Gwyneth Paltrow has long been vocal about her dedication to health and wellbeing - she founded her company Goop back in 2008 to share her go-to healthy recipes, immune-boosting supplements, and more.
That said, some of her techniques are, ahem, questionable at best - vagina candles, sex chairs and yoni eggs, we're looking at you - and sadly, it looks like 2023 is set to be no different.
Trigger warning: discusses themes of eating disorders
Chatting to Doctor Will Cole yesterday for an episode of his podcast, The Art of Being Well, the 50-year-old was asked to share how she eats and moves each day.
According to the star, her daily wellness routine consists of coffee that doesn't spike your blood sugar (usually with the addition of coconut oil or butter), bone broth "soup," and a Paleo dinner of "lots of vegetables", with a side of Pilates and a sauna session.
She also aims for an hour of movement, which to her looks like a walk or a Tracey Anderson Pilates workout, dry brushes and enjoys a 30-minute infrared sauna session.
Several social media users have shared their shock at her daily food intake. “Bone broth is not soup," one Twitter user shared, with another adding: "Is starving wellness?”.
Later on in the interview, she also discusses her use of IV drips, sharing: “I love an IV - I [was] an early IV adopter. Those make me feel so good."
As a Health Editor, when I spotted the video last night, I immediately wanted to get a qualified expert's take on the star's diet. Keep scrolling for what two of my go-to experts had to say on the viral video.
Coffee, bone broth and vegetables - why Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness routine is problematic
It's important first to note here that the viral clip of Paltrow may have been taken out of context a little - in the full clip, she discusses lunch, which is typically "soup or bone broth", then an early dinner around 6.30pm that involves fish or poultry, a gluten-free carb, such as sweet potato noodles or cassava flour grain-free tacos, and vegetables.
That said, that's still not an awful lot of food for a grown woman to be consuming each day, with an hour of exercise thrown in, too (she openly admits to skipping breakfast for coffee).
So, do our qualified experts think the comments could promote disordered eating or undereating and if so, how? "I certainly think vulnerable groups of people - such as those prone to developing eating disorders or those who struggle with body image issues - could be negatively influenced by Paltrow's comments," shares Lauren Windas, a registered and licensed nutritionist.
How so? "References to fasting in the morning followed by a low-calorie bone broth for lunch might be triggering," she points out. Not to mention, it's around 1,000 calories off the recommended daily target for women in the UK.
Kerrie Jones, psychotherapist and CEO and founder of Orri, agrees, adding: "Comments such as Paltrow's endorse a pervasive diet culture that influences many to engage in and suffer from a disordered relationship to food, their bodies, and exercise."
Think about it - if you see your favourite celebrity looking healthy and well actively encouraging eating less, you might, even subconsciously, feel like you should be eating less.
We're social creatures, after all, and are constantly seeking acceptance in one way or another. "Diet culture focuses the lens on "bodies" as a means of achieving these things - but it's a misguided and damaging approach," continues Jones.
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Let's be clear, though - the NHS states that an average woman should consume 2,000 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight and it looks as though Paltrow is consuming a considerable amount less than this in the video. "She appears to be eating far less than you would if you were looking to lose weight at a healthy rate - no fewer than 1500 calories a day," adds Windas.
The cap for weight loss sits at 1500 as if you eat less than that, you run the risk of a plethora of health issues and likely won't have enough energy to live. "It can be detrimental for hormonal and metabolic health, especially because Paltrow discusses the exercise she does each day on top of this," the nutritionist expands.
She shares the analogy of your metabolism being like a fire - "you need to put logs on it to fuel it and keep it working correctly - in other words, your body needs sufficient feeding in order to maintain energy and physiological balance."
Are "What I Eat In A Day" videos problematic?
Short answer - yes, and there's a reason why as a Health Editor I would never film one.
Bottom line: every body is different and will need a different amount of food to survive. Some bodies will thrive better off high-carb meals, while others, like women with PCOS, might opt for a higher-fat diet to manage glucose spikes.
When celebrities or influencers detail what they eat in a day, they subconsciously set a precedent: that if you eat that way, you'll look like them. Sadly, this simply isn't the case. Even if you eat exactly the same amount as your best friend, you're genetically different, which means your bodies will likely look very different.
"So often, people naively think that diets that work for one person will work for them, too, which isn't the case and fails to take into account the concept of bio-individuality - this is the fact that we are all unique human beings with different genetics, metabolic and hormonal profiles, as well as environmental circumstances," stresses Windas. "For example, some people may suffer from blood sugar issues or high stress which might rule out the ability to adopt fasting into their routine."
Constantly being barraged with videos about what other people eat, in my opinion, isn't helpful - rather, for those who do have a disordered relationship with food or who worry about what they eat, it can prove a pretty toxic comparison point, especially as more often than not the influencer or celebrity has no nutrition qualifications, meaning they're not in a position to advise on what to you should be eating.
Jones goes on to point out that the rise of influencer culture only means there's a higher risk of "glamourising" eating disorders. "So much content positions unqualified content creators as an authority, idealising what they eat in a day," she explains. "The videos are often viewed and internalised as, “this is what you should be eating” - despite the food they promote being unhealthy or even restrictive."
Windas makes an interesting point about celebrities and influencers sharing what they eat in a day - that what everyone eats, even big stars, varies from day to day, week to week, so they'll never be a true representation of what they actually consume. (Case in point - Paltrow shared one of her go-to breakfasts, a veg-packed frittata, just a few months ago).
"These types of videos openly invite criticism since people take it as what they eat every single day – however, what people eat so often changes from day to day," she points out. "While Gwyneth may indeed be telling the truth about her daily diet at the moment, the chances are that this will change frequently - whether it's a glass of wine and a slice of cake at a birthday party or enjoying new cuisines while travelling."
These videos only offer one small snapshot of what they consume on that particular day. "I always advise using a healthy dose of common sense when viewing this type of content, as what we eat changes all the time."
If you're struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, this can exacerbate symptoms, she goes on, not to mention prays on vulnerable individuals.
Remember - there is no one-size fits all approach when it comes to health and weight management. "We are all unique and cope with foods in a variety of different ways," emphasises Windas.
What do you think - is Paltrow setting an unhealthy precedent or has the video been blown out of proportion?
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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