So you’ve just settled down to those 49 baskets of tofu puffs from the Chinese takeaway. Those glowing golden chewy cubes of goodness sure look inviting. This is going to be epic. See you on the other side, 30,000 calories down and one step closer to death. But wait, who’s that on Evangelical TV urging you to think again? It’s Dr Axe! Nutritionist to the tards and all-round good guy! He’s here today to tell you that tofu consumption will turn you into a pig-titted soy boy if you’re lucky, a cancer-ridden corpse if you’re not. So what do you do – ignore him? Um, great idea guys. He has like 2,786,132 Facebook fans. That’s more than the population of a certain Caribbean island nation I sent my mother to on holiday.
Yes, that was my clear implication. Only a compete rasclaat would dismiss the beliefs of a full Jamaica’s worth of Internet followers. And yet that is exactly what The Savage is asking you to do. Because Dr Josh Axe is a crank quack of epic proportions whose advice on anything can be roundly and safely ignored.
Before we stick our paws into the sticky tofu issue, let’s do some background on Dr Axe. Perhaps the most striking thing about Dr Axe is that he is not a doctor, at least not a medical one. His “doctorates” are in chiropractic and naturopath medicine – two worthless crank disciplines for the emotionally crippled and mentally subnormal. This alone should make you write him off as a human being, never mind as an authoritative source but of course the problems don’t stop there. This Winklevoss twin looking motherfucker has made his name and his fortune peddling crackpot medicine to the gullible with a grasp on the fundamentals of science as feeble as the grasp your girlfriend has on your johnson when she gives you the ceremonial annual tug on your birthday.
Waving (not drowning)
Get a load of his views on microwave ovens1 for instance. Josh hasn’t used one in years and not just because he hasn’t figured out the instructions yet. He believes that they cause cancer because of the radiation they emit. To a small child or a fool, this sounds nominally plausible. After all, we’ve all heard that radiation can fair mess a fella up, rattle his cage, even put his nose out of joint. Many of us saw the fictional HBO comedy Chernobyl and laughed as people from all over England died in a Russian nuclear disaster from radiation burns, radiation sickness and radiation AIDS. We know that microwaves emit radiation, ergo molte microwaves will cancer you up, bro. Yes?
No. No, that’s not it at all. There’s a pretty significant difference between the ionising radiation emitted by x-rays, an exploded nuclear reactor or radioisotopes administered in nuclear medicine and the non-ionising radiation emitted by a microwave oven, power lines or a mobile phone. Ionising radiation carries more energy meaning it can mutate cellular DNA, causing cancer in the long term. Non-ionising radiation, however, does not have the energy to break molecular bonds.2 Josh’s video on this shows that he either doesn’t know about this distinction or simply doesn’t care. What it does do is give his uninformed horde of conspiracy-leaning knuckleheads a feeling of superiority over the sheeple which is a core appeal of his brand.
There’s money in conspiracism after all and Josh is well aware of this. On his website, you will find him making money through affiliate links for the various products he pushes such as bentonite clay. A long-time proponent of bentonite clay, Josh goes to great lengths to promote its supposed properties. He gushes over how it is able to “draw-out toxins from the body” such as mercury, cadmium, lead and benzene. It certainly doesn’t sound like you would want any of those in your system – only a degenerate churl would disagree with that. Even better, bentonite clay contains “important dietary nutrients”.3 It giveth and it taketh away. A look at the ingredients confirms the goodies we can expect, among them: mercury, cadmium, lead and benzene. So that’s the same toxins we are trying to get out of our body?
Showing your metal
Well, I’m confused but Dr Axe is not. In fact, he couldn’t be any clearer. “No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits,” he says elsewhere in a piece on cosmetics. He is very against heavy metal toxins and one of the ways he combats them is to urge you to purchase heavy metal soused dirt for you to consume frequently, with great vigour, at a time of your choosing. So as you tox you must detox. It is known.
You may be starting to get the picture by now that Dr Axe gets about as close to scientific credibility as your boyfriend does to making you come. Not that this will ever hold him back. Bung in a few sciencey words and wellness buzz phrases, buttress it all with some official-sounding credentials and Josh is in an excellent position to take advantage of the weak-minded rabble that constitutes his audience.
Bear in mind that the health and wellness industry was recently estimated at being worth $4.2 trillion. If you’re making bank in that niche, you can well imagine how scientific truth would be close to the bottom of your priorities.
Mad about the soy
That may be why he is a filthy creationist, writing “the foundational reason I don’t follow the paleo diet is because it stems from a belief system based on macroevolution, while I personally am a creationist.” Scientific creationism, toxic detoxing – both fully paid-up members of the Oxymoron Club, an increasingly popular watering hole in wellness circles. But we said we’d get to his important work on tofu. What is it about this delicious soy product he has beef with? On the tofu article on his website, Annie ‘Sprinkle’ Price cites Dr Kaayla Daniel, author of “The Whole Soy Story,” that soy is not a health food, does not prevent disease and has not even been proven safe. 4
Sounds serious but who is this Dr Kaayla Daniel character? Well, among her many commitments she is on the board of the Weston A. Price foundation. Even cursory background checks on those goons throw up enough horrors5 to keep us busy for some time – quack dentistry, anti-pasteurisation, homeopathy and anti-vaccination. Still, you can count on Dr Daniel to voice her opinion and speak out. Unless it’s on sexual harassment of course, in which case she makes a dormouse sound voluble.6
Leaving nonce apologism to one side, some of the familiar anti-soy tropes are recycled here. Let’s see how well they stack up when the road of reality hits the rubber of their claims.
Phytoestrogens are linked to breast cancer
FACT CHECK: No such causal link can currently be inferred from the evidence. Studies on the effect of phytoestrogens (found in tofu) have not demonstrated this but several large studies7 have shown that breast cancer survivors who regularly eat soy-based foods have lower rates of cancer recurrence than those who avoid soy. On their website, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state “Soy food can be safe and even beneficial if consumed by women with breast cancer diagnosis.”8
Tofu is linked to mental decline and dementia
FACT CHECK: There are some studies indicating correlation but, as any fule kno, correlation is not causation and countries where soy is a staple of the diet have lower rates of dementia. Having studied the research extensively, soy experts Dr Mark Messina and his registered dietician wife Virginia conclude that “there is no reason to believe that eating soyfoods is harmful to brain aging.”8
Most soybeans are genetically modified and therefore unsafe
FACT CHECK: A 2016 meta-study of hundreds of papers conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicines concluded that there was “no substantiated evidence that foods from GE crops were less safe than foods from non-GE crops”.9
Tofu will cause hypothyroidism
FACT CHECK: There is a cracked bulgur wheat grain of truth in this alarmism. Soy can prevent absorption of the thyroid hormones hypothyroid patients are prescribed. Dorothy Fink, MD, endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine, however, says “People can have their thyroid medicine in the morning and have tofu for dinner a few times a week and be totally fine.”10
So in other words it is pretty much what you would expect from a dingbat crank like Josh Axe – half-truths, unwarranted assumptions and moral panic. It’s all there. Beyond the fact that this kind of cynical scaremongering can ruin a perfectly good takeaway meal, it adds to the dead weight of misinformation, pseudoscience and zombie statistics trolling around the Internet like a giant band of dirt worshipping, shit eating cavemen. Josh may well believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that is exactly the kind of thing that you need to believe if you’re going to regard him as any kind of authoritative source.
In summary, there are no problems of any consequence with eating tofu. Hog shamelessly on that soy facon, my friends. Dr Axe may have significant issues with tofu but his biggest issues are with reality, oral hygiene and his shit brain. Josh and his lackwit creationist outriders can suck a dick a day until they die.
- Microwave Radiation – Dr Josh Axe YouTube channel
- Microwaves, Radio Waves, and Other Types of Radiofrequency Radiation – American Cancer Society
- Axe-idental Poisoning (Josh Axe Debunked) – Bad Science Debunked
- What Is Tofu? 8 Reasons to Not Eat This ‘Healthy’ Vegan Product – Dr Josh Axe website
- Weston Price’s Appalling Legacy – Science Based Medicine
- WAPF Sexual Harassment Scandal: Dr Kaayla Daniel Apologizes to the Women in WAPF – Cheese Slave
- Soy and Breast Cancer – Oncology Nutrition
- Do Tofu and Soy Milk Cause Dementia? – John Robbins
- GMO safety debate is over – Cornell Alliance for Science
- 10 Common Myths About Thyroid Disease You Probably Believe – Health.com