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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   Jeff Nelson | VegSource Interactive, Inc.

Rebuttal to Cohen's Latest Nonsense
by Jeff Nelson

"A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
-- MacBeth, Act V, Scene V

April 7, 2002 -- Robert Cohen shows a propensity to see poisons on every corner. Carrageenan is an "extremely dangerous food additive," he says. His evidence: Joanne Tobacman, a prominent animal experimenter and scientific dissident on carrageenan, says so.

The fact that every scientific body that has considered the matter profoundly disagrees with Tobacman's position doesn't bother Cohen. However, he does see the problem that almost all Tobacman's "evidence" is from animal studies and recognizes the need for an alibi if he is to align himself with Tobacman's conclusion.

In his initial attack on Silk over carrageenan Cohen wrote:

"I explained to Dr. Tobacman that I rejected animal studies (as cited in Dr. Weil's column), and requested evidence that carrageenan might be dangerous to humans.

For the next half hour, I took notes in stunned silence.

I learned from Dr. Tobacman that carrageenan is highly sulferated. Forty percent of carrageenan, by molecular weight, is sulfur. You may recall from previous notmilk columns that amino acids containing sulfur create an acid condition in the bloodstream, and that the human body neutralizes the acid by leeching calcium from bones. Methionine is one such amino, and methionine converts to homocysteine, an amino acid that Dr. William Castelli calls a key to heart disease. Castelli is the lead researcher in the Framingham heart study, the largest heart study in the history of mankind."


 



Vegsource has previously exposed Cohen claims re sulfur in carrageenan affecting bone loss and homocysteine as nonsense (carrageenan does not contain amino acids and is a form of fibre - it passes through the gut largely undigested).

In his response today, does Robert Cohen defend his claims? Does he admit to an error?

No, he quietly drops this previously central justification for suggesting carrageenan causes problems in humans and now shouts all the louder that Joanne Tobacmans's work is definitive and the rest of the world is wrong.

He presents no evidence that has not already been discussed on Vegsource. He presents nothing to challenge the interpretation of the evidence presented in the article we ran.

Robert Cohen is once again full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Cohen should be challenged to answer a few simple questions:

  1. What is the evidence that carrageenan affects bone loss?
  2. What is the evidence that carrageenan affects homocysteine?
  3. Given that there is no such evidence, why did he try to make these suggested ill effects his basis for siding with an animal experimenter against a reputable company promoting an alternative to cow's milk?

If he refuses to answer these questions the obvious explanation is that this is a purely opportunistic attack on a company he has a personal vendetta against, and that his arguments were conjured out of nothing to provide a smokescreen for this attack.

Now Cohen recommends using soymilk like 8th Continent because it doesn't contain carregeenan. 8th Continent is the result of a joint venture between General Mills and Protein Technologies Inc., a division of DuPont. No organic, non-GMO soybeans there. However, 8th Continent does contain Vitamin D3 last time I checked, which is derived from animals, as well as a lot of sodium and sugar. Also, look out for those "artificial and natural flavors." For the health conscious, stick with Silk which uses no artificial flavors, no animal products, and none of the b.s. you'll find in a Robert Cohen article.

Cohen recommends agar agar as a substitute for carrageenan, by the way. But perhaps he needs to check with Dr. Tobacman first -- agar agar is also a seaweed. But Cohen won't do that unless and until he finds it in a White Wave product, because it has nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with Cohen's jealousy and dishonesty.

Until very recently, Cohen, the self-described "NotMilk Man," has maintained that dairy products are the primary cause of high breast cancer rates in the U.S. Now he's promoting Dr. Tobacman's view, that in actuality it's carrageenan's fault. Has Cohen gone from NotMilkMan to the NotCarrageenanMan? Hardly. He appears merely continuing his work as the NotSilkMan, trying to find any pretext to bash them.

 

 

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