Goop-Debunker Buoyed by Renewed Attack on Gwyneth Paltrow's Wellness Brand

By Szklarski, Cassandra | The Canadian Press, September 4, 2017 | Go to article overview

Goop-Debunker Buoyed by Renewed Attack on Gwyneth Paltrow's Wellness Brand


Szklarski, Cassandra, The Canadian Press


Goop-debunker buoyed by renewed attack on Paltrow brand

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TORONTO - Timothy Caulfield targeted Goop's famous founder with his last book, "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?"

Years later, the Alberta-based health policy expert still believes the actress-turned-wellness entrepreneur is wrong, about so many things.

But he's heartened by the prospect of increased scrutiny over Paltrow's lifestyle brand and website, Goop, now in the crosshairs of the U.S. watchdog group Truth in Advertising.

"I loved it when I heard this was happening with Gwyneth," Caulfield admits in a recent call from Edmonton, where he is a professor at the University of Alberta and a Canada research chair in health law and policy.

"Really, I think that's great, great news. Now, whether it will work is another question but I just think it's fantastic that the attempt is being made and it's highlighting how this is not accurate."

Truth in Advertising has called on California regulators to investigate Goop for using "unsubstantiated, and therefore deceptive" claims to promote its health products.

The Connecticut-based non-profit, which fights false advertising and deceptive marketing, sent a complaint letter to two district attorneys on the California Food Drug and Medical Device Task Force, urging "appropriate enforcement action."

Paltrow shot back on the podcast Girlboss Radio, suggesting critics are really targeting women's rights: "There's something that feels inherently dangerous to people about women being completely autonomous" in their sexual and psychological health, she told interviewer Sophia Amoruso.

This riled Caulfield in a big way.

"Her response drove me absolutely nuts," says Caulfield, a longtime critic of Goop's claims that its products can treat, cure, prevent, or alleviate the symptoms of various illnesses including depression, infertility and arthritis.

"She keeps pushing this idea that Goop is about autonomy and anyone who questions the science is somehow infringing on women's autonomy. Which of course is absolutely absurd because just look at it from an informed consent perspective: Misleading people is not enhancing autonomy. She's actually eroding autonomy by providing information that is misleading.... We want accurate information. We don't want misleading information and we don't want the spreading of bunk."

Combating bunk is the main premise of his new six-part TV series for VisionTV, "A User's Guide to Cheating Death," starting Sept. 18.

In it, Caulfield travels the world to expose the truth behind buzzy health trends that promise a better you, include detox diets, juicing, "anti-aging products" and genetic testing. …

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