I’m still doing research and writing on children and catch up growth. This is a just little interlude.
I have never thought I’d be writing a post about a celebrity. I’m not very celebrity-savvy mainly because I don’t read women’s magazines or watch much TV. I have only just found out that there is a person out there named Snooki and apparently she is as famous as Meryl Streep. I’m still perplexed about this but it just shows you that I’m way behind the times.
However, I know a few things about Miranda Kerr. She is Australian, she is gorgeous, married to Orlando Bloom (I hope my readers over 35 know who he is) and she is a Victoria Secret model. Not my typical blogging subject but bear with me. She first came on to my nutrition radar when she recently had a baby and continued to be remarkably sensible about it. Miranda was breastfeeding right left and centre and seemed hellbent on doing it well past the obligatory couple of months of breastfeeding for a celebrity. I was writing a few breastfeeding posts at the time and was impressed in spite of myself.
Miranda caught my eye again recently when she got into some hot water about eating coconut oil. Those of you in the Paleo world and my long time readers know that coconut oil is mostly made up of saturated fats, in particular MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). I first heard this story on the news. Yes, I know, a celebrity giving diet advice somehow makes the evening news. This is how it went down.
About a week ago the world of fashion, beauty and Botox went into meltdown when reports were published of Miranda Kerr “revealing her beauty secrets” to Australia’s Cosmopolitan.
“I’ve been drinking it since I was 14 and it’s the one thing I can’t live without…I will not go a day without coconut oil. I personally take four tablespoons per day, either on my salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea.”
Big, big mistake, Miranda. You see, if you only followed some normal garden-variety weird celebrity diet and exercise plan nobody would have batted an eyelid. Look how many options you had available!
“Being vegan – eschewing all animal products – is a pretty hard slog. But you can’t deny that it’s good for the environment, and good for our bodies, too.’
“Colonic irrigationist to the stars (yes, this is somebody’s actual job description) recommends Quintone, naturally harvested from oceanic vortex plankton blooms, it’s taken in liquid form and comes in a vial. It’s purely organic and is never heated, meaning that it is accessible by the human body: it’s easily absorbed in the intestinal tract, ie digestible.”
“BENEFIBER: This powdery fibre substance is flavourless but it packs a punch. Celebrities put it in their coffee or sprinkle it on their salads as it helps move food through you system more quickly.”
So in the world of the wacky, surely, Miranda’s “coconut oil habit”, as it was described by some of the media, is not much of a big deal? Not so. As we know many people feel very uncomfortable about saturated fats, and even more uncomfortable about the possibility of saturated fats being good for you. Subsequently, the attacks had a whiff of pathetic desperation.
The headlines went ballistic:
Doctors slam Miranda Kerr’s coconut oil habit
Experts warn against Miranda’s coconut oil habit (you’d think they were talking about cocaine!)
Experts doubt coconut oil will give you a body like Miranda Kerr’s (d’uh)
Miranda Kerr touts coconut oil, experts baulk
Wow, some strong words there. This stuff must be truly poisonous. Let’s see what the experts had to say.
“But experts said the oil, which is a saturated fat with a high calorie count and few vitamins and minerals, should not be consumed in such large doses, ABC News reported. The World Health Organization has also warned the oil could contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease if taken to excess. Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the oil will not give you the body of a supermodel.
“She’s getting two and a half times the amount of saturated fat I would recommend for a person consuming 2,000 calories per day,” he said.
Dr. Robert Eckel, director of the General Clinical Research Center at Colorado Health Science University in Denver, also expressed concerns about the effect of the oil on a person’s cholesterol.
“Saturated fat intake does contribute to LDL [low-density lipoprotein] cholesterol, and that has been pretty well documented by research,” Eckel said referring to “bad” cholesterol.
Now I’m not advocating to listen to any celebrity for diet advice. But in Miranda’s defense:
1. She didn’t advocate that everybody does it
2. She is not talking about injecting bacterial toxins or getting a surgical cut to insert silicone balloons in her chest. It’s a natural product and a big part of the traditional diets of the Pacific populations, for crying out loud.
3. There are plenty of experts out there who will be willing to bet their career that coconut oil is good for you. Wonder why nobody interviewed them.
A few days ago Miranda put this message on her personal blog (the blog which incidentally has articles on organic farming, milk alternatives and gluten-free food) :
“I never did an interview with Australian Cosmopolitan magazine and unfortunately they have misquoted and misrepresented comments posted on my blog. When it comes to coconut oil, I personally find it beneficial and use approximately four teaspoons of coconut oil a day (in my salads and meals), not tablespoons. Everyone is different, but that is what works for me and I prefer it as a substitute to other oils more readily used in day-to-day food preparation and cooking. I suggest people consult with their health practitioner for what is right for them.”
Miranda’s perfect complexion might be good enough reason for some to indulge, albeit guiltily, in some coconut treats. For those of us who prefer more convincing arguments, here are some easy-to-read sources that are good to share with your fat-phobic friends.
1. Mary Enig PhD “Latest studies on coconut oil”
2. B.F. Fife “Coconut oil and health” Page 49 from “Coconut revival:new possibilities for the “tree of life” Proceedings of the International Coconut Forum 2005
3. Coconut Research Centre (also contains a collection of scientific articles)
4 G.Taubes “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie? ” the original and still the best article on anti-fat hysteria