Celebrity mom, actress, blogger and writer – Gwyneth Paltrow is famous in many guises but last week she hit the headlines with the revelation that her children, Apple and Moses, are on a carb-free diet. “Sometimes when my family is not eating pasta, bread or processed grains like white rice, we’re left with that specific hunger that comes with avoiding carbs” she says in her new book.
The reaction was swift and damning – was Gwyneth admitting to child abuse? Were her children being starved by stealth? Was she enforcing a fad diet onto her 6- and 8-year-old children? British newspaper the Daily Mail was one of the first to accuse Gwyneth of “starving” her children, quoting dietitians that emphasized the place of carbohydrates in a growing child’s life. Their article was scattered with words like “harmful”, “neuroticism” and “creepy”.
Let’s hold on here, is this really the full story? Healthy Look at that quote again – she says that sometimes her family doesn’t eat pasta, bread or white rice. How do we know that she doesn’t feed them brown rice, quinoa or other gluten-free healthy grains? It’s probably best to get the full story before attacking her, but the Daily Mail does have a reputation for sensation over fact.
Gwyneth also gives health reasons for her family’s low-carb diet. She believes that gluten is “is tough on the system” and says that her family are all intolerant of it. Gluten intolerance has certainly increased dramatically recently. According to foodrenegade.com, a decade ago 1 in 2500 people were gluten-intolerant, now it’s 1 in 133. So, Gwyneth’s family may well be among that number. Why is the increase so dramatic? It’s down to a mix of factors – the improved tests leading to increased diagnoses, the increased awareness leading to more people asking for tests in the first place, but could there be a nutritional reason too?
Research by the Weston A. Price Foundation certainly suggests so. An article written in 2006 says that modern wheat has undergone a “hybridization” process that has accelerated rapidly with the discovery of genetic modification. Therefore, the grains we eat are actually different to the ones our grandparents ate. Is this the reason behind the explosion in intolerance?
Gluten intolerance certainly isn’t pleasant. Essentially, it’s an autoimmune disease, with the glutens attacking the gut and the Healthy Body reacting the only way it can – by rejecting the protein fragments through nausea, headaches and neurological disorders. This isn’t an offshoot of the Atkins diet, where cutting out carbohydrates can help you lose weight – it’s a real, physical problem.
I guess the question of whether Gwyneth is being cruel or kind rests on whether her kids are in fact gluten-intolerant or if it’s just something she’s decided to do for vague weight-control. I’m guessing she knows her kids best, if she says they’re gluten-intolerant, we should probably mind our own business and believe her. What do you think?
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!