Trending: Celebrities who eat clay

Is ingesting dirt right for you?

By Lindsay Abrams
August 28, 2014 10:43PM (UTC)
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Shailene Woodley (AP/Jordan Strauss)

Shailene Woodley, star of "Divergent" and "The Fault in Our Stars," eats clay. Zoë Kravitz once lost 20 pounds eating clay. Juice Generation, the popular purveyor of liquid lunches that's partially owned by Salma Hayek, is introducing a one-ounce bentonite clay shot in September.

Should you, too, eat clay? Well, the New York Times just did a trend piece on it, so probably.


Also, "clay has a long history of medicinal uses," according to Holly Phillips, an internist and medical contributor to CBS News. Phillips adds, however, that despite that storied tradition, those who ingest clay do so at the risk of it "being contaminated with bacteria, viruses and parasites." She notes as well that “concerns have been raised about dangerously high arsenic and lead levels in many of the supplements sold in health food stores and online." (She has no problem, however, with clay toothpaste.)

Kent Sepkowitz, a board-certified physician, also takes issue with eating dirt. Writing for the Daily Beast, he manages to make the celebrity diet trend sound even less appetizing that it already does:

The purported benefits of geophagy, including its ability to somehow take toxins out of the system, strike me as nutty and decidedly untrue, though surely there is some impact on digestion. What needs a bit more consideration is the risk side. Dirt, after all, is dirty, and—be it clay from Attapulgus, Georgia, or the fields of Naryn, Kyrgyzstan, or the Oklahoma hills that Woody Guthrie once sang about—contains the excrement from countless animals who work the territory as they look for non-dirt nourishment.

Is the Times just trolling us? Are celebrities trolling the Times? Are the Haitians who eat mud cakes even when other food is available trolling all of us? All questions to ponder over a $3.95 bottle of mud.


Just be warned: Your shit will smell like metal.

Lindsay Abrams

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Clay Food Juice Generation New York Times Shailene Woodley Zoe Kravitz