7 Terrible Health Tips From Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow.Jason Merritt/Getty Images for InStyle

Gwyneth Paltrow and her publication, Goop, have been sharing her celebrity lifestyle since the site launched in 2008. It's jealousy-inducing for some, while others have complained that it's totally "out of touch."

But when it comes to health tips, the site is full of dodgy information, with unfounded warnings about things that are safe — like bras and sunscreen — and zealous promotion of things with little-to-no proven benefits — like cleanses and vaginal steaming. Some of the alternative medicine practices on the site could even be dangerous.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, Goop said that readers should consult their doctors before "making any changes in [their] medical routine." A similar warning appears at the very bottom of many posts, clarifying that they intend to "highlight alternative studies" and that "the views of the author ... do not necessarily represent the views of Goop."

"Goop regularly shares perspectives and insights from a range of experts in health, wellness, and other fields," Goop said in the statement. "The thoughts shared ... stimulate discussion and conversation on a variety of topics for the consideration of our readers."

Yet some of these "insights" are scientifically indefensible.

We looked into the facts behind some of Goop's most dubious claims.

Myth No. 1: Getting stung by bees can safely reduce inflammation or heal an old injury.

Myth No. 1: Getting stung by bees can safely reduce inflammation or heal an old injury.

Paltrow herself recently admitted to the New York Times that she is generally "open to anything." This now includes being stung by bees — on purpose.

"I've been stung by bees. It's a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy," she told the Times. "People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It's actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it's painful."

It's painful because people get stung by live bees during an apitherapy session. The practice can also involve merely using bee venom, but that stings, too.

Paltrow also wrote in a post on Goop that she received "'bee venom therapy' for an old injury and it disappeared." The rest of the article recommends various products and practices having to do with bees, including apitherapy.

No randomized, controlled trials (the gold standard of scientific studies) have shown apitherapy has any health benefits in humans. This lack of evidence is why Dr. Clay Jackson, vice president of the board of the American Academy of Pain Management, told Business Insider that people shouldn't try apitherapy as their first option for problems without consulting their doctor.

"Many people are allergic to bee venom and also there have been reported side effects, such as hemorrhagic strokes," Jackson said. "Some people mistakenly assume that because something is natural, it has no side effects, and that is not the case."

Myth No. 2: Underwire bras might cause breast cancer.

Myth No. 2: Underwire bras might cause breast cancer.
Victoria's Secret Angels Stella Maxwell, Lily Aldridge, and Elsa Hosk in SoHo on July 26, 2016.Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret

Another false claim on Goop — thatunderwire bras could be a cause of breast cancer — has been repeatedly refuted by top experts and organizations. The author of the post, Habib Sadeghi, is not an oncologist but a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at an integrative health center in Los Angeles. (He's previously come under fire for a Goop essay advancing the idea that negative words can change the physical structure of water.)

As the nonprofit BreastCancer.org points out on its website, only one scientific study has specifically looked at the possible connection. Its title, in part? "Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk."

The American Cancer Society has an entire article dedicated to disproving this claim.

Dr. David Gorski, a breast cancer surgeon, also wrote a thorough takedown of this myth for Science-Based Medicine, referencing the same study that BreastCancer.org mentioned:

According to this study, there was no increased risk of breast cancer due to wearing a bra, a result that, to breast cancer specialists, was about as surprising as the observation that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, water is wet, and gasoline flammable.

Myth No. 3: Detoxing is important to get chemicals out of your body.

A Goop post titled, "Does Detoxing Really Work?" is an interview with environmentalist Rick Smith, who does not have medical training. He purports that we need to cleanse our bodies in order to rid them of "post-1950 synthetic toxins that we ingest, breathe, and absorb through our skin, on a daily basis."

The Goop staff and Paltrow go on a group detox every January, during which they drink tons of lemon water, use infrared saunas, and "just say no to: alcohol, caffeine, added sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and nightshades (white, blue, red, and yellow potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant)."

Eating healthy is great, and no one will harm themselves by removing the foods suggested by the Goop cleanse from their diets. But the idea that detoxes or cleanses remove toxins from your body borders on nonsense. The whole concept of cleanses is unsupported by research and does not match up with what we know about the human body.

Toxins do not "build up" inside you (with the exception of actual poisoning, of course). "The body is constantly filtering the toxins in alcohol, food and medicines, not storing them," dietitian Maria Adams told NPR, in a great piece debunking detoxing. "So they're not going to build up."

Why? Because your body has "its own amazing detoxification systems: the liver and the kidneys," Ranit Mishori, a Georgetown University School of Medicine doctor, told NPR. "Unless there's a blockage in one of these organs that do it day and night, there's absolutely no need to help the body get rid of toxins."

Indeed, a review of the research on detox diets last year concluded that "there is no compelling evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination."

Tamara Smith / Flickr

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