When Celebrity Diets are No More Than an Eating Disorder
Leave it to Jennifer Lawrence to keep it almost too real. This time, the Hunger Games and X-Men actress is making headlines for sharing her not-so-flattering opinion of Gwyneth Paltrow’s gluten-free diet.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence called the Gwyneth’s diet choice “the cool new eating disorder,” describing it as “I just don’t eat carbs.”
Those are pretty harsh words for a diet that’s purportedly followed for medical reasons.
“It doesn’t follow that gluten-free dieters are then eating disordered. Many people have aberrant eating patterns but don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder,” explained our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD.
In her new book, It’s All Good, Paltrow wrote, “Every single nutritionist, doctor and health-conscious person I have ever come across…seems to concur that (gluten) is tough on the system and many of us are at best intolerant of it and at worst allergic to it.”
While gluten intolerance may be a real medical issue for Paltrow and her family, Lawrence wasn’t entirely in the wrong for labeling gluten-free eating as the latest “it” starvation diet.
“While some people need a gluten free diet for celiac disease or gluten intolerance, most gluten-free fans have not been diagnosed with either condition,” explained Hartley. “The gluten-free diet is trendy and so it attracts a lot on new followers. People, like Gwyneth, say they feel better but no one knows what’s going on. They could have had a problem and do feel better or maybe they experienced the placebo effect. Others say they follow gluten-free diet but gluten gets in.”
Only an incredibly small percentage of Americans genuinely have a reason to avoid gluten. For the rest of those following a gluten-free lifestyle, it’s simply a trendy means to lose weight. Often, foods containing gluten are not the only ones eliminated, as is the case with Paltrow’s restrictive diet.
Super restrictive diets aren’t the only way celebrities are looking to shed pounds. When Ed Sheeran’s new music video was released, many noticed he was looking slimmer. When asked about the weight loss, Sheeran said, “I have dropped like 35 pounds in three months just from not drinking beer. I have replaced it with vodka.”
It’s not clear whether or not the singer was being serious or joking, but either way, the statement sends an unhealthy message. While cutting or limiting alcohol consumption is definitely a step toward a healthy lifestyle, subbing one for another isn’t really the way to go about it, especially if it’s enough to drop 35 pounds!
Of course, crazy, and sometimes dangerous, celebrity diets aren’t anything new. When Natalie Portman was preparing for Black Swan she lost about 20 pounds by sticking to a diet made up of only carrots and almonds. Anne Hathaway followed a similar diet for her skeletal role in Les Miserables.
While these drastic diets may get results, they’re not results anyone should try and emulate. Severely restricting food is disordered eating, and it can be disguised as the cool, new diet trend.
Remember, the best ways to a healthier, happier you are to follow a well-balanced diet and get plenty of exercise. Your results will last longer, and you’ll be able to sustain them for years to come.
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Lawrence image by Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com; Sheeran image by JStone / Shutterstock.com