This weekend Gwyneth Paltrow launched her new recipe book, The Clean Plate: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Everyday Glow, with a glossy extract and recipes in the UK Sunday Times Magazine.
There’s a lot to love about Gwyneth, and even though I don’t own any of her cookbooks, many friends swear by her recipes.
But what she is advising here seems unnecessarily restrictive, and would be hard for most regular time pressed people with boring things like jobs and paying mortgages to occupy them, to achieve.
Consider this statement below:
Looking at this list above, you can’t help asking yourself what is left? Plus anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of science knows that cutting all these foods out is not backed up by research.
The book prompted a storm of comments on twitter.
Ian Marber, a nutritionist, and founder of The Food Doctor, was typical:
Eating healthily is actually simple: eat more fruit and vegetables, minimise added sugar, eat whole grains and avoid processed food. If you exercise and build up a calorie deficit you will lose weight.
Avoiding gluten is only normally recommended for those with coeliac disease, or with a medically diagnosed intolerance.
Some people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can try restricting “nightshades”, but the scientific evidence for their effectiveness is sparse. Cutting them out may result in eating fewer vegetables.
On the same day as the extract for Gwyneth’s book, a far more interesting and sensible book hit the shelves.
Gene Eating: The Science of Obesity and the Truth about Diets by Giles Yeo takes a look at the causes of the obesity epidemic.
If obesity was simply a matter of eating less and moving more, then we wouldn’t have an epidemic across the developed world.
Yeo explains how our genes, hardwired to make us consume because food was once scarce, are therefore set up for failure in a world of abundant food.
He also skewers each of the many fad diets in turn, exposing them for the pseudo science that they are.
The real message is not sexy or glamorous or easy.
It comes down to moderation. Or as author, journalist and activist Michael Pollen famously said:
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”