13 Feb 2020

Food science writer on Gwyneth's Goop Lab series

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:27 pm on 13 February 2020

Are Gwenyth Paltrow’s latest offerings on Netflix nothing more than quackery paraded as science?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 21: Gwyneth Paltrow attends the goop lab Special Screening in Los Angeles, California on January 21, 2020.   Rachel Murray/Getty Images/AFP

Photo: AFP

Food writer, editor and commentator Niki Bezzant says the series Goop Lab is an extension of Paltrow’s mutli-million-dollar wellness brand.

Goop sells products like a candle that smells like Paltrow’s vagina for $US75, and crystal-infused water bottles.

Each of the six episodes of Goop Lab delves into a different form of ‘therapy’ “to prove your wellness”, Bezzant says.

“It does come across like an extended infomercial. Each episode focuses on one different thing so for example they go to Jamaica and take magic mushrooms and have this very psychedelic experience, they go to some icy cold place… and jump into freezing water with this guru of the ice bathing movement.”

There’s an episode about how to look younger, energy wave therapy, and a psychic workshop.

“The issue is there’s this veneer of science, I mean it’s called the Goop Lab so it’s got this sort of sciencey element to it, but when you look at it, the science on most of this stuff is pretty thin.”

The thing Bezzant found most alarming was when Goop Lab delved into diet during the ‘how to look younger’ episode.

In the episode, Paltrow goes on a fasting diet “which was alarming for various reasons, mostly because she’s a very, very thin woman and going on a fasting diet where you basically don’t eat for five days for her is pretty non-advisable and could be triggering for many people”.

The fasting product is being sold on the Goop website and it’s not clear when you’re watching that that there’s a commercial angle to the show, she says.

“It’s definitely a different world…it’s a bunch of privileged people in LA doing this stuff…most of the things are completely inaccessible for you or I, or most ordinary people.”

All of that aside, should you watch it?

Bezzant says if you’re going to watch it, think of it as pure entertainment, a bit like watching The Real Housewives.

She does however, recommend everyone watch the episode on sex.

“She (Paltrow) talks to this 90-year-old sex educator…and she has been running these workshops for years, decades, to teach women about their sexual pleasure, to teach them about their bodies, because most women don’t understand their own anatomy.”

The episode also touches on the influence of porn and what our anatomy should and shouldn’t look like, she says.

Get the RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes

Subscribe to Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

Podcast (MP3) Oggcast (Vorbis)