Is Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP’s nutritional advice as bad as their medical advice?
To answer this question I decided to try the GOOP 3-day anti-bloat
diet reset. I really did start with the best of intentions and wanted to give Paltrow and her GOOPsters the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, just maybe they had their food science right? I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand for the turkey curry so I plunged right in and made it for dinner. I invited my boyfriend over so I could get his take too.
I started worrying the minute I realized this recipe was only for 2 or 3 servings. It calls for 1 can of coconut milk and 2 tbsp. of coconut oil, which is a lot of fat and calories. If I divided it into 3 servings that would be less than 3 ounces of protein and not enough for me so this was going to have to be 2 servings at 52 g of fat and 630 calories per serving. This did not bode well.
It wasn’t anything special. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t hard to make and only took 30 minutes so I always give points for ease. My boyfriend gave it a B for taste and that seemed to be that until the next morning when I woke up with a massive stomach ache. I had the worst bloating and the worst gas, but that is of course what a massive bolus of fat does to you because fat slows gastrointestinal motility and a sluggish bowel is a recipe for bloating and gas.
I felt too ill for breakfast so between burps I made the Vietnamese chicken salad for lunch. It was far too salty and an hour later, so mid afternoon, I had a raging headache. My stomach ache also returned. I was also hungry. Too much salt can do all of that too you and I had just had more than the daily recommended amount of salt in one sitting. I normally eat a healthy, balanced diet that is on the low-end sodium wise as I don’t eat processed foods. When I cook with high sodium foods, say fish sauce, it’s 2 tbsp for 4 or 5 servings not one!
I couldn’t stomach another GOOP meal so I waited a day for my stomach to reset from the reset and made the smoothie. I have written on that experience here. It tastes gross, is expensive, and contains rice bran which is so high in arsenic it can’t be sold in China, but other that is was okay. I couldn’t bring myself to make the popcorn given it is drenched in oil. Five tbsp. of olive oil is 600 calories and 70 g of fat and most people (well me anyway) would probably eat the whole thing as 3 cups of popcorn is not a big serving. Nothing says mid afternoon energizer more than 70 g of fat! I wasn’t going to make basil guacamole or use a mandolin to make “tacos” from raw squash. I have principles.
So then I looked at the recipes in a little more detail. I wasn’t surprised to see that many of the foods are considered bloatogenic as they are high in FODMAPs.
FODMAPs are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. They are osmotic so they pull water into your intestinal tract. They may also be difficult to digest or absorb and can become fermented by bacteria in your intestinal tract. This can cause gas or bloating and pain. Lots of the ingredients in the 3 days anti-bloat diet, for example onion powder, garlic powder, garlic, watermelon, avocado, larger amounts of coconut water and milk (meaning the mounts in the smoothie and the curry), are all high in FODMAPs. This GOOP anti-bloat diet appears to be perfectly designed to cause bloating.
But I am only a gynecologist so I decided to ask two registered dieticians about the diet, meaning I consulted with two more registered dieticians than GOOP.
Mark McGill agreed with my take. He wrote via e-mail that for bloating he would start someone on a low FODMAP diet with about 10 g in fiber and then work up gradually on the fiber. In other words, not this diet. The high fat/high fiber experience of the popcorn after the “2 cups of spinach in the morning and the avocado and more spinach and more avocado and seeds from the squash” would not be a recipe for a happy gastrointestinal tract. He summarized the diet as “very high fat and very high fiber. It is the exact opposite of what they purport it is for! It will make you Goop in your pants if you don’t make it to the toilet on time especially if you are not accustomed to eating large amounts of fiber or fat.”
I am so glad I did not make the popcorn. So, so glad.
Marianne Bloudoff, also a registered dietician, said “some of the recipes using fish sauce are very high in sodium – they would provide over 2800 mg of sodium per serving, which is greater than the recommended upper limit of 2300 mg, in just in one meal. Also, eating food high in sodium will cause you retain water, which can actually cause bloating.” Like McGill she commented on the high amount of oil in the popcorn and added most people will eat all 3 cups as their snack. She knows me too well and she has never met me.
Bloudoff also added that many of the ingredients in the daily smoothie are expensive and that while “the target audience isn’t necessarily low-income individuals, but even for people who have adequate income, spending extra dollars on things like bee pollen, Sun Potion Tocos, and coconut water isn’t going to make their diet any healthier than if they spent it on basic fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, etc. “
She also pointed out that GOOP claims rice bran solubles are high in vitamin D, which is false.
Also, how do bees make pollen? So many questions.
If you wanted to design a diet that causes bloating this would be a great place to start. So yes, GOOP’s nutritional science seems as bad as everything else. As they bring in more and more supplements with dubious health claims they obviously need accompanying recipes showcasing these “superfoods” that are only really super because they are high in the RDA for precious and expensive. And hey, if you don’t make the recipes maybe you will just buy the $170 plate conveniently featured next to it so you can have essence of Paltrow on your dinner table. At least you won’t have the bloating if you just buy the plate, so I guess there is that.
As the food scientists at Monash University say, “There are no superfoods, just super diets.” And folks, this 3-day anti bloat “rest” is anything but super and will definitely rest you in a way you have neither anticipated or desire.
If this is how Gwyneth Paltrow eats no wonder she is so “effing tired.” It’s not your adrenals kiddo it’s your food! I felt terrible and exhausted and I could only bring myself to eat three of the meals over three days.
And thank goodness I didn’t eat that popcorn.