Gwyneth Paltrow, human wheat stalk (NO — that has gluten), came onto Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix talk show, Chelsea, this week to discuss a topic dear to her heart: Stuff in products.

Stuff in products you can’t identify! Stuff in products the government doesn’t want you to know about! What is this stuff? Whither its provenance?

Gwyneth wants only the very best stuff in her products — the ones she buys and sells, of course — and she wants that for you too! Which is why she has come out strongly in favor of GMO labeling. Gwyneth and Chelsea grimaced at each other across the longest couch you’ve ever seen while discussing how G had testified to Congress about the importance of identifying GMOs — because we don’t know what they are!

Gwyneth, ever radiant in a cerulean mock turtleneck, explained her position:

“Essentially, you know, the reason that I’m so passionate about GMO labeling is because I worry about us as consumers, like big business kind of trying to slip things by us, and the lack of transparency. So it’s not only a GMO issue for me — you know, we don’t know if GMOs are beneficial or harmful (emphasis author’s own) — but the idea that the government could let us eat or buy things that we don’t know, and there’s a kind of obfuscation that goes on for the benefits and profits of these big companies that don’t want us to know.

“So to me, it’s an important issue because if we don’t know — if we don’t have the right to know what’s in our food and in our products and our water. I mean even like in Flint, Mich., there’s lead in the water –” [Thunderous applause from Chelsea’s audience.] “I think the government needs to be transparent with us.”

Pause: I have no ill will in my heart toward Gwyneth Paltrow. I genuinely find her recipes to be both “all good” and “all easy,” I loved her in Emma, and I too enjoy one cigarette a week. But shenanigans ought to be called where they’re seen. Gwyneth’s favorite treats — especially the ones she sells — are full of ingredients that are maybe beneficial or possibly harmful. And we don’t know which, because they are far less studied than GMOs. (Said ingredients are, to her credit, meticulously catalogued for the consumer.) But they are “natural” and “of the earth,” ergo automatically good for you, per Gwyneth.

As a frequent peruser of Goop, Gwyneth’s equally adored and abhorred lifestyle site — I told you I had no ill will toward this woman — I came across a recipe for GP’s Morning “Smoothie.” I adore a morning smoothie, because I am without question Gwyneth’s target audience. First off: Why the scare quotes, G?

This is why:


All I can tell you about this ingredient list is that cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that lives on Chinese caterpillars, which I learned from WebMD. But I am fairly baffled by the inclusion of Goop’s “Dust” products, which will run you $65 + tax and shipping for two ounces of, for example, Spirit Dust.

What in the name of cray is Spirit Dust? Some sort of powdered amalgamation of these things: Goji, reishi, longan, astragalus, salvia, and stevia.

And here, at last, my point: Speaking as a typical Goop consumer, I would highly doubt that the majority of my ilk know exactly what effect astralagus, say, might have on their bodies. I have no idea! (I do, however, know that salvia is a strong, naturally occurring hallucinogen.)

This is what the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health — a division of the National Institutes of Health — has to say about astralagus:

“The evidence for using astragalus for any health condition is limited. High-quality clinical trials (studies in people) are generally lacking. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system, heart, and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.”

I could not tell you what a GM tomato might do to my body. Saying we don’t know yet if GMOs are beneficial or harmful is a bit like saying that we don’t know if mobile phones are beneficial or harmful. They’ve been around roughly the same amount of time. And the next one that comes along might explode our heads — but that doesn’t seem super likely.

But — as with, say, climate change — I will place my trust in the scientific consensus. What will GMOs do to my body? Probably nothing.

And the same consensus, I imagine, is true for the effect that Spirit Dust will have on your spirit. But the placebo effect is a helluva drug, my friends, so go ahead, whip out your credit card, and give Goop some much-needed business.