The article – headlined Busting Diet Myths and taglined "supported by science" – features an interview with US psychologist Dr Traci Mann in which she says people should aim to be at the lowest end of their "set range".
London – Gwyneth Paltrow has come under fire from diet experts after her lifestyle website told readers to try to reach their “leanest liveable weight”.
Scientists say the article on the actress’ Goop site sends out a dangerous message which glorifies an “skinniness” and encourages eating disorders such as anorexia.
Goop’s advice follows other bizarre and controversial endorsements by Paltrow for the likes of bee-sting facials, “moon dust” smoothies and animal bone broth.
The article – headlined Busting Diet Myths and taglined “supported by science” – features an interview with US psychologist Dr Traci Mann in which she says people should aim to be at the lowest end of their “set range”.
She explains that this means a genetically-determined range of weights which a generally healthy person tends to stick to.
But Cambridge University scientist Dr Giles Yeo says the advice to be at the “low end” is confusing and irresponsible, suggesting people should be “as skinny as possible” without dying.
The geneticist and author, who has presented programmes for the BBC’s “Horizon” and “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” on how the brain controls our eating, added: “This is a dangerous suggestion, as many people will take it to mean they should be as thin as possible.
“It is irresponsible because the idea is so open to misinterpretation, especially for young girls susceptible to eating disorders. The problem with many of Goop’s recommendations is that they are not based on science, but pseudoscience.”
Dr Yeo has long warned about the dangers of dieting, saying people should try to eat less of everything rather than “blindly” counting calories.
He told the New Scientist Live event in London that the “fear of food” created by articles like that on Goop sends people on fad diets.
He said: “It’s a silly idea because there is no clear way to determine what your leanest liveable weight is.
“It is therefore nigh-on impossible to find a target to stick to. People should not be afraid of food, and ‘diet’ should not have become such a loaded term. Goop is part of the reason that people have become afraid of eating. We need to love our food, just eat less of it.”
Dr Mann said: “I am strongly and clearly opposed to strict dieting. In fact, the article is specifically about not dieting, not trying to lose too much weight and not doing anything unhealthy or extreme.
“The phrase ‘leanest liveable weight’ refers to the leanest weight you can be without doing any strict dieting or unhealthy behaviour.”