Op-Ed: Why Do We Care About Gwyneth Paltrow's Diet Advice?

February 13, 2012

Gwyneth Paltrow is one actress who loves to talk about leading a healthy lifestyle. While it's great that she likes to share healthy recipes and exercise tips with the world through her website, Goop.com, I'm starting to wonder why we've all been listening so intently. 

Even though I'm not the biggest fan of Paltrow, I've written about her diet several times -- her New Year's cleanse, what she ate during Thanksgiving (which was refreshingly unhealthy), and the food-related organizations that she supports. And, truthfully, I will probably continue to write about any diet-related news that comes out of the Paltrow camp. But again, this fascination begs the question: Why do we care what she has to say? 

Through Goop.com, Paltrow has become an expert of sorts in the realm of living a healthy lifestyle -- food, exercise and fashion -- however, the real experts have started speaking out on why we shouldn't be taking the actress' advice. Just last month, Paltrow attempted to sell a $425 cleanse on her website. Aside from the ridiculous price tag, no one seemed very pleased at her latest money-making attempts. 

"She is not a nutritional expert, I would not recommend it," said Catherine Collins, the chief dietician at St. George's Hospital in London. Not a surprising reaction, but perhaps it is one that people should be paying closer attention to. 

Paltrow recently admitted that her obsession with being healthy came after the death of her father in 2002.  "All I've learned about nutrition and health came from his cancer," she said. "I'll probably have a long and healthy life because he didn't."

I commend her reasoning, but it still doesn't make me want to go to her for health advice. There are many other resources for people to turn to if hoping to gain a healthier lifestyle. Do the research for yourself, talk to health professionals, don't take Paltrow's word for it. 

Besides the fact that she also offers pretentious advice that doesn't always fit with the lives of us normal folk (like her Nori Handrolls or her idea of the perfect Valentine's Day), I would much rather take health advice from a celebrity who at least pretends to be down-to-earth. 

When Lauren Conrad blogged about her 7-day diet, I was intrigued. The post was not written as though it was presented by the Great God of Health, it was written as though a young 20-something wanted to offer readers information about the type of diet that helps get her back in her skinny jeans. It was human, and offered tips and recipes that were easy to follow, without having to spend a pretty penny. 

If you are a fan of Paltrow and find that the tips presented on Goop.com have helped to better your life, then more power to you. For me, attaching a celebrity name and face to a website does not make the information presented there true, nor does it make said celebrity an expert in the field they are writing about (even though I'm sure she has a roster of health professionals on speed dial). 

These days, it seems her acting and musical endeavors take a backseat to what she ate for breakfast, which means that her attempts at becoming a lifestyle guru have worked to a certain extent, but I'm still not buying it. 

After all, Paltrow did name her daughter after a fruit (Apple). That's got to be a warning sign of sorts. 

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