Before Gwyneth Paltrow was making headlines by testifying in court, as Sky News reported, she was raising eyebrows with her testimonials of offbeat “wellness” products and practices on her much buzzed about website Goop. The Academy Award-winning actress has famously endorsed bee sting therapy, per The Cut; jade eggs, according to the Goop website; and vaginal steaming, per Us Magazine, despite having no expertise in medicine or alternative therapies.
“Gwyneth Paltrow has become a guru of wellness with Goop, but not every one of her practices has merit or is based on sound science,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, a plant-forward culinary nutritionist in New York City and the author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook.
Many of Paltrow’s wellness rituals center around food, which is perhaps not too surprising given that she’s authored several cookbooks, such as The Clean Plate. Unlike other celebrity chefs, however, Paltrow admitted to taking vitamins intravenously while discussing some of her daily dietary habits on The Art of Being Well podcast, hosted by functional medicine expert and bestselling author Will Cole.
Granted, swapping your multivitamin for an IV sounds like a Goop-worthy stunt, but Paltrow also mentioned loading up on lots of vegetables and fish — which honestly, is not bad advice. Here, Newgent and fellow nutritionist Tara Collingwood, RDN, who is based in Orlando, Florida, give their opinions of Paltrow’s diet and rank just how safe and effective each of her habits really is.
Actually Acceptable Advice
She Sticks to an ‘Anti-Inflammatory’ Diet
“So, I’ve been working with Dr. Cole to really focus on foods that aren’t inflammatory. … so lots of vegetables, cooked vegetables, all kinds of protein, healthy carbs to really lower inflammation, and it’s been working really well,” Paltrow said on the podcast. “This is, you know, based on my medical results and extensive testing that I’ve done over time.” In the 2022 Goop article she added that cutting down on alcohol was another way she was “lowering inflammation.”
Lowering inflammation is a good thing, agrees Newgent. Research has linked chronic cellular inflammation to an array of diseases, from obesity to autoimmune disorders. “But it’s important for people to know that extensive testing is not required for like 99 percent of the population,” she says. Instead, an anti-inflammatory diet focuses on a wholesome array of green leafy vegetables, berries, cherries, and citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, avocados, green tea, turmeric, ginger, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, and whole grains, including sorghum and oats.
Collingwood also agrees that loading up on veggies in addition to cutting sugar and alcohol, which “is definitely a toxin,” will also help reduce inflammation.
She Eats Paleo
Paltrow also has some cave girl tendencies. “For dinner, I try to eat, you know, according to paleo, so lots of vegetables,” she said on the podcast. It’s really important for me to support my detox.” In a 2022 Goop article, she elaborated on her eating style. "I maintain a very clean diet,” she said. “What's turned out to be best for me is [the] paleo [diet], so I'm grain-free, sugar-free, eating lots of vegetables and clean protein. Lots of fish, lots of olive oil.”
Diet-wise Paltrow “absolutely” does some things right, “like eating plenty of vegetables, steering clear of added sugars, and enjoying liberal use of olive oil,” says Newgent. “However, we no longer live in the paleolithic era and our bodies have adapted accordingly,” she says.
She encourages eating whole grains “as they can provide significant health benefits from their gut-friendly prebiotic fiber and potential anti-inflammatory properties.”
Proceed With Caution
She’s a Fan of Fasting
During the podcast, Paltrow revealed to Cole that she does a “nice intermittent fast,” avoiding food in the morning. “I usually eat something about 12, and in the morning I’ll have some things that won’t spike my blood sugar, so I have coffee,” she explained.
Emerging research on intermitted fasting does show that it may have benefits for all research remission of type 2 diabetes, reducing inflammation, and warding off neurological disease, but a study published in January 2023 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that fasting was less effective for weight loss than simply cutting calories.
Additionally, Collingwood says, fasting in the way Paltrow claims to means missing out on all the benefits of breakfast. “I think not having breakfast limits opportunities for fiber, protein, and other nutrients,” she says. Regular breakfast skippers have been found to consume fewer nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and iron, according to a study that was published in April 2021 in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. While coffee will provide a temporary boost in mental energy, Collingwood says, the temporary jolt will “not provide real energy in terms of calories and any nutrients to help with focus and concentration at work.”
Newgent points out that fasting can promote disordered eating habits in some people. If you are interested in giving intermittent fasting a try, she says it’s best to consult a registered dietitian or other health professional about how to best incorporate it into your diet, perhaps with a modified version, such as only eating between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
She Consumes a Liquid Lunch
One of the most controversial declarations made by Paltrow on the podcast involved the meal she breaks her fast with, a liquid lunch. “I really like soup,” she said. “I have bone broth for lunch.”
While bone broth boasts many health benefits, the liquid alone will not provide much nutritional value, “especially after fasting all morning,” notes Collingwood. Things like beans, noodles, and lots of veggies give soup some staying power.
Bone broth has been hyped for containing collagen, a protein found in animal bones, but it’s still undetermined whether eating collagen can increase collagen in the body. And if you eat bone broth every day, you may want to beware of heavy metals, which can also be present in animal bones. One small study found that organic chicken broth had several times the amount of lead as the water used to make it.
Bottom line, says Newgent, “Bone broth alone does not equal lunch. In fact, you’re shortchanging your health if you miss out on the opportunity to include nutrient-rich plant foods by just slurping down straight bone broth regularly as your lunch.”
Don’t Try This at Home
She Gets Her Vitamins Intravenously
During Paltrow’s podcast with Cole, she was hooked up to an IV. “Which is so on-brand for both of us,” he said. Paltrow has said that her favorite nutrient to take via IV is phosphatidylcholine, a compound that is naturally found in all cells and aids in regulating energy metabolism, according to research. Some fans believe this can help decrease fatigue and increase energy levels, although there is no evidence that is the case. During the podcast, however, she revealed that her IV was filled with “good old-fashioned vitamins.”
“The ideal way to get ‘good old-fashioned vitamins’ is by eating real food, period!” says Newgent. Why? Collingwood explains that with food sources “you can get the synergy of the various vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.” Not to mention, you can avoid sticking a needle in your arm!
She Does 5-Day Detoxes
Gywneth regularly encourages her Goop readers to detox. During the podcast interview she declared that her body “is not a natural detoxer.” “January is a good time to help our bodies catch up with detoxification — to give our detox organs a chance to rest and recover,” an intro to her 5-day detox on the Goop site reads. “It’s a good time to think about removing environmental toxins where you can and to figure out whether particular foods cause problems for you.”
Fact: The majority of nutritionists and health experts don’t believe in detoxes. “Our body has a natural detoxification process in our liver, kidneys, and digestive system,” says Collingwood. “There is no need to ‘detox’ and give our organs a chance to rest. They are made to work all the time to keep our bodies healthy.”
“Ultimately, ‘detox’ is just a rather successful marketing gimmick that can make certain foods seem ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — or make you feel ‘guilty’ if you’re not doing it. But your body does its own detoxifying, naturally, thanks to your liver,” Newgent adds.
The No. 1 rule if you really want to “detox” your body? “Simply drink more water,” she says.
She Uses Colonics
One practice that Goop endorses? Colonics. “For the uninitiated, a colonic is essentially a way to hydrate and irrigate your colon — a section of your intestines that’s approximately five feet long — by filling it with warm water and then flushing it out repeatedly,” the Goop website says.
“Colonics are not proven to have any benefit and can be dangerous,” says Collingwood, who instead recommends eating fiber and drinking water to help keep the digestive system working.
The only time you should consider getting a colonic? If you’re having a colonoscopy done, adds Newgent, who warns that potentially significant harmful effects include dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and rectal tears. “Take the advice of your gastroenterologist on this one,” she advises.
She’s Done a Goat’s Milk Cleanse
During an interview with Women’s Health, Gwyneth revealed that she did the goat's milk cleanse featured on Goop for eight days, claiming that it helped fight parasites.
Both Collingwood and Newgent note that there is absolutely no research proving a benefit to goat milk cleansing. “Simply say no to this one!” says Newgent. Raw, unpasturized milk from any mammal can contain disease-causing pathogens.