Is Bone Broth Good For You?
Gwyneth Paltrow has long been an eyebrow-raising figure in the wellness world. The actress and Goop founder’s latest polarizing practice? Intermittent fasting before a bone broth lunch.
“I usually eat at 12 o’clock, and in the morning I eat some things that don’t spike my blood sugar — that’s why I like coffee,” Paltrow, 50, said on a recent episode of the “Art of the Being Good” podcast. “But I really like soup for lunch: I often eat bone broth for lunch.”
After struggling online advocates of the star promoting such a low-calorie diet, Paltrow responded and her wellness business doubled down this weekend with a tongue-in-cheek post declaring “bone broth for everyone.” “I’m telling you,” Paltrow commented on the post.
While experts say there’s no problem promoting bone broth, the way Paltrow talked about it leaves a lot to be desired.
With all eyes on Paltrow in the midst of her ski test this week, we’re asking experts for their verdict on her claims about bone broth.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth?
That’s not to say that consuming bone broth is a bad idea — nutrition experts agree that it has numerous health benefits.
“Bone broth may seem like a new fad, but in fact it has been a revered food source for tens of thousands of years,” says Dr. William Li, a Harvard-trained physician, researcher, and author of Eat To Beat Your Diet. “The reason it’s become more popular today is because there are these New Age health attributes that have been attributed to bone broth and various groups making marketing claims about their own bone broth.”
The clear broth made from boiling animal bones contains calcium, magnesium, zinc and more.
“You get collagen; you get iron, you get protein, so it gives you a good amount of nutrients as a base,” says registered nutritionist Dalina Soto.
Is bone broth a complete meal?
The keywords are “as a base”. Bone broth alone can add a nutritional boost to breakfast or as the basis for a healthy lunch or dinner, but experts are quick to point out that bone broth isn’t a meal in itself.
“It’s a nutrient-rich version of hot water. By no means is it a healthy source of daily calories,” says Li. Even for those looking for bone broth as a filling, low-calorie option to help with weight loss, it still doesn’t replace full meals.
Li offers some bone broth-based recipe recommendations that contain all of the health benefits of bone broth while providing enough carbs, protein, fat, vegetables, and calories to feed a person until their next meal:
- vegetable stew
- Bean Chili
- minestrone soup
- Tonkotsu ramen
Gwyneth Paltrow’s history of problematic nutritional messages
Responding to criticism for sharing her limited diet, Paltrow said in a now-expired Instagram Stories video that she did not intend her menu to be advice for the general public. Rather, it was just intended as “a transparent look at a conversation between me and my doctor” to share what’s been working for her after long COVID, which Paltrow said was causing inflammation in her body.
“That’s not to say I eat like this every day,” she said. “By the way, I eat a lot more than bone broth and vegetables. I eat whole meals. And I also have a lot of days where I eat whatever I want and fries and whatever. But my baseline really was to try to eat healthy and eat foods that really calm the system down.”
Paltrow, the author of five cookbooks, has a history of sometimes propagating ill-informed ideas about nutrition and wellness culture. Previous false claims include selling $120 biofrequency healing stickers, which Goop claimed contained the same materials as NASA space suits (which NASA denied), promoting vaginal steaming (which doctors warn about, that it can be harmful to the body) and offering vaginal jade eggs that supposedly balance hormones and regulate menstrual cycles (for which Goop was fined $1450,000 over unsubstantiated medical claims).
And it’s not just Paltrow — Hollywood has a bad reputation for promoting unhealthy eating ideals in the name of health. Paltrow’s ex-husband Chris Martin, for example, recently said he no longer eats dinner, a habit he reportedly picked up from Bruce Springsteen.
Dalina Soto | Anti Diet Nutritionist on Instagram: “Hola 👋🏽 hola chulas. I thought today would be a good day for a reintroduction as so many are new here and then see a post, make assumptions without understanding nuance and then things spiral out 🌀😂 👩 🏽🦱 My name is Dalina , I am a qualified bilingual nutritionist. Si, hablo espanol. 🍚 On this page I celebrate la cultura. All cultures but specifically my Latinx dishes. My parents are Dominicans and it is the food I grew up with and loving. When I became a nutritionist, I started watching my mom cook. How to really cook. And realized all the amazing ingredients she uses that the wellness world doesn’t recognize because they’re just concerned with shrinking and wiping us out. 🎉But I’ve decided to embrace the ingredients and teach positive nutrition. Because I refuse to erase our traditions and ingredients that give us so much Inform and share nutrition I’m not a weight loss site because I refuse to sell fad diets or gimmicks. & I will never judge you for losing weight or trying to lose weight. If you’re looking for restriction, I’m not the nutritionist for you. You are free to find one that limits you. But I myself will teach how to add nourishment and find health and stability. This is what I practice & offer. 🌵I fight against food culture and the narratives and stereotypes people hold about our food and teach you the nutrients it contains to help you cope with chronic diseases. 🙋🏽♀️that’s me. A food loving RD. I’m just trying to change the world and help you make the best decision for you and your cuerpo.”
Though celebrities and popular online wellness influencers garner large followings, Soto warns against putting the responsibility on one person to teach everyone else the perfect diet or lifestyle. Two things can be true at once: Paltrow can be helpful in sharing the benefits of bone broth, and trying to follow the restrictive diet she first mentioned can be dangerous.
“You have to be really critical on social media,” says Soto. “We shouldn’t put influencers or anyone on a pedestal where they think they know best and what they do is what we do. … Choose what works for you.”
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