxic” has a meaning, and that is “having the effect of a poison.” Anything can be poisonous depending on the dose. Enough water can even be poisonous in the right quantity (and can cause a condition called hyponatremia).
But then, the Food Babe has gone on record to say, ” There is just no acceptable level of any chemical to ingest, ever.” I wonder if anybody's warned her about good old dihydrogen monoxide?
It's a goddamn stretch to say that sugar has deleterious effects, other than making your Lululemons stretch a little farther if you don't “namaste” your cheeks off. However, I implore you to look at the Safety Data Sheet for sugar. The average adult would need to ingest about fifty PSLs in one sitting to get a lethal dose of sugar. By that point, you would already have hyponatremia from an overdose of water in the lattes.
And almost enough caffeine for me.
And what about that “carcinogenic” caramel color? Well, it turns out that it's not the only thing in your PSL that's in carcinogen class 2b.
There's also coffee.
Coffee is class 2b because of the acrylamide accumulated during the roasting process. Coffee, before Starbucks turns it into a milkshake, is pretty healthy for you. Class 2b means that all possible carcinogenic effects haven't been ruled out (because we haven't tested drinking it while tightrope walking across the Grand Canyon and simultaneously attempting to eat fire… yet), but that it hasn't been shown to cause a single case of cancer.
This is a blatant attempt at getting you to look to her for answers by making you unnecessarily afraid. The goal of Hari's campaign was to… well, we're still not sure. Remove the caramel color? Smear Starbucks? After that campaign failed, she launched a failed attempt to get them to use only organic milk, which would have made their lattes far more expensive and no healthier.