It’s not enough that diet culture is already a multi-billion-dollar industry that profits off of female insecurity, but now it’s also co-opting important movements for people recovering from eating disorders and body image issues. Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest book Intuitive Fasting, which happened to be launched during Eating Disorder Awareness Week, is a book that could trigger eating disorders in many.
Dr. Colleen Reichmann, Eating Disorder Psychologist, wrote, “stop co-opting the language of the anti-diet/intuitive eating movement to sell your restrictive, disordered advice.” Other qualified professionals also chimed in on Paltrow’s recent Instagram post stating that any program that sets rigid rules around the times you are allowed to eat is not intuitive. This book deceives its readers into think that they are learning about intuitive eating, which is a guilt-free strategy for making peace with food coined by Dr. Evelyn Tribole, but rather it promotes a restrictive diet. Many studies have proven that restriction can lead to food obsession, overeating, and eating disorders.
The book encourages readers to be “ketotarian,” which is a diet for people with epilepsy popularized by the diet industry. Paltrow’s co-author, Dr. Will Cole, does not have intuitive eating certification or the proper medical training required to address these types of issues. He has a Doctor of Chiropractic, which in other words is not a medical degree. Under the guise of body peace, he is promoting a diet, which is problematic for anyone recovering or seeking help from disordered eating.
In the past, Paltrow received criticism over her It’s All Good cookbook because it included recipes for the elimination diet she was put on, one that could only be afforded by the very wealthy. Her latest book is just as restrictive because it promotes a sugar and alcohol-free diet and promotes starvation. It is incredibly irresponsible of her to co-opt language used to help free people from diet culture, especially amidst a pandemic when people struggling with eating issues and are even more susceptible to these kinds of pressures. Paltrow has even stated that Intuitive Fasting was integral to her overcoming the long-term effects of COVID-19. Does this mean that people who are suffering with COVID-19 will turn to her book for help? It’s very likely! This is just as dangerous as promoting it to those suffering from eating disorders. It’s important to note that none of her methods have been endorsed by any of the key medical representatives who make these kinds of recommendations.
It seems that Paltrow is using her fame and platform to profit off of body dissatisfaction and the pandemic. Using non-diet language to elevate the Intuitive Fasting method is a huge risk that can have serious consequences to people’s health and well-being. Fasting by definition is restricting, so the name in itself is a complete oxymoron. Pretending that this book will help people is either incredibly naïve, or it’s deliberately shameful. Especially considering that every 52 minutes, someone dies of an eating disorder and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Do yourself a favor and steer clear!