Gwyneth Paltrow has become as famous for her experimental approach to health and wellbeing as she has her Oscar-winning performances and flawless red carpet style. From her vaginal steams and macrobiotic diets to cupping and colon cleansing, the actress-turned-entrepreneur regularly shares her latest finds with her faithful followers via her lifestyle website Goop - and they lap it up.
Of course, though, this particularly disciplined outlook on life has been criticised by some over the years, but now health scientist Professor Timothy Caulfield has gone one step further and written a book, titled Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?, which, he says, debunks many of the health myths perpetuated by the rich and famous.
'When it comes to health and wellness, Gwyneth Paltrow is wrong about almost everything,' Caulfield tells Marie Claire. 'I love the fact that she promotes real food and exercise, but even that sensible advice is projected through a fog of bunk.'
Professor Caulfield, who is a self-described celebrity junkie and big fan of Gwynnie, says it basically all comes down to a lack, or complete absence, of scientific fact.
'Much of her advice simply does not have the science to back it up,' he says. 'Some of it sounds scientific – such as detoxing – but there really isn’t any evidence to support the practice.
'I also feel that her advice is often harmful and distracts us from the simple, evidence-based and effective things we can do to live a healthy lifestyle. The pseudoscience noise distracts and confuses.'
1. Mugwort V-Steam (vaginal steaming). 'This is ridiculous and potentially harmful! It's so silly that I probably don’t need to mention that there is no science to support it. But, just to play it safe, there is no science to support it.'
2. Detox and cleansing. 'There is zero data to support the idea that we must cleanse and detox. They have an intuitive appeal (who want toxins hanging out in their body?), but we have organs that do this for us. When you pee, you are detoxing. Also, there is no evidence that these specific approaches actually facilitate your bodies detoxing. Once again, ridiculous.'
3. Elimination Diet. 'A healthcare professional may recommend an elimination diet in order to diagnose an allergy or a sensitivity, but unless you have some clinically identified issue, you do not need to do this. In fact, Gwyneth and others often recommend eliminating (as part of a detox) things that are good for you.'
4. Master Cleanse. 'This is nothing but a crash diet. Don’t do it!'
5. Spot reduction. 'This is the idea that you can slim a particular part of your body by exercising that part of your body. This is one of the most enduring fitness myths and it is biologically impossible. You can’t get slimmer and longer legs, as promised on Goop, by doing special exercises. Slimming requires weight loss. Longer legs require, well, long legs.'
6. Cupping. 'More bunk. You cannot draw out toxins or promote healing by cupping. The fact that it is an ancient Egyptian practice does not make it effective, unless your goal is to produce round bruises. It will do that.'Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness is out now, published by Beacon Press.