That’s the big question (and title) of a new book from Timothy Caulfield, a professor of law and health policy at the University of Alberta.
The book’s subtitle—How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness—gets right to the meat of the matter in Caulfield’s research. Namely, that while celebrities are great at selling us all sorts of products, there is no evidence whatsoever to back up the claims of many of the trendy health products and practices endorsed explicitly or implicitly by the likes of Paltrow and her famous peers.
Caulfield actually loves celebrities and is fascinated by celebrity culture. He also understands that given the way celebrities affect how we dress, what we buy, and what we watch, it’s natural for them to have an outsized influence on what we eat and how we take care of our bodies.
Still, he feels it’s unwise, to put it mildly, for you to blindly follow their leads when your health—and often, a decent chunk of your disposable income—is on the line. Here’s a look at a handful of widely endorsed health ideas that Caulfield says are total bunk.