News, Culture & Society

Gwyneth Paltrow criticised for promoting quick weight loss

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has been heavily criticised for its bizarre and unfounded health and wellness advice. 

Now the brand has come under fire for publishing a Q&A article with celebrity personal trainer Tracy Anderson, entitled ‘how to lose weight fast’, in which she shares her meal plan to lose 14lbs in four weeks.

A Harley Street nutritionist has branded the story ‘extremely damaging’ because she said it has the potential to harm the mental and physical health of readers. 

Medical experts recommend a slow weight loss of around 1lb and 2lb a week – and say quick diet fads risk malnutrition, gallstones, exhaustion and can lead to eating disorders.

The exercise guru and pal of Gwyneth, who helped her lose her ‘baby weight’ after her second child, also recommends cutting out gluten and going ‘very low carb’.

But studies have suggested gluten-free products are laden with sugar and fat and have scant protein, while high-protein, low carb diets are feared to harm your heart.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has been heavily criticised for its unfounded health advice

A host of other celebrities swear by the Tracy Anderson Method, including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Lena Dunham and Kim Kardashian

A host of other celebrities swear by the Tracy Anderson Method, including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Lena Dunham and Kim Kardashian

Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert says Tracy's quick weight-loss advice is potentially harmful.

Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert says Tracy’s quick weight-loss advice is potentially harmful.

A host of other celebrities swear by the Tracy Anderson Method, including Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Lena Dunham and Kim Kardashian.

But food expert Rhiannon Lambert has hit out at Tracy advocating quick weight loss results.

‘I am in complete shock that this article has been published as this has the potential to harm a lot of relationships with food,’ she told The Independent. 

‘Firstly it is important to note that fast “weight loss” is often not body fat but the number on the scales shifting, often from water weight, which is why I always advocate a healthy balanced approach over time to losing actually body fat as weight.’

NHS Choices recommend the safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5kg and 1kg (between around 1lb and 2lb a week).

It states: ‘Lose weight faster than this and you’re at risk of health problems that include malnutrition and gallstones, as well as feeling tired and unwell.

‘Fad diets associated with very rapid weight loss, which involve simply changing your diet for a few weeks, are also unlikely to lead you to a healthy weight in the long term.’

The controversial  diet plan 

In the Goop article, Tracy said: ‘If you have weight to lose, you can effectively do a fourteen-pound weight loss in four weeks. 

‘This requires focus and physical, mental, and emotional willpower. You will experience short-term stress (particularly during your cycle if you’re a woman) – but this can end up being less stressful than living with the stress of excess weight. 



For breakfast, choose one of the following:

  • 10 ounces of chilled Yogi peach detox tea with two scoops of vanilla ResTArt protein powder
  • 2 poached eggs with a sprinkle of rosemary sea salt; side of sautéed chopped kale and cherry tomatoes in rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TA organic Ultimate CLEAR bar
  • 10 ounces chilled Yogi cinnamon vanilla tea with 2 scoops of vanilla ResTArt protein powder
  • 1 cup of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries

For lunch, options included:

  • Salad: chopped romaine, spinach, scallions, raw broccoli tops (shave the top off), cucumbers, yellow onion, sauerkraut (I like Garlic Dill Pickle from Farmhouse Culture), rice wine vinegar; plus 1 snack pack of Eden’s organic tamari almonds  
  • Grilled chicken: Have a grilled chicken breast with a side salad of chopped organic iceberg and butter lettuce, chopped scallions and cucumbers, with rice wine vinegar and lemon.
  • Bone broth mix: Put bone broth in a pot to simmer (I do two cartons of lemongrass chicken bone broth from Pacific). Chop 1 cooked chicken breast and add to the broth along with scallions, celery, carrot. Once vegetables are cooked, add chopped curly kale to only slightly soften.alt
  • Fish: Get 1 can of tuna in water and add mustard and capers. Eat on sliced cucumber.
Tracy suggests having bone broth mix for lunch which is said to be nutrient-dense (stock image)

Tracy suggests having bone broth mix for lunch which is said to be nutrient-dense (stock image)

For dinner

Any of the following fish (wild-caught), or an organic chicken breast simply grilled or steamed:

  • Tilapia
  • Rainbow trout
  • Salmon
  • Arctic char
  • Wild Chilean sea bass
  • Alaskan cod
  • Black sea bass
  • Sole

With any of the following vegetables, steamed or sautéed:

  • Broccolini
  • Cherry tomatoes and onions
  • Zucchini and onions
  • Sweet peas with rosemary and pearl onions
  • Spinach with lemon and capers
  • Collard greens (try sautéing in rice wine vinegar)


Aim for a half bar of Alter Eco’s Dark Velvet chocolate. Full bar is okay, too. But if you can do without the chocolate bar some days, that’s great.

Other suggested guidelines

  • Try to eat all/as much organic as possible
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Opt for zero-calorie, fresh-brewed tea (as opposed to be pre-made); can have flavor and/or be caffeinated, but no additives
  • You can add one Nuun tablet to water during exercise if you’re looking for a boost
  • Don’t eat eggs twice in a day
  • May have 1 to 2 glasses of wine per day.


Movement is key; you really want to get a solid sweat in for one hour, every day. If you’re in for TA [transverse abdominis], but not able to come to the studio, check out the streaming options. You could stream a master class each day, or even do the beginners version twice a day. 

But Rhiannon stresses that ‘quick fixes never last’.

She said: ‘They are just that: quick and not sustainable. In fact, they may end up affecting how you manage your weight long term.’

Experts say the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is to lose it gradually.  

Rhiannon also said one of Tracy’s recommended breakfast options contained  ‘detox tea’ and her own protein powder which she says contains cane sugar and sunflower oil when ‘there are much better options out there’. 

Rhiannon Lambert's book Re-Nourish is published on  December 

Rhiannon Lambert’s book Re-Nourish is published on December 


Gluten-free substitute foods are bad for your waistline since they contain so much sugar and fat with scant protein, experts warn.

Millions of people swap normal bread for gluten-free versions in a bid to stay trim and have put their own children on this trendy diet, following the example of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Gisele Bundchen and Alicia Silverstone.

But researchers from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition say that the vast majority of gluten-free products are loaded with fattening substances, and miss out the benefits.

The study calls for an overhaul of the lucrative market to incorporate more nutritional value.

The researchers assessed 654 gluten-free products, which were compared with 655 gluten-containing products. 

Many of the gluten-containing products – especially breads, pastas, pizzas and flours – also contained up to three times more protein than their so-called ‘healthy’ gluten-free substitutes.

Gluten-free breads had a significantly higher content of lipids and saturated fatty acids than the original versions.

Meanwhile gluten-free pasta had a significantly lower content of sugar and protein.

And in terms of snacks, gluten-free biscuits had a significantly lower content of protein and significantly higher content of lipids. 

Concerns over gluten free and low carb advice 

Tracy also recommends cutting out gluten from your diet and going ‘very low carb.’

But according to Rhiannon, the claim that doing these two things will lead to weight loss is ‘utterly scientifically incorrect’. 

The demand for gluten-free has exploded in recent years, but experts have warned about the dangers of excluding nutrients and argued such products often contain  more fat and sugar to help create the texture that is lost when gluten is excluded. 

Low carb diets have raised alarm among experts because they tend to be high in saturated fat, potentially raising cholesterol and your chance of heart disease.

Rhiannon points out that many studies have shown that people tend to lose weight on any diet that restricts a whole food group because overall calories are lower – but it’s not healthy. 

She says that it is not sensible to eliminate whole food groups because you may end up deficient in micronutrients as well as risking messing up your guy bacteria.

Tracy also claims in the piece that you can ‘jump-start’ weight loss by working out every single day. 

But Rhiannon, whose book Re-Nourish is published on 28 December, argues that working out every day can actually hinder your results as you don’t give your muscles time to recover. 

‘In some cases the stress on the body alone may delay and hinder any desired weight loss,’ she said.

Since its launch in 2008, Goop has urged we try sex dust, vaginal steaming, vaginal jade eggs, cupping, earthing (walking barefoot) and consulting shamans.

The site’s controversial claims have now earned the company the first ever ‘Rusty Razor’ award as the ‘best’ promoter of the ‘worst pseudoscience of the year’.

The accolade was issued by The Skeptic, which describes itself as the UK’s only magazine taking a scientific look at pseudoscience and the paranormal.