Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site is an entertaining mix of pseudoscientific health tips and unattainable product recommendations, and an enticing promise of glowing skin and longer lifespans. It’s safe to say that Goop has single-handedly transformed the wellness trend into a social media-friendly empire marked by crystals, juice cleanses and herbal tonics.
While Paltrow stepped away from her infamous site in 2017, GOOP remains a controversial force to be reckoned with, inciting criticisms from medical professionals and members of the general public alike. Just take a look at Truth in Advertising’s Goop database. While many of the articles promote reasonable health advice, some items listed raised some major red flags—and the internet took notice.
Here are just a few examples of Goop’s most outrageous fitness and health advice:
That jade egg—for a stronger pelvic floor
One of the most egregious examples of GOOP gone mad is that infamous jade egg. The $66 rock is intended for use inside the vagina as a way to improve muscle tone, achieve hormonal balance and “harness one’s feminine energy.”
Medical experts have widely refuted the supposed benefits of the egg. Jen Gunter, a practicing OBGYN has taken to the web, stating that Goop is promoting pseudoscience. Gunter states that you should never put jade in your vagina, as the rock is porous and can harbor a whole slew of bacteria that can cause infection. Additionally, rocks are not the best way to strengthen the pelvic floor—as the heavy material may actually weaken those muscles.
Tracy Anderson’s approach to fast weight loss
Another rod for the internet outrage came from an interview with Paltrow’s friend, trainer and fitness guru, Tracy Anderson. The trainer was asked how to jump-start weight loss, and her answer was polarizing to say the least. Anderson suggested working out daily until the body starts to crave the movement. She also recommended cutting out gluten and going extremely low-carb. Anderson also stated that by using this method, you could lose 14 pounds in just four weeks.
For one, the interview sparked concern from those who felt that recommending fast weight loss tips is just plain irresponsible. The article didn’t specify whether the tips were directed at people who were extremely overweight, but many readers found Anderson’s comments to be triggering for those with eating disorders and that it sounded like she was promoting starvation.
There’s also no real reason to go stop eating gluten unless you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. Going gluten-free is not necessarily conducive for weight loss and you are possibly missing out on essential nutrients found in whole grains.
Trampolining your way to better health
Goop made waves again for claiming that a trampoline-based regimen called rebounding was “better than jogging.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with rebounding as a form of exercise. It’s easy on the knees and can be done by those who have physical limitations.
The problem lies in the fact that Goop claims jumping on the trampoline can function as a detox—allowing the body to eliminate waste and flush toxins with greater efficiency. A number of websites tout the benefits of rebounding—claiming it cures cancer, promotes lymph flow and fights depression.
Earthing for the Sake of Mental Health
Earthing is a therapy that relies on harnessing the energy of the earth by walking barefoot. The idea is that going au natural on the feet is healthy for our bodies and souls. Goop claims that taking our shoes off and walking around in the dirt and grass fights everything from insomnia to arthritis, inflammation and depression.
The online publication interviewed Clint Ober, a grounding expert who found his way to the practice through his previous career in the cable television business. Ober says that the static electricity in the earth could neutralize any charge in the body. And as such, walking around barefoot and connecting to the earth could solve problems ranging from chronic pain to mood and mental health issues.
While you’re probably not going to run into serious trouble walking around barefoot in your yard (don’t do this on big city streets), nobody should forgo mental health treatment in favor of earthing.
Energy stickers made from “NASA technology”
Remember this one? Last year, Goop promoted a line of stickers they claimed were made from NASA technology. The stickers, made by a brand called Body Vibes, were sold through the site for $120 per 24-pack. Body Vibes claimed the stickers were made from the carbon materials that line NASA space suits and that wearing the stickers on your skin promoted healing by rebalancing energy frequency in the body.
A NASA spokesperson swiftly refuted those claims.
Bee stings for better skin
Ok, the bee sting advice isn’t exactly a fitness tip, but Paltrow told the New York Times that she was getting stung by bees in the name of wellness. She explained that the therapy is thousands of years old and is used to fight pain, infections, burns, scarring and gout. According to WebMD, bee venom is sometimes used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis and nerve pain, but there is some potential for serious side effects, like allergic reactions or increasing the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
You need to detox to expel chemicals from your body
Goop posted an article entitled, “Does Detoxing Really Work?” The article is an interview with an environmentalist named Rick Smith (who is not an actual medical professional).
Smith announced that the Goop gang goes on a cleanse every January, when they cut out everything from alcohol, dairy, added sugar and caffeine (which sounds pretty reasonable), to nightshades (tomato, bell peppers and eggplant) and potatoes.
Goop isn’t the only publication promoting the idea of cleansing, but they’re an influential voice perpetuating a health practice that is wholly unnecessary. Our liver and kidneys filter blood and remove waste from our bodies naturally. So, unless there’s a blockage in one of these organs, we don’t need to cut the tomatoes or drink juice for an entire month.
Turn to actual experts for health advice
It’s ultimately up to you whether you want to eschew science in favor of health advice from Goop. But a site that claims underwire bras cause cancer or says it’s a good idea to get stung by bees might not be the best place to find a new workout routine or learn more about a balanced diet and proper supplementation.
That said, the wellness movement has resonated with a lot of people in recent years, and pseudoscience or not, Goop’s rise in popularity serves as a reminder that no one should take medical advice from a lifestyle website at face value.