David “Avocado” Wolfe, an American author and product spokesman, published a story on his website, Davidwolfe.com, announcing that everyone should stop eating Reese’s peanut butter cups for three reasons. The reasons are three different ingredients in the famous Reese’s: soy lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), and tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). David believes the “ingredients in the popular candy are cause for concern.” He goes on to state the effects that the three ingredients have on humans. He claims that soy lecithin has had detrimental effects on fertility and reproduction, can cause behavioral and cerebral abnormalities, and has been linked to breast cancer. PGPR has been tied in with gastrointestinal problems and allergic reactions in children. Ingesting TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, and collapse,” as well as damaging the lungs and umbilical cells and causing stomach cancer. When first reading this story, it seems like something to get worried and anxious over, considering the horrible effects. Despite how believable this story may seem, this story can be debunked by analyzing deeper and conducting more research that labels it as another example of fake news.
To start my research, I did a quick Google search of “David Wolfe’s Reese’s story fake,” and multiple articles were fact-checking the story that labeled it to be false. David is known to post click-baiting articles that are supported by outdated, misinterpreted, and false science.
The fact-check article by Snopes was the first to pop up. Snopes is a fact-checking website that has been proven to be reliable and trustworthy. It’s worrisome that there is so much fake news out there because it can be taken seriously with how widespread the news can get. After reading the Snopes article, the main issue with David’s reasoning is that he’s trying to support it with scientific research conducted thirty years ago. The research is now outdated and irrelevant to the topic. The study was taken place in 1985 when we had little to no research on additives in our food. Today, we have uncovered so much. The scientist of the study was testing the effects of soy lecithin on pregnant lab rats. The result of the trials was that soy lecithin could cause physical and neurological disorders. The information conducted in this study may sound alarming and make you want to cut soy lecithin out of your diet. Still, if you look deeper into the study, the rats are given large proportions that are outstandingly higher than any proportion a human would consume daily.
After Google searching “Is soy lecithin a safe food?”, an article published by Heathline.com is the first one to show up as a result. According to the article, soy lecithin “is a generally safe food additive” and this is because “it’s present in such small amounts in food.” Soy lecithin is proven to be harmless and has no dangerous side effects after consumption. It was even proven that it can lower high cholesterol levels. Heathline.com has another article stating that TBHQ is also considered to be safe in small amounts by the FDA. As reported by Berkeley Wellness, PGPR is also recognized as safe by the FDA. David’s claim that these three ingredients are harmful has been proven false with evidence.
Social media has its pros and cons. One of the most significant cons is that fake news circulates all over social media and as result, the truth is no longer true. In order to avoid fake news, it’s important to fact-check the stories you read, even if they seem to be believable. Be a critical thinker and use your resources to your advantage.
Wolfe, D., & Article. (2017, March 25). This popular candy is linked To ADHD, anxiety & Cancer! Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.davidwolfe.com/3-reasons-stop-eating-peanut-butter-cups/
Kasprak, A. (2019, July 13). Three reasons you should stop eating peanut Butter cups. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/peanut-butter-cups/
Schaefer, A. (2018, March 27). Is Soy Lecithin Good or Bad for Me? Retrieved March 10, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-soy-lecithin-good-or-bad-for-me
What is PGPR in chocolate? (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/what-pgpr-my-chocolate
Schaefer, A. (2017, July 25). The Potential Dangers of TBHQ. Retrieved March 10, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/potential-tbhq-dangers