UK medical director rebukes Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘intuitive fasting’ approach to long COVID recovery

Gwyneth paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow. Scott Roth/Invision/AP
  • A senior NHS doctor has warned against Gwyneth Paltrow’s long COVID-19 recovery methods.
  • Paltrow revealed earlier this week she has been suffering from long COVID symptoms.
  • The actress said she has adopted a Keto diet and fasting to stop the symptoms.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s methods for tackling long COVID-19 have been criticized by the medical director of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) after she suggested symptoms could be treated with intermittent fasting and regular visits to a sauna.

Last week in a personal essay posted on her Goop website, Paltrow revealed that she contracted COVID-19 early last year and has since suffered “long-tail fatigue and brain fog.” In response, Paltrow said she turned to the “one of the smartest experts” she knew – functional medicine practitioner Dr. Will Cole – who recommended an “intuitive fasting diet.”

Paltrow wrote that her diet is now mainly “keto and plant-based” with “lots of coconut aminos.” She fasts until 11 AM every day, has cut out sugar and alcohol, and is making regular visits to an infrared sauna.

Paltrow’s unproven advice, however, has sparked a strong rebuke from Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, who told the BBC that celebrity influencers like Paltrow must stop spreading medical misinformation.

He said: “In the last few days I see Gwyneth Paltrow is, unfortunately, suffering from the effects of COVID. We wish her well, but some of the solutions she’s recommending are really not the solutions we’d recommend in the NHS.”

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow at the LA ‘In Health’ summit in May 2019. Goop

“Like the virus, misinformation carries across borders and it mutates and it evolves. So I think YouTube and other social media platforms have a real responsibility and opportunity here,” Powis continued. “We need to take long COVID seriously and apply serious science. All influencers who use social media have a duty of responsibility and a duty of care around that.”

The effects of long COVID can resemble chronic fatigue syndrome with debilitating symptoms such as extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and brain fog.

This is not the first time Paltrow has received criticism from the NHS. Last year, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said Paltrow’s Goop Netflix series posed a “considerable health risk” to viewers. In the six-part series, Paltrow and a selection of doctors explore alternative wellness methods such as “energy exorcisms,” and psychedelic treatments, which Stevens described as “dubious” and “dodgy procedures.”

“Goop has just popped up with a new TV series, in which Gwyneth Paltrow and her team test vampire facials and back a bodyworker, who claims to cure both acute psychological trauma and side-effects by simply moving his hands two inches above a customer’s body,” Stevens said.

“Her brand peddles psychic vampire repellent, says chemical sunscreen is a bad idea, and promotes colonic irrigation and DIY coffee enema machines, despite them carrying considerable risks to health.”

In 2018, Goop agreed to pay $145,000 in a civil settlement over false claims about the benefits of $66 vaginal eggs it was selling. At the time, Goop said the eggs could prevent a person’s uterus from sagging, make their periods more regular, balance hormone levels, and stop incontinence.

Earlier this week, during an interview with The New York Times, Paltrow suggested that she popularized the practice of using face masks after posting a selfie wearing a mask in February 2020. She said: “This is a familiar pattern in my life. I do something early, everyone is like: ‘What is she doing? She’s insane.’ And then it’s adopted by the culture.”