Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash:  A Dietitian’s Perspective

Reviewed by:  Rebecca Boese, RD

It was this past June at the Dietitians of Canada Conference in Quebec that I had the privilege of attending the keynote address by Timothy Caufield, and I must say I became an instant fan. With a passion for ‘debunking’ health misinformation and advocating for evidence-based practice, how could I not?

 

 

In his book, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash, Timothy takes us deep into the trenches of pop culture, and explores the following three illusions orchestrated therein:

 

The Illusion of Celebrity Authority

The Illusion that you too can be a Celebrity

The Illusion that Celebrity Status is Worth Having

You might be wondering, “What does a book about celebrity pop culture have to do with health and wellness?” For many, celebrities (whether consciously or self-consciously) are a driving force when it comes to making decisions about health. So, although this book is not solely focused on nutrition-related misinformation and the influence celebrities have on nutrition-related health decisions, much of what Timothy discusses in this book is valuable to our overall understanding of celebrity influence on lifestyle choices.

 

What I find so refreshing about Timothy’s writing is that he takes a no-nonsense approach to presenting the practice-based evidence associated with each illusion (or lack thereof) and presents it in a way that is simple, succinct, and in result quite powerful. 

 

For example, in The Illusion of Celebrity Authority, Timothy discusses the trending act of ‘detoxing’ the body, which he describes as, “…a short-term atonement for bad nutrition choices and consumption excesses”. His verdict (after rigorous research and completing the infamous Gwyneth Paltrow-endorsed ‘Clean Cleanse’ himself)? “Virtually every science-informed expert [he] contacted said the same thing. People should forget about cleanses and trendy diets and concentrate on consuming an appropriate number of calories and eating in a nutritious manner…You can ignore everything else”. 

 

As I meandered through these three illusions, I was surprised at how many times I was reflecting on my own lifestyle choices, and I gained a deeper appreciation of just how easily one can get sucked into these ‘quick fix’ diets, programs, and products that saturate today’s media.

 

My verdict? Everyone can gain something from reading this book. From the health professional to the health enthusiast! 

            

             Verdict:  Read it! 

...I gained a deeper appreciation of just how easily one can get sucked into these ‘quick fix’ diets, programs, and products that saturate today’s media.

Virtually every science-informed expert [he] contacted said the same thing. People should forget about cleanses and trendy diets and concentrate on consuming an appropriate number of calories and eating in a nutritious manner…You can ignore everything else.

  • DNSS facebook
  • DNNS TWITTER

© 2018 by The Dietitians Network of Nova Scotia.