Canadian dietitian calls out Gwyneth Paltrow over 'dangerous' and 'shocking' viral diet
Toronto-based nutritionist Abbey Sharp shared that following a similar diet can lead to many health issues.
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A Canadian dietitian is calling out Gwyneth Paltrow's "dangerous" eating habits after a video of the actress describing her typical daily meal went viral.
The "Iron Man" star, 50, opened up last week about what she usually eats on the "The Art of Being Well" podcast, noting that most of her daily meals consist of a morning coffee, a bone broth soup for lunch and a paleo-style meal of vegetables for dinner.
"It's really important for me to support my detox," the actress mentioned, leaving some social media users to compare her diet to a colonoscopy prep.
The video left Toronto-based nutritionist Abbey Sharp livid with Paltrow, whom she described as the "reigning queen of problematic wellness misinformation and disinformation" on Instagram.
"That's just not enough food," Sharp told Yahoo Canada in an interview. "That is actually a dangerous recommendation, especially for women. She's describing a very aggressive intermittent fasting regimen, which we know can have potential detrimental effects on women's hormones when it's done in such an extreme manner, especially when you're operating in such an extreme calorie deficit.
"It was really shocking to people that she was essentially glamourizing eating as little as humanely possible."
In another clip, podcast host Will Cole pointed out that Paltrow was wearing an IV during her interview, which left Paltrow embarrassed but gave her an opportunity to explain their purpose.
"I love an IV. I'm an early IV adopter," she noted during the podcast chat. "Glutathione, I love to have in an IV. Kind of a random, more fringy one, phosphatidylcholine, that's my favourite IV when I can find them. They're quite hard to find. And those make me feel so good. But today, just because I was flying, I have just a bag of good old fashion vitamins."
Sharp added that on top of the problematic diet, Paltrow's use of IVs makes her wellness suggestions even more dangerous, "as if to say, 'You don't need food. ... you can just have nutrients shunted into your bloodstream.'"
If someone were to strictly follow a similar diet, Sharp warned that "this would be very dangerous for a lot of people." In particular, it'd more so impact women since the female reproductive system is sensitive to extreme weight loss and caloric deprivation.
By not consuming enough calories, Sharp said it can impact a person's ability to maintain its natural patterns when it comes to reproductive hormones. That would cause issues like losing menstruation and, eventually, irreversible bone loss.
But Sharp noted that the issue with Paltrow's video don't stop with just her actual diet.
To me, what that kind of video was getting at that I think is more problematic than the fact that there was very few calories and promoting, essentially, a starvation diet, is that she's still trying to one-up everybody else in the wellness culture space."
Sharp said that Paltrow is notorious for her "obsession" over highly-priced superfoods and supplements. But since those products have become more accessible to smaller influencers and shoppers, she said the Goop founder has had to pivot to "consuming as little food as possible" and relying on an IV for nutrients.
"There's a real elitist element to wellness culture," Sharp mentioned, adding that getting nutrients via IV likely costs hundreds of dollars each time.
Last week, Paltrow addressed some of the backlash about her diet through an Instagram Q&A. On her Instagram Story, she told her followers she has long COVID and her doctor is helping her treat the condition with "anti-inflammatory" foods. She clarified that she actually does eat "far more than bone broth and vegetables" but her video was not meant to be advice for other people.
But Sharp, who said this diet looks "a lot like a lot of pretty extreme eating disorder behaviours," noted most doctors wouldn't recommend this kind of diet to handle something like long COVID. Moreover, dietitians she knows would never give patients this diet.
"Especially to recover from any kind of illness," Sharp said. "Of course, we can eat an anti-inflammatory diet, but when we put ourselves in a state of extreme caloric deprivation, it can actually cause more inflammation in the body.
"When we see someone who is ill, whether it's cancer or another kind of inflammatory condition, we have to make sure that they are getting enough energy and nutrients to actually support recovery. ... This would be the complete opposite diet of what I would recommend."
In terms of detoxing, Sharp explained that our bodies naturally detox every day and that fad detoxes "don't actually do anything beneficial." But if someone wants to "detox," they should drink water, eat fibre and exercise.
Overall, she added that it's important that people avoid following advice they see on social media in favour of personal care.
"If it's accessible, please do seek the one-on-one support of a guided physician and a health care team to really work you through this because nutrition is highly individualized," she shared.
"What we see on social media is not real life. We actually have no clue what these influencers are actually doing or have done or how they actually feel. ... Different strokes for different folks; What's going to work for you is not going to work for somebody else."
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