I read this interesting article yesterday on CBC news discussing the trend of celebrities (in this case Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOP gang) making nutrition recommendations, writing books, blogs etc. The article also points out that regulatory bodies such as Health Canada can only dream about having the same readership as some of these celebs.
But my question is, when it comes to nutrition, are celebrities the best source of advice? My first knee-jerk reaction is “hellz nooo!!”, however let’s try and look at both sides:
Celebrities are beautiful. They can be inspiring, they are very good at selling s*!t. There is nothing wrong with having a positive role model or someone with a success story to look up to. One example I can think of would be Katie Couric (I know, not a huge celeb but it was the first thing that popped in my head). I recently watched the documentary “Fed Up” and I was pleasantly surprised on how informative and interesting it was. Having a big name like Katie Couric promoting the documentary I’m sure got more people’s attention than if it was delivered by some no-name filmmaker.
In an ideal world, celebrities could be very useful in promoting higher vegetable consumption, eating less fast food and encouraging more people to cook at home. Unfortunately though, the big money isn’t in promoting those things. The big money is still being made from selling soda pop, burgers and Vitamin Water. Le Sigh.
In my humble opinion, my “cons” list could stretch on for days. But let me give you the Cliffnotes summary:
– Most celebrities have no formal education or evidence-based knowledge of nutrition.
– MONEY!! I think we could all be a little healthier if we could afford nothing but groceries from Whole Foods, a personal chef, a personal trainer, a personal life coach etc etc. Comparing ourselves to celebrities is not realistic. Remember, it is their JOB to look good.
– MONEY (again). Celebrities who promote diets or a certain way of eating are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. Do you really think Jennifer Hudson promotes Weight Watchers because she truly wants to help you succeed in weight loss? Maybe a bit. But mostly because they are paying her.
– Disordered eating. Celebrities are under enormous pressure to look and act a certain way. When it is your job to look good and never age, you are going to do whatever it takes to stay in the game. Even if that means restrictive eating, over exercising and an unhealthy fixation on eating perfectly. You know those celebs who say “I eat what I want, I have a fast metabolism”? Lying.
All in all, let’s take celebrities for what they are: entertainment. In terms of getting reliable, evidence-based nutrition advice, I think you all know who to go to 🙂 HINT: I guess I’m technically a celebrity, I have at least 5 people who read this! HAPPY FRIDAY!! xo