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Why Experts Label Her Diet as ‘Disordered Eating’

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The actor and Goop founder received swift backlash online after sharing details about his diet that experts say is excessively restrictive and unhealthy. RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images
  • Gwyneth Paltrow received backlash online after revealing surprising details about her diet.
  • In a recent podcast, she said her eating regime consists of mostly liquids and has been criticized for being too restrictive.
  • Health experts say this kind of eating regime does not provide adequate nutrition or support optimal health.
  • A healthy diet is a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins.

Gwyneth Paltrow is facing widespread criticism after sharing details about her restrictive diet.

In an interview with “The Art of Being Well” podcast, the actress said she has a coffee before fasting until midday. She then exercises for an hour, typically having bone broth for lunch, and eats an early paleo dinner.

The Goop founder also said he sometimes has “celery juice with lemon [or] lemon water” and claims her body is “not a natural detoxer.”

Online, people have criticized the diet for being excessively restrictive and promoting “disordered eating.”

Since the interview aired, Paltrow has clarified that this isn’t how she eats every day. On her Instagram Stories, the actress explained that she eats “far more than bone broth and vegetables” and that she wasn’t sharing “advice for anyone else.”

Revealing that she was experiencing post-Covid symptoms, she explained, “The way it manifests for me is very high levels of inflammation over time, so I’ve been working with Dr. Cole to really focus on foods that aren’t inflammatory.”

She continued: “I eat full meals, and I also have a lot of days of eating whatever I want. And eating, you know, french fries and whatever.”

Still, health experts say Paltrow’s original comments set a dangerous precedent and could encourage people to emulate her lifestyle.

Here’s why they say following such a restrictive diet is unhealthy and what they’d recommend instead.

“Paltrow’s diet — as she has described it — is highly restrictive and lacking in calories and nutrients, and what is particularly concerning, is that this disordered way of eating is being presented as healthy,” says Aliza Marogy, a registered nutritionist and founder of clinical supplement brand Inessa.

She notes that the diet consists mostly of liquids and vegetables and fails to provide a whole spectrum of nutrients that are essential for optimal daily function and future health.

“It lacks fiber for gut and heart health, protein for maintaining muscles and bones and making enzymes and hormones, as well as a source of minerals that are essential for immunity and brain health,” she points out.

This style of eating starves the body and the brain of nutrients and is likely to leave you feeling cranky and sluggish.

According to nutritionist Karen Reyes, not only is the amount of food in this diet not enough for proper nutrition; Paltrow’s comments perpetuate unhelpful myths about detoxing as well.

“Our bodies have a natural detoxing system,” she points out. “Our kidneys and liver have been created to do all the clearing we need without fad diets or restrictive eating habits.”

Are there any aspects of Paltrow’s diet that Reyes believes are particularly troublesome?

“Paltrow highlights low-calorie eating, fasting, restriction, and detoxing, which are all signs of disordered eating,” Reyes surmises. “Not only can this cause a lack of essential vitamins and minerals, restriction and detoxing for an extended period can deprive your body of essential vitamins like vitamin D.”

Down the line, that can lead to health conditions such as osteoporosis, hypertension, and cognitive impairment. “Research also indicates that missing essential nutrients may increase your risk of developing cancer,” Reyes adds.

With good looks and large followings, celebrities wield a particularly powerful kind of influence, and their health claims can often be taken as accurate and reliable.

Marogy says that what’s really concerning is that some of Paltrow’s followers who may be vulnerable to influence, could be encouraged to follow a similar restrictive pattern or use revelations about her diet to validate an existing eating disorder.

Both of the Healthline experts spoke with agree that Paltrow’s diet is an unhealthy one and not one you should consider following.

So, what does a healthy diet actually look like?

“There’s no one-size-fits-all diet that is the ideal for everyone,” Marogy points out. “Optimal portion sizes and calorie intake really varies from one person to another based on their individual health, body composition and lifestyle.”

That said, she notes that there’s a strong evidence base to support the Mediterranean diet.

“It minimizes processed foods and is based around healthy fats, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and seafood, with moderate amounts of dairy and lean meat,” Marogy explains.

“It’s not a diet of deprivation, which makes it sustainable,” she adds.

For Reyes, a healthy diet is based on balance, not restriction. For the most part, she says it should be made up of generous amounts of fruits, veg, and whole grains, along with protein-rich foods such as:

  • eggs
  • fish
  • lean meat
  • dairy, or dairy alternatives

Rather than viewing high-calorie foods, such as pastries for example, as ‘off-limits’ Reyes says they can be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

So, if you’re trying to make healthy changes to your diet, where should you start?

Both experts agree that introducing small changes is key. “Try swapping out refined carbs like white pasta or plain rice for high-fiber choices such as whole wheat, brown rice, and potatoes with the skin on,” Reyes advises.

“Make an effort to eat more fish and limit red meat consumption to once per week and incorporate more plant-based foods such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, and veggies.”

Marogy’s advice is to minimize processed meals and takeaways and instead fill your plate with plenty of vegetables and healthy protein sources such as:

  • oily fish
  • tofu
  • beans
  • chickpeas and other legumes

Ultimately, a healthy diet is one that makes you feel good both physically and mentally.

If you’re concerned your eating habits are verging on disordered, Reyes says to look out for warning signs like mood changes such as increased anxiety or depression, preoccupation with food types, excessive exercising habits, and avoiding social activities when food may be involved.

Food is there to nourish you, energize you, and help you perform at your best.

Bottom line, Reyes says trying to attain someone else’s physique through unhealthy methods isn’t advisable and your body deserves better.