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Reality Check: Gwyneth Paltrow's Detox Diet

Reality Check: Gwyneth Paltrow's Detox Diet

There are many ways to usher in the New Year. After a couple weeks of nonstop holiday celebration replete with rich foods and plenty of drink, many folks decide that the best way to begin anew is with a detox cleanse. I firmly believe there really is no need to detox, but if you insist on doing a cleanse, you can detox without starving yourself. This issue is a place where Gwyneth Paltrow and I have agreed to disagree.

Although her daily diet is incredibly healthy, Gwyneth believes in the New Year detox. After collapsing last January at the end of a five-day live-food fast, she is at it again following a week long cleansing regimen. This time, though, she is following the advice of detox specialist Dr. Alejandro Junger. Gwyneth is also sharing the details, recipes and all, on her website

The lovely, leggy blonde and mother of two writes:

It is that time of year, folks. I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess. Anyone else? I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterize as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however. As I do not wish to subsist on lemon water in the middle of winter, I asked my doctor, a detox diet specialist, for the guidelines he uses to achieve a good detox that is not as hallucinogenic (in a bad way) as the Master Cleanse. He actually thinks that the Master Cleanse can be dangerous because the liver is not supported by the nutrients it needs.

To see what she is eating and why, just


While her explanation sounds sensible, just reading over the menu left me feeling hungry and deprived. The majority of the meals are liquids — smoothies, soups, or juice with hardly any grains (read: carbs to fuel your brain) in the meals. The simplest way to explain is to list the foods she will be avoiding for seven days:

  • No dairy
  • No grains with gluten
  • No meat or shellfish
  • No processed food including all soy products
  • No fatty nuts
  • No produce from the nightshade family — potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant
  • No condiments
  • No sugar
  • No alcohol, caffeine or soda

While jumping back into my healthy habits might be a bit jarring this first full week of the year, I am simply going to return to my old health habits of eating well balanced meals and exercising regularly to cleanse myself of my holiday debauchery.

Gwyneth concludes the detox edition of her newsletter like this: "I will be suffering along with you to kickstart my year a bit lighter." I, for one, do not wish to "suffer" with Gwyneth. I want to enjoy every minute of 2009 and eating just soup is not my idea of health or fun.


britnee britnee 8 years
Our body does detox itself but the reason many people choose to detox is because we still carry around quite a bit of waste in our bodies. Im about to do the lemonade cleanse which is supposed to be like the master cleanse but your allowed to eat only fruits and vegetables I'm very intent on doing it because I really want to change me eating habits drastically. I think instead of throwing out detox tips she should be making sure people understand that starving yourself is unhealthy and this shouldn't be used for weight loss.
Chicagomarie Chicagomarie 8 years
Psycho-bitch alert! I've said it before. This women AT LEAST has disordered eating habits and warped body image. Stop putting her insanity on here, it's bad enough people read her blog.
AnnaLove AnnaLove 8 years
Not everyone is sooo politically correct about the "proper" methods of losing weight. Detoxing for a week is not murder to your body. Gwyneth Paltrow's diet is offensive but killing unborn children is not.......
picanteapple picanteapple 8 years
For a week now my husband , son and daughter in law almost finished G.P.'s detox diet..some quit early....but hubby still wants to eat like this for awhile. I did not participate because I have done 2 detox's in a 6 month period finishing before Thanksgiving. On my detox all I got was supplements and no nutrition which included a "drink" that included colloidal bentonite mixed with ground psyllium husk fiber. It is all V.E. Irons products that have been around for years. Along with that detox that lasts 7 days, you get a colonic daily-no exceptions. so no it is not pretty. However I will say, that I did have plenty of energy all seven days. The supplements are amazing and I am on them now. They truly do sustain you while doing the fast. I don't reccommend it to squeamish folks but the 2nd fast was better than the first and easier for me. My daughter in law worked out during her GP fast and did not feel well by the day 4 or so.They seemed deprived and said they felt grouchy. All diets require deprivation and so I agree with some of you that what you do habitually is most important. Yes I dropped weight before my daughter's wedding, but since I went right back to my old habits nothing has changed. When you get older it is harder and your body needs to be treated differently but that is not so easy to do. It is a commitment. Fasts can be useful for your digestive system but I think taking serious supplements are important while doing them. If you have any health issues then a fast is not a good idea unless supervised by a professional. But if you are in good health it can be a useful way to re-evaluate your self and habits. We, ( now me included) will be continuing with a modified version of G.P.'s diet this week. We'll see how it goes.
hexstatic hexstatic 8 years
I've check her real post, i've only read on fit, i'm on the same decision than before, this is not enough food at all. But some of the recipes seems nice but where are the herbs and spices and add a sandwich with your soup Gwyneth.
hug98 hug98 8 years
I usually like/agree with your column, but I think you are being a bit unfair about her detox plan. I also suscribe to the column and I am trying out a version of the plan myself. I have found it to be great. You are supposed to eat a menu of lots of fruit and vegi's and some chicken, salmon, and whole grains. You are supposed to cut things such as processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alchohol, gluten. What is wrong with that! You don't have to follow her menu exactly (I have added a bit more chicken, grain, and nuts), but I find it very enlightening to see exactly how much processed foods and sugar I actually eat on a daily basis. It has forced me to cook more of my own food, drink a lot more water and tea, and think about what I put in my body.
bibliophile bibliophile 8 years
I'm hungry just looking at this detox plan. The fact that Gwyneth's doing this to herself in an effort to lose weight makes me sick. The woman has such a warped view of herself. You would think her collapse and subsequent hospitalization last year would mean something. Apparently not.
duffy duffy 8 years
Ok, so I'm doing a detox/cleanse now. It's available on the website, and it's 35-days long. It is NOTHING like Gwynneth's cleanse. I completely agree with Bella and Fit that she should not be doing this in order to lose weight. And it's offensive that she says that. But every woman is going to complain about her weight. She should really think about being a role model to her daughter when she writes this stuff. Cleanses and detoxes can be beneficial. After three days, I feel better about kicking my caffeine addiction. I'm learning to get away from my sugar cravings in the afternoon. And I'm not drinking any alcohol. I can feel my body responding to these changes, and I actually appreciate the fact that there is a response. I destroy my body on a regular basis - both in what I'm hoovering into my face at 3pm, and the daily 5 miles I put in on the treadmill. So giving myself a chance to reload, to think about my diet and lifestyle, and to make necessary changes, is actually a really great thing. Regardless of what the body does on its own, this is about me changing me. And to be honest, it feels pretty good.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Do you have a functioning liver? Good. Then you are detoxing yoursself!! OH THE WONDER OF THE HUMAN BODY!! She's dangerous.
azuresugar azuresugar 8 years
This diet takes raw eating to the extreme if that's even possible. Like others have said, if she ate healthy and worked out she wouldn't have any issues. Cutting out nuts pretty much removes fat from her diet since she doesn't consume anything else with fat really. It's a shame that she's putting this out there- a lot of girls/women might think it's a good idea. Oh, and barley contains gluten. And most oats are contaminated unless specifically grown and processed.
CurvatudeBlog CurvatudeBlog 8 years
i say to each their own. i am subscribed to her newsletter and i got the email with her plan last week and there were somethings in it that i found of value and others that i would not consider but i wont condemn her. she has a right to do what works for her.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 8 years
This is insane. Wouldn't she just gain the weight she lost back anyway once she started eating "normally"? Gosh I'm scared to know what "normal" eating is for HER. She's a great actress though!
haleyboo haleyboo 8 years
I wholeheartedly agree with all the comments that have been posted in opposition to this so called "diet", particularly Anais18. Really you hit the nail on the head... Heaven forbid some impressionable teen get wind of yet another despicable hollywood weight loss plan. Besides the unhealthful means of this detox how exactly does she intend to keep the weight off once it's gone? Isn't she just losing water weight? Either way I don't buy into this means of weight loss.
EmyAnne EmyAnne 8 years
I agree with everyone. The fact she states she is doing this for weight loss is stupid. -Can anyone tell me what's wrong with produce from the nightshade family??? Why no potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant??
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
Ugh, Gwyneth. She actually did the Master Cleanse as recent as last year when it's been common knowledge that it's unhealthy and dangerous?
bb_atthebeach bb_atthebeach 8 years
TOTALLY agree with skyslang!!! And way to go for your grandma! Mine is 93 and going strong too even though she never made any "detox" diet of her entire life and instead always enjoyed life's pleasures in a sensitive and moderate way. Why deprive yourself like this??? A human body NEEDS carbs and fats to survive! That lunatic Paltrow girl should take some basic classes of nutrition before posting that nonsense online! Absolutely insane!
bb_atthebeach bb_atthebeach 8 years
halfbakedjake wrote "How is this surprising?? Does she honestly think living on "lemon water" is GOOD for you? She shouldn't be visiting a detox specialist, she should be visiting a nutritionist." IMHO, a psychiatrist is what she needs most!
Carrie14884290 Carrie14884290 8 years
She's ridiculous.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
hear hear sky slang! what's life without enjoyment?
skyslang skyslang 8 years
Where is the pleasure? Food is great! Why do we have to have such a negative binge-purge relationship with it? It's all about balance. A little cheese, a little wine, lots of fresh veggies, lean protien, desert once in a while. Everyone should ENJOY LIFE and stop worrying so much. That's how my grandma lived and she died last year at a healthy AND HAPPY 96 years old.
Halie Halie 8 years
I would really miss bell peppers and tofu! I prefer clean eating in general, and I don't think I'd attempt a cleanse. But some of her recipes sound delicious!
linesforwinter linesforwinter 8 years
Thanks for this post, Fit. It's a sound bit of wisdom, and it helps me in the new year to focus on voices like yours. Thanks for helping to keep it all in perspective and encouraging us to do things in a more sane, healthy way.
superstar2780 superstar2780 8 years
I think detoxing your body once or twice a year is a good thing. I have tried master cleanse but it was a bit too intense for me, so my version is just more about cutting out alcohol, caffeine, sugar, red meat, etc, and drinking more water. also taking supplements and things like metamucil can help (its not just for old people!). that said, I think gwyneth paltrow is absolutely delusional! like someone else said, it seems like she is using the 'holistic cleanse' idea to justify starving herself.
bonniebonnie bonniebonnie 8 years
My head hurts from rolling my eyes so much. Someone needs to tell her "inner aspect" to get over herself.
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