January 10, 2009

Celebrity Diet Secrets: A Steaming Pile Of... Goop

Last September, Gwyneth Paltrow launched a lifestyle and wellness website named Goop, which she describes as a "collection of experiences [of] what makes life good."

Well, wouldn't you know it, in her latest newsletter, "Gwyn" talks about... detox diets!

"I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring," she writes.

Turns out the the A-lister's detox specialist -- who I refuse to name in this post since I do not want to promote him with yet another Google hit -- told her the Master Cleanse wasn't healthy because it doesn't adequately meet the liver's nutritional demands.

Forget the liver, how about the fact that it simply doesn't provide much of anything in the way of nutrition and that there is absolutely no reason to believe that lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper play any role in detoxing?

I digress.

Gwyneth then proceeds to share her own "detox-doctor approved" seven-day elimination diet to "help decrease the amount of work your digestive system has to do."

If it's any consolation, she will "be suffering along with you to kickstart [her] year a bit lighter."

Before going into detail, she shares tips from her detox-doctor, including:

"If your bowel movements get sluggish, you can accelerate things by drinking half a cup of castor oil or using a mild herbal laxative. Bowel elimination is paramount for correct detoxification."

Well, yes, bowel elimination is paramount to overall good health, as it is one of the body's ways of removing waste material.

That said, the castor oil and herbal laxative suggestions are ridiculous and, in my opinion, are tacked on in an attempt to make this detox plan seem special.

Whatever happened to simply speeding up digestive transit by consuming a higher quantity of fiber-rich foods?

Anyhow, you can see Gwyneth's week-long detox plan here. Disturbingly, the average day barely adds up to 1,000 calories!

For the record, "there can be no dairy, grains with gluten, meat, shellfish, anything processed (including all soy products), fatty nuts, nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant), condiments, sugar and obviously no alcohol, caffeine or soda."

Which makes me wonder:

* What are examples of non fatty nuts?
* What about those four nightshade vegetables makes them detox "enemies"? I would just love to hear her "detox doctor" explain this one.
* If sugar is banned for this plan, then why is the Master Cleanse -- which calls for cups and cups of maple syrup (sugar!) -- considered such a pinnacle of health?
* If dairy is banned, why do some of Gwynth's recipes call for whey protein powder?
* If sugar is banned, why do some of Gwyneth's recipes call for agave nectar?
* If "anything processed" is banned, why is almond milk used in some recipes?

Above all, why do celebrities with no health credentials think they are authorities on nutrition?

Thank you to Kristin MacBride for passing along the newsletter link.


T said...

Excellent post, Andy. This information is so crucial to have out there...the fact that young women are reading the crap posted by these celebs as something to aspire to is frightening. And what the heck is wrong with gluten? Most people do not have celiac disease, and yet more than one celeb has come out banning gluten as though it is an enemy.

Another question: I oftentimes use Amy's soups and other products from this company, as a whole host of them are vegan. I see the sodium content is oftentimes high, but other than that, they seem pretty healthy and tasty! Have you tried them?

And what exactly is the definition of a "processed food"? I mean, it isn't as though I could buy unprocessed almond milk, right?

Thanks. Dennise

Andy Bellatti said...


I don't understand why gluten gets so much hate, either. Wheat protein should only be a concern for people with celiac disease, as you mention.

I have tried Amy's products and enjoy some of them. Although there are some exceptions, they all tend to be a good source of fiber and whole grains and relatively low in saturated fat.

Some varieties are high in sodium, but their lower-in-sodium product line continues to grow. I particularly enjoy their lower-in-sodium lentil soup.

Since the term "processed" can technically apply to a slice of whole grain bread, pasteurized milk, Doritos, and ready-to-eat baby carrots, it's silly to use that as criteria for any diet.

I find it much more reasonable to instead recommend "minimally processed foods." For example, baby carrots are simply peeled and cut. That is much less processing than what is required to make a Twinkie.

Deb Schiff said...

Hey Andy,
Thanks for the post. There is a bit of hypocrisy in there. In an urgent need to drop weight fast (not good by any standards), I tried to do the "master cleanse." I used agave instead of maple syrup. Didn't last 5 days, it was that awful.
Increasing and changing my exercise routine along with calorie/nutrition counting works much better.

Kristin said...

I busted out laughing when I read the castor oil suggestion. And I don't understand the recommendation to drink several tablespoons of olive oil, yet she's worried about nuts being fatty.

Kristin said...

I busted out laughing when I read the castor oil suggestion. And I don't understand the recommendation to drink several tablespoons of olive oil, yet she's worried about nuts being fatty.

concerned dietitian said...

This is great! Some celebrities make it seem okay for others to starve themselves and go on unhealthy diet fads. Everyone must remember that being healthy must come first and weight loss and looking good will just follow. If you think about it, half a cup of castor oil? She makes it sound like an everyday beverage. Surely, there are other healthier and tastier option. Remember, nothing beats healthy eating and proper exercising.