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Bad GOOP Advice, Uncategorized

Sorry Gwyneth Paltrow, a lot of products and therapies offered on GOOP are pseudoscience

Gwyneth Paltrow was recently interviewed by the BBC about GOOP’s British invasion. She was asked about the criticisms of a “Canadian Gynecologist” and about much of GOOP’s products and health advice being categorized as pseudoscience.

I am not the only person to suggest there are a variety of dubious and unsupported medical recommendations and therapies promoted or sold on GOOP, although I do seem to be the one who irritates them the most.

I like the definition of pseudoscience from Wikipedia: statements, beliefs, or practices that are claimed to be both scientific and factual, but are incompatible with the scientific method.

Regarding the pseudoscience claims Paltrow said, “We disagree with that wholeheartedly. I think any time that you’re trying to move the needle and you’re trying to empower women, you know you find resistance and that’s just part of what we do and we’re proud to do it, we’re proud to be trailblazing”

And a “conventional Western doctor that might not believe necessarily in the healing powers of essential oils or any variety of acupuncture – things that have been tried and tested for hundreds of years.”

But also, “When you’re a start-up, you have to learn on the job unfortunately.”

Sigh.

Medical care is not belief-based. That’s religion.

Empowerment is not offering untested therapies or therapies we know dont work or that could be harmful, such as colonics, supplements, or advice from a ghost.

Trailblazing is not learning on the job.

Valid criticism from an expert is not resistance.

Standing behind your content doesn’t mean removing it, which is what happened with the jade egg posts. Some Twitter internet sleuths (I really feel this blog is a collective effort) double checked for me and all three reached the same conclusion. The original one, “Jade eggs for your Yoni”, was removed sometime after August 16 and the follow-up, “12  (More) Reasons to start a jade egg practice,” on August 2.

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But they are still selling the jade eggs.

Was removing the posts a requirement of the lawsuit? Was GOOP having second thoughts about taking the advice of a jade eggthusiast and a woman who got her jade egg certificate from an institute she founded?

It would be nice if the BBC actually asked some questions, for example, how specifically do jade eggs cultivate female energy? Or why would you tell women that bras could cause breast cancer? Or what is the risk of bowel perforation with colonics?

Interestingly, GOOP did not remove the post that said I was super mean and potty mouthed when I pointed out vaginal rocks that can be recharged by the moon are a path to a painful pelvic floor and toxic shock syndrome.

I am not actually that curious — I am pretty sure that post is still up there because they hate me.

If Paltrow believes GOOP’s content is not pseudoscience then they are either A) based on a sound hypotheses or data or B) are belief-based and so religious, not medical.

I present a list of some therapies, ideas, and products for sale on GOOP.com as of October that have no basis in medical science, have been specifically disproven, or are just so ridiculous they could not be studied ethically:

As a side note, none of these therapies that I have railed against have been “tried and tested for hundreds of years.” For example, the structure of vitamin B12 wasn’t known until the 1950s and coffee enemas are less than 100 years old.

Perhaps GOOP’s new researcher is going to do a clinical trial on the benefits of asking a ghost for advice versus asking a wall? Or study the effects of colonic coffee on mood? Or establish the antiparasitic activity of goat’s milk?

I look forward to their research.

In the meantime, you can’t claim your therapies are valid medically and offer no concrete supporting data and the next reporter to interview Paltrow should actually ask her for proof.

“Ancient” is not an explanation, it’s an excuse.

Discussion

18 thoughts on “Sorry Gwyneth Paltrow, a lot of products and therapies offered on GOOP are pseudoscience

  1. OMG, you are awesome. Thank you.

    Posted by Kara Walters | October 20, 2018, 10:01 pm
  2. “Ancient is not an explanation; it’s an excuse.”

    As superb a closing line as I have ever read. You nailed this, Jen.

    Posted by palfreyman1414 | October 21, 2018, 12:37 am
  3. Keep up the good info. Sadly the people (media, too) who are blinded by ‘celebrity’ perpetuate this farce. Think Suzanne Somers. There’s a long line of charlatans in our history…Pope Brock’s book, The Charlatan, shows how far some people will follow this malarkey, some of which can be dangerous.

    Posted by Shirl | October 21, 2018, 4:18 am
  4. Because something has been used for centuries doesn’t mean it works, it only means that people sometimes want to cure diseases, maladies, but they have NO idea what to do ie; Acupuncture, Bleeding(remember poor George Washington saw 3 physicians for an infection and each one bled him, which was standard medical practice back in early 1800’s, so he bled to death, pre-antibiotics. poor George). It’s pathetic that in this day and age people are STILL
    promoting witchcraft, superstitions, snake oil! The SADDEST is that because a movie star had start-up cash for a big snake-oil wagon and flashy advertising, people read it and buy into it, endangering themselves! Stick to what you know,Paltrow, acting is your craft, not medicine and healing,which in your case means exploiting the ignorant.

    Posted by Rebecca McCaslin | October 21, 2018, 4:59 am
  5. From popular HL Mencken wisdom, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

    First, medicine really does have its belief elements. Just look at the many different sequences for adding hypoglycemic agents to diabetics and a fair number of pretty decent physicians who steadfastly hold to their belief of never using one class of agent or another because they don’t like it for some reason, even when that prescription may give the best result at the next visit if not beyond. Good science will overcome belief, but it’s just not always readily available. Even more so with dietary advice. If there are a hundred different recommendations, as there are with weight loss advice, be sure that none of them are any good.

    The ability to capitalize on belief is all around us and has been forever. In Biblical times the trial by ordeal of the Sotah, or accused unfaithful wife, was used to assess guilt. In our own time Madison Avenue and drug reps get us to believe things from the exhilaration of speeding in a Chevy sponsored by Diana Shore herself, to a wonder drug that will be pulled from the market for safety within the next two years.

    And then there is the wisdom of Reb Tevye, who sang of Broadway, “If you’re rich they think you really know.” We elect leaders who come to prominence on their parents’ achievements instead of theirs, some of my shirts have a Nautica logo on the pocket, the decline in renal function must be due to diabetes because my Chief Resident told me so herself. Credibility is largely reputation based and the reputation is frequently not justified, as we see every hour on the TV political ads this season.

    So maybe the path of least resistance would be one of Caveat Emptor. Give Gwynneth those shekels that were one yours. Maybe vote for depravity if you are convinced it is not depravity. And if your doctor thinks you need insulin but your chiropractor thinks you need less pasta, the ER will adjudicate the dispute in due time.

    Posted by Richard Plotzker | October 21, 2018, 6:39 am
  6. “the healing powers of essential oils or any variety of acupuncture – things that have been tried and tested for hundreds of years.”

    What Gwynnie fails to mention is that trials and testing have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don’t work.

    Posted by Grim Beard | October 21, 2018, 7:37 am
  7. About the only thing I’ll give GOOP credit for is harnessing the value of placebo effect. Great post as always!

    Posted by fabulouslawrencesisters | October 22, 2018, 6:04 am
  8. You can also get rose quartz eggs for ten dollars less. I assume these have been proven safe and effective.

    Don’t put everything you find on the Internet in your vagina. It was “designed” for a very restricted range of products. Jade eggs were never in the specifications.

    Posted by andersstarmark | October 22, 2018, 11:14 am
  9. You’ve stated very clearly that most supplements are useless. Does that mean that calcium supplements will not help older women maintain their bone density? Does that mean that cranberry pills will not help prevent urinary tract infections in women who are prone to them? My eye doctor said I should take flax seed oil or fish oil to keep my eyes from being so dry in recirculated air buildings. Should I not bother with that, either? Thanks.

    Posted by E Zuckerman | October 22, 2018, 12:28 pm
    • Supplements as advertised on GOOP are multivitamin and mineral combinations as concoctions of useless and potentially harmful substances like green tea leaf extract. Those should be avoided at all cost. In Medicine when we say supplements we are referring to those. As I am not your doctor and this blog is not medical advice I can’t tell you what to do. I always recommend people ask their doctor for data about anything they recommend. The data on cranberry pills is discouraging.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | October 22, 2018, 7:08 pm
    • It did contain the word “most”.

      Calcium to strengthen bones – that one is sound, which is why it’s prescribed by doctors.

      Cranberry for UTIs – no significant benefit. There was a bloke on warfarin who drank litres of cranberry juice every day and died, incidentally.

      Fish or flax oil for dry eyes – no significant benefit. Fish oil is a mild blood thinner and flaxseed oil can cause breasts pain, by the way, so be carful there.

      Did your eye doctor recommend actual treatment as well? Eye drops? Protective glasses? A humidifier? My optometrist recommended a variety of things for me to do to treat my dry eye – different types of drops, ointment at night, hot compresses, lid scrubs, lid massage – but didn’t suggest taking supplements. Once I get to rheumatology next month and we can formalise the Sjögren’s diagnosis, I’ll be put on oral medication as well.

      I checked the last two by searching for the supplement, condition and the word “evidence”, by the way. I’d recommend doing that.

      Posted by insearchofmornings | October 23, 2018, 12:26 pm
  10. Look, Colleen McCann is a “certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner.” Are you a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner? Then I think that answers all your objections,

    Who the hell certifies shamanic energy medicine practitioners? Is there a guild?

    Posted by andersstarmark | October 23, 2018, 11:57 am
  11. This would be hilarious if there weren’t so many buying into it. It reminds me of that old Bob Newhart skit where he’s talking to Sir Walter Raleigh about the introduction of tobacco.

    Posted by Daniel Keelan | October 23, 2018, 1:43 pm
  12. Gwyneth likes to use lots of buzz phrases such as “empowering women” “taking charge of one’s health”, but there is not an ounce of substance behind any of it. She reminds me quite a bit of Suzanne Somers..

    Posted by MoJo | October 24, 2018, 8:45 am

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