A leading scientist has denounced dieting advice that appears on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop.
The criticism is pointed towards an article on the Goop website that advises readers to strive towards their “leanest liveable weight”.
Under the headline ‘Busting Diet Myths’, the article features an interview with Traci Mann, a professor of social and health psychology at the University of Minnesota, which describes the “leanest liveable weight” as the weight at the low end of your “set range.”
According to Mann, a person’s “set range” is “a genetically determined range of weight that your body generally keeps you in, despite your efforts to escape it”.
“If your weight is below that range, biological changes due to calorie deprivation happen, and generally push you back into your set range. However, if you stay within your set range - at the lower end of it - you should be able to maintain that weight without your body making those negative changes.”
But speaking at the New Scientist Live event in London earlier this week, Dr Giles Yeo, a University of Cambridge geneticist, described the advice as “confusing,” and open to misinterpretation.
“This is a dangerous suggestion, as many people will take it to mean they should be as thin as possible,” Dr Yeo told the audience, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“It is irresponsible because the idea is so open to misinterpretation, especially for young girls susceptible to eating disorders. The problem with many of Goop's recommendations is that they are not based on science, but pseudoscience.”
Dr Yeo also expressed concern that “fear of food” created by articles like that on Goop could encourage people into going on fad diets.
“It's a silly idea because there is no clear way to determine what your leanest liveable weight is,” he continued.
“It is therefore nigh-on impossible to find a target to stick to. People should not be afraid of food, and 'diet' should not have become such a loaded term. Goop is part of the reason that people have become afraid of eating. We need to love our food, just eat less of it.”
Yahoo UK has contacted Goop for comment, but in response to the criticism Dr Mann told the Mail that she was strongly opposed to the concept of strict dieting: “In fact, the article is specifically about not dieting, not trying to lose too much weight and not doing anything unhealthy or extreme," Mann said.
“The phrase ‘leanest liveable weight’ refers to the leanest weight you can be without doing any strict dieting or unhealthy behaviour.”
Gwyneth launched Goop in 2008, originally as a sort of weekly newsletter of recommendations. But since then the brand has continued to grow and was recently valued at $250 million (around £190 million).
But it hasn’t been without criticism. Back in 2017 Dr Jen Gunter wrote a blog post which detailed that medical professionals are growing more and more exasperated at Goop’s health “advice”.
Earlier this year Goop agreed to pay a large settlement after allegations it made unscientific claims about three of the brand’s products.
After coming under fire for health claims, Paltrow recently announced the lifestyle website will be hiring a full time fact checker.
Speaking to New York Times Magazine, Paltrow said the new staff member will begin in September, calling the new hire “a necessary growing pain” for Goop.