Gwyneth Paltrow wants you to drink her Kool-Aid again — only this time, it’s raw goat’s milk.
Paltrow, who does not have a medical degree, tells fans on her blog GOOP that a diet consisting of nothing but goat’s milk for eight straight days can cleanse your body of parasites and heavy metals.
“I’m knee-deep in figuring out ways to clear them from the body,” Paltrow said in an interview with a GOOP writer, published Thursday in the magazine Women’s Health.
But experts said there’s no evidence a raw goat milk “cleanse” will have health benefits — likely, it’ll just leave GOOPers feeling extra gassy.
“You would probably have more flatulence,” said Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Here’s why: Raw goat’s milk, like cow’s milk, contains lactose, a type of carbohydrate that’s classified as a FODMAP. Lactose and other FODMAPs can easily be fermented into gas by the bacteria in our body. “All of us eat them, and all of us get gassier when we eat them,” Staller explained.
Eight days of consuming lactose exclusively could mean that extra gas will start to add up.
“Some of your bacteria may be happy, but people around you may not be as happy,” Staller said.
There’s also no evidence to suggest that goat’s milk will have any sort of “cleansing” effect on the body. There haven’t been any peer-reviewed trials testing the idea — nor have there been extensive human trials to determine how raw goat’s milk and cow’s milk might impact human health differently.
“As far as we know, there are no major and remarkable physiological differences between goat and cow milk,” said Francesco Visioli, a researcher at Cantoblanco Hospital in Madrid who has studied the nutritional properties of milk.
“I love a good goat cheese,” Staller said. “But the idea it’s going to cleanse you from parasites is fraught with problems.”
Paltrow has touted all types of dubious ideas, from vaginal steaming to colon cleansing. Many have been sharply criticized for a lack of scientific support. In the interview published in Women’s Health, Paltrow said she wasn’t fazed.
“When you’re at the forefront of something that’s new, people can get really reactive: ‘This is crazy! Why are you doing this?’ Then, five years later, everyone’s fine with it,” she said.
Paltrow’s diet advice comes from resident GOOP naturopath Linda Lancaster, who last year also persuaded supermodel Miranda Kerr to try an eight-day goat’s milk cleanse.
“We’re all already tired, and our cells are moving slowly, so a parasite can knock us over — it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Lancaster said in a post on the blog. She went on to claim that individuals with a “low vibrational field” or a weak immune system are more susceptible to parasites.
Lancaster didn’t return a request for comment. The communications team at GOOP pointed to a disclaimer posted at the end of the blog post, which advised readers that the piece was not intended to be “a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.”
But it does offer advice to people concerned about parasites.
It’s true that children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to health problems from parasites. But doctors caution that unpasteurized dairy products can contain parasites that have the potential to cause infections, including toxoplasmosis, which can cause fever, headache, and other serious health problems. Drinking unpasteurized milk also runs the small risk of causing brucellosis, another parasitic infection which can cause joint and muscle pain.
“I would argue you’re more likely to get a parasite drinking raw goat’s milk,” said Staller.
For the average person with a healthy immune system, knocking back a half-gallon of goat’s milk every day is unlikely to pose any acute risk. But as for whether it’ll flush out any toxins?
“In the absence of evidence, you can kind of say whatever you want,” Staller said.
Paltrow’s persistent critics from the realm of science aren’t letting her get away with that, though.
— Timothy Caulfield (@CaulfieldTim) March 9, 2017