Timothy Caulfield has a bone to pick with Gwyneth Paltrow. Now, if Gwyneth were in charge of selecting the bone in question, she would likely choose an organic bone from an exotic bird — well-traveled, intellectually curious — that was gluten-free, scrubbed clean of all toxins, marinaded in lemon with some cayenne pepper, kept far from any chemicals or unnatural ingredients. Because Gwyneth (we are all on a first name basis with Gwyneth) believes in cleanses, annual detoxes, and vague ideas of what is good and bad for our bodies and ourselves.
But Caulfield is the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy. He is professor at the University of Alberta School of Public Health, where, for over 20 years, he has been the research director of the Health Law Institute. And he wants the world to know something about Gwyneth and all her Goop-y guidance: It is, to use a technical term, bullshit.
Caulfield is the author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash, a thorough takedown of celebrity pseudoscience. He also spends a decent chunk of time debunking the myths she and her ilk — from Jessica Alba and her Honest company to Jenny McCarthy and her desire to revive vintage diseases by ridding the world of vaccines — on his Twitter feed.
He spoke with ThinkProgress by phone about why so many of us trust self-proclaimed lifestyle experts with no actual medical credentials, why cleanses are really just celeb-speak for “temporary, socially-sanctioned eating disorders,” and how growing skepticism of the scientific community has created a space for people like Gwyneth to control the national conversation about health.
Read the rest here.