Updated: Oct 4, 2021
Goop– the famous business set up by Gwyneth Paltrow to provide cutting edge wellness advice. It’s now extended into a netflick series Goop Lab. The documentary follows Gwyneth and some of her employees as they research holistic and alterative wellness practices. The episode I’m most interested in is reversing your age via dietary intake. It looks into how the vegan diet, pescatarian diet and also how fasting can affect biological age. Biological age refers to how old our cells are.
So bring the expert – Valter Longo, who is selling for $300 – 250, a 5 day fast called Prolon. It constitutes as shakes, soups and bars and he compares Paltro’s and her colleagues biological age prior to the fast and after the fast.
The website suggests over 25 million dollars’ worth of research has been completed, however, I’m yet to find any research using the product with humans. I’m happy to be proved wrong as I’d really like to read it!
The difficulty with research in nutrition is that there are many other factors that can affect someone’s dietary intake. The best studies in research are randomised control trials (RCT’s) as they randomly assign people to an intervention – here this would be the Prolon and then other participants would be given a different intervention. This mean people don’t know what they are having, and the experiment is controlled.
In the Goop lab case studies, we don’t know how closely the team followed the pescatarian diet, vegan diet or Prolon and we also don’t know activity levels, smoking levels, existing medical conditions and other stress factors. In addition – what was their intake before? Maybe they already had a balanced lifestyle so changing to a vegan or pescatarian diet wasn’t much of a change. We just don’t know.
The take home form this is that more research is needed into specific areas. Also, the impact upon someone’s mental and psychological health need to be addressed. Such extreme diets can be isolating for those taking part as they cannot engage in family meals and social occasions. In addition, the physical toll of starvation can affect mood negatively.
With further research we may find a short fast can be beneficial for some people in certain medical conditions but as a general population the evidence just isn’t there. If your underweight fasting would only make you more unwell and cause major physical health complications and always seek support of a medical team to help you to increasing your dietary intake safety.