‘Jersey Shore’ Star Vinny ‘The Keto Guido’ Guadagnino Is a Problem
One of Vinny Guadagnino's main story lines on Jersey Shore Family Vacation—aside from needlessly arguing with Deena when she's clearly drunk, and aggressively invading Snooki's personal space against her wishes—has been his newly minted status as the "Keto Guido." Vinny has been vocal about finding success for his own personal body goals on the ketogenic diet, which is a low-carb, high-fat dietary program touted by celebrities like LeBron James, Kim Kardashian and Halle Berry.
The MTV star, who lost a reported 50 lbs on keto, made his dedication to the no-carb lifestyle excessively clear while languidly (and drunkenly) scraping the cheese and pepperoni off a pizza pie in the premiere episode of the reality show reboot, something his castmates poked fun at. (To be fair, pizza is religion in New Jersey.) Unfortunately, Vinny's commitment to keto has turned problematic in light of a controversial statement he shared on Instagram in back in March.
"I’ve discovered the fountain of youth. You ready for it?....Stop eating sugars and grains and instead 98% of the time eat real food like whole eggs, bacon, butter, fatty steaks, fatty fish and plants and exercise a few times a week," he wrote.
"When I ate sugars and grains I was 50lbs heavier and looked 10 years older," he continued. "I look around and feel sad and angry for the majority of the population who are overweight and obese that have been taught to eat grains, use 'healthy' margarines and oils, drink diet soda with artificial sweeteners, and stay away from saturated fats ... take away the stigma that saturated animal fat clogs your arteries and instead teach people the truth: sugars and grains will cause diseases and obesity before anything else."
Vinny also claimed that if those "who suffer from chronic disease stopped eating sugars and grains and started eating real foods," they would "drop off their medication (and not to mention, lose a s--- ton of weight NATURALLY)."
But here's the thing: Not all chronic illness stems from dietary habits. Not all chronic illness can be treated dietarily. Not all people who are fat have a chronic illness, and not all people who have a chronic illness are fat. It's irresponsible to perpetuate the idea that medication, which so many people may depend on, is something people who are ill should be ashamed to be on—as if the end game for people with chronic illness is to be off medication when that's not always an option. (People who need to take daily medication know that the stigmas surrounding drug-related treatment are near-unbearable in a wellness-obsessed society that pushes "good vibes and positive thinking" as a viable form of treatment.)
The statement also plays into a more pervasive issue surrounding fat-shaming, something that has always been an insidious undercurrent on Jersey Shore, even though viewers probably weren't as woke to the topic back during the show's initial run between 2009 and 2012. In one early episode, repeat chauvinist Ronnie laughed at Vinny for contracting pink eye, which they blamed on his time spent "dancing with a skank ... fat chick" in the club. In another episode, Mike degraded the friend of a girl he brought home to Vinny and Pauly, calling her a "hippopotamus" and a "grenade"—misogynistic Jersey Shore slang for a "fat, ugly girl." With his Instagram statement, Vinny is only perpetuating the fatphobic belief that people who are fat are inherently unhealthy and only eat junk food. (Fun fact: What other people eat is none of your business either way.)
Vinny can and should do what works best for him and his lifestyle choices, and it's great that he feels happy and more confident with his body. However, it's irresponsible for him to impose his own narrow idea regarding what is and what isn't healthy on others. Everyone's body is different, and people who have a chronic illness, in particular, may not find that a trendy diet like keto works for them and their personal health needs. (In fact, it's been recommended by a licensed doctor that the chronically ill editor writing this not go on the keto diet.)
Fat-shaming the chronically ill with a sanctimonious personal manifesto masquerading as universal medical wisdom isn't just problematic on multiple levels — it's downright irresponsible.