Gwyneth Paltrow is known for adopting purportedly healthy diet regimens, from raw food and macrobiotics to gluten-free . These days, it's almost expected that any twig-limbed celebrity you see is on some sort of restrictive diet or another.
But what has raised people's eyebrows over Paltrow's latest food fixation is that she has put her young children on the diet too – and, more sensationally, it is reportedly leaving them hungry.
According to Us Weekly magazine, Paltrow believes her kids Apple, 8, and Moses, 6, should avoid carbs and gluten, whether they like it or not.
"Sometimes when my family is not eating pasta, bread or processed grains like white rice, we're left with that specific hunger that comes with avoiding carbs," she is quoted as saying.
Her new cookbook, It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, touts the virtues of going gluten-free and sugar-free. As Time magazine's Newsfeed reports, she put together the recipes after being told by her doctor to go on an "elimination diet," which meant cutting out coffee, alcohol, dairy, eggs, sugar, shellfish, deep-water fish, wheat, meat, soy, potatoes, eggplant, corn, bell pepper and processed foods. (In other words, many of the most pleasurable foods.)
Although supporters swear Paltrow's recipes are delicious, critics believe she often comes across as priggish. Her latest cookbook "reads like the manifesto to some sort of creepy healthy-girl sorority with members who use beet juice rather than permanent marker to circle the 'problem areas' on each other's bodies," the New York Post writes. It adds: "While there are, of course, many who are legitimately allergic to dairy and gluten, it's hard to know what to make of her family's sensitivities. Her cred as a health guru is as sketchy as her foodie-ism."
Given that Paltrow's previous food fads left her "severely anemic" and "vitamin D deficient" (the New York Post says she blames her health issues on "lots of french fries and wine" – if you can believe she indulges in that sort of thing), is it really good for young children to follower her lead?
Writing for the Guardian, food writer Joanna Blythman says yes.
Paltrow's slender offspring look unusual to us, she says, because we're so used to seeing obese children. Blythman argues there are "no nutrients (vitamins, minerals, micronutrients) in starchy carbohydrate foods, and that contrary to what we believe, people don't actually need starchy carbs at all.
"Unlike protein and fat, which give a longer, slower, steadier release of energy, when our blood sugar level crashes after eating carbs, our appetite is unsatisfied and we crave more food," Blythman says, which, she adds, is what Paltrow probably meant when she said her family is left hungry.
And if Paltrow's feeding her children protein, unprocessed fats, vegetables and some fruit, Blythman says, "she's doing them a favour."
What do you think? Should parents impose their own food restrictions on their kids?