“Dangerous habits” of celebrities

I’m still doing research and writing on children and catch up growth. This is a just little interlude.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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
Habit harmful
Hollow promise

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

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45 thoughts on ““Dangerous habits” of celebrities

  1. I agree with you 100%. It’s absurd that people put so much faith in what celebrities say; just because they say it (or maybe they think they’re giving away their highly paid secrets?)

    The rub of the gin is that I read the original article and thought, “Here it comes…” completely ignoring it after that.

    What people don’t bother to think about surprises me. Or maybe that’s because I’m not much of one to be star-struck. Seriously though, if she’s doing so “bad” then why doesn’t it show? She’s got to be puking it all up right? Doubtful.

    I wish she had taken a stronger stand against people though.

  2. Speaking of breastfeeding, thank you for the opportunity to post a link to my favorite photo of Miranda Kerr:

    Also, as one of your readers who is over 35, I would like to point out that we have access to a wide variety of feature films here in the nursing home.

    I will leave it to others to say something pithy about coconut oil.

    • Lol I’m glad that Orlando Bloom is known across the nursing homes as well. I had to look up the Jersey Shore cast members to ensure correct spelling. So I feel over the hill in regards to pop culture myself. Thank you for the lovely picture.

  3. Most thin movie stars eat paleo but they won’ t admit it because they don’t want to go through media dog fights like this one.

    • I have no formal acquaintance with any stars but yes, I’d imagine that they do not eat at Maccas and KFC. Plus they probably work out for hours. I mean, have you seen Cameron Diaz’s arms recently?

  4. There is a nice new paper here showing the benefits of regular Coconut oil consumption.
    Dietary coconut oil intake was positively associated with high density lipoprotein cholesterol especially among pre-menopausal women, suggesting that coconut oil intake is associated with beneficial lipid profiles
    Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines
    I weighed out 9.5g of coconut oil and it’s around 2 tablespoons daily. = 6 teaspoons. Half what was claimed Miranda took but a little more than the 4 teaspoons she actually admits to.

    Another Coconut oil paper used 30ml ( 2 tablespoons daily) combined with additional exercise and found coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity with HDL again rising with CO.

    • I have come across quite a few papers but I seem to remember a paper showing that coconut oil can cause a rise in LDL. That fact alone is enough to cause some nutritionists and cardiologists some serious concerns. Never mind that coconut oil also raises HDL and drops triglycerides. They would have people losing abdo fat, feeling better, losing hunger but they will still obsess over one number.

      • That’s one of the reasons why it’s helpful to have access to the full text of the paper concerned.
        There is a special kind of Coconut oil that is made for research labs where the coconut oil is actually hydrogenated. This makes it particularly useful for causing heart disease in rats.
        However in the real world coconut oil is not hydrogenated as it stays solid at room temperature.
        There is however an advantage to using Virgin Coconut oil rather than the cheaper CO.
        Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation.VCO obtained by wet process has a beneficial effect in lowering lipid components compared to CO. It reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, LDL, and VLDL cholesterol levels and increased HDL cholesterol in serum and tissues. The PF of virgin coconut oil was also found to be capable of preventing in vitro LDL oxidation with reduced carbonyl formation.

        • I have heard that they have previously used trans-modified coconut oil. I didn’t know that this is where the LDL data came from. Very interesting, thank you Edward. I might do a bit more reading on coconut oil and maybe do a post in the future.

  5. Good gravy, the hypothisis that saturated fat is so absurd it never should have even been considered. Oh let’s see basically the primary sort of fat man ate for most of his life that must be something we can’t deal with… yeah… so instead let’s eat piles of seed fats we never experienced until the modern era, those must be what we’re designed to eat.

  6. I was sent a link to your blog a few weeks ago and I have just had a proper look through – I love it! I actually wrote a post mentioning the whole Miranda Kerr coconut oil situation last week, where I criticised nutritionists for continuing to promote misleading information. One of the articles I read about Miranda Kerr actually told readers to eat chocolate instead, as it has less calories and will give you more satisfaction!

  7. Coconut oil is a miracle! I have been using it for over 6 months and I have so many improvements in my blood work that my doctor told me it was “the blood of a 20 year old!” (I am over 60) and that was from the coconut/mct oil. Previous to that I kept having to fight them to stay off statins. My HDL rose to 62, my LDL sank to 89 and my triglycerides went to 98. Previous to this my Lipid panels were terrible and I could never seem to bring my HDL up to 40 and at one point my Triglycerides were almost 300. The coconut oil is what brought them into line. I now mix 50/50 coconut and 100% mct oils to get a higher, longer lasting level of ketones.

    Speaking of breastfeeding, coconut oil has the same fats as human breast milk! It has antimicrobial and anti-fungal qualities and is a great beauty treatment for face, skin and hair! It is a known help for Alzheimer’s and also helps remove all kinds of brain fog diseases. The brain prefers it to glucose.

    DH just got his blood work back and the doctor was impressed particularly with his testosterone level which was 729 (740 is the high according to lab norms) and his PSA was 1.1 (0.0-4.0 norm) The doctor was again amazed and kept saying, but that is the level of a 20 year old! His HDL was 83 too. He has been taking it only a couple of months, by the way. It starts to show differences very quickly in the blood, brain and energy levels!

    As I said, it is a miracle worker!

    PS: It makes very tasty low carb sugar free candy too!

    • Mary, this is exactly the type of account I hear people give of the coconut oil. To demonise it because it is a saturated fat is ludicrous. To demonise saturated fats is ridiculous full stop. I’m sure you are the envy of many other women your age! Congrats on the great blood work results. I have read most WAPF articles on this subject. They are doing a great job introducing people to this fantastic natural product.

  8. It’s so entertaining to read what the celebs are into (guess it’s a change from reading about their sex/love lives). I particularly loved the recent foray into ‘baby food’. Sadly I didn’t read any of the articles to know whether the actress in question (was it Reese Witherspoon?) was eating small amounts of mushy veges (probably relatively healthy), or little jars of purchased baby food.

    Best not to think too much about it I’d say. (Bit like the only-cabbage-soup diet!)

    Deb

    • I heard about baby food diet as well. Hilarious. You might as well have nutrients pumped directly into your vein for all the “enjoyment” that mushy foods would provide.

  9. Apparently, there is no coconut oil in Europe. I live in USA now. During summer I went to Russia for a long visit and took some amount (about 1 liter)of coconut oil with me for cooking just in case. When I saw the bottom of the jar and tried to find it, no one even heard of such thing. Then my son went to London before coming to Moscow. I told him to buy that coconut oil there. He manage to find some only in a store for people with African type of hair and it was sold as a hair product.

    • Yes, that would be due to the distinct lack of coconut trees in Russia :). My mother (lives in St.P) always laments the lack of olive oil as well. Everything is cooked in sunflower oil over there. I still remember the taste of blinis cooked in sunflower. Needless to say I am trying to get them back onto butter. Thanks for the tip: when I go for a visit I’ll take a huge jar of coconut oil.

    • I buy mine online! It is cheaper than a health food store and if you are going to have to pay shipping, buy enough at one time to only pay once for several batches of oils. Also, if you are going to take some with you on a visit out of town/country, etc. Have the oil shipped to that address rather than to your home address… makes it much easier on everyone.

  10. Olive oil is available in every store in Moscow. I was not much surprised when I didn’t find coconut oil in Moscow, that is why I took some with me. Lack of it in London was unexpected. The main reason for my long visit to Russia was getting my mother on a LC diet and convincing her to move away from sunflower oil when she cooks. I love that flavor in salads and sauerkraut without it doesn’t taste right for me. Probably it is fanny to make a sauerkraut in Florida, but even my son (who left Russia at 3 y.o., no he is 18) eats it and it is very convenient to get it from the fridge when it is not time to make a salad. I brought glucose-miter with me to Moscow and with its help demonstrated to my mom that eggs were better choice for a breakfast than an oatmeal and any bread raised her BS to unacceptable level. She lost 22 lb as a result of my intervention and manage to get from her blood pressure medication. Low-fat and healthy-whole grain propaganda is on the rise in Russia and nobody heard about LC eating, my mother was afraid to eat eggs at the beginning.

    • Congrats on making some headway with your Mum. My parents (both live in Russia) still eat a pretty traditional diet (butter, full cream milk, holodets) but they also eat A LOT OF bread and grains. Big challenge.

  11. I’ve been eating coconut oil and using it for cooking ever since I read Mary Enig and Sally Fallon’s “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” more than 6 years ago. When I’m home, I probably eat more than two tablespoons most days as I not only put it in my coffee, but use it to cook with. Not only that, it’s the only thing I put on my skin to moisturize it. I haven’t had a serious sunburn in ages, and as a So Cal resident, I see a lot of the sun and rarely, if ever, use sunscreen. I believe Mary and Bruce Fife when they say it’s “the healthiest oil one can consume.” Ridiculous to be so phobic about something that is the mainstay of many traditional diets throughout the Pacific–and has been for probably aeons! I’m disappointed that Myranda seemingly caved and modified her message to placate the diet dictocrats.
    Mary, I’m not a fan of Dr. Oz–I think he gets it wrong on so many counts–but in his defense, I will say that I think he has recently changed his stance on coconut oil. (At least that’s what I hear from people who actually watch him, which isn’t I.) That’s a good thing, because he does have a lot of influence, with his TV show and everything. Unfortunately, most of the time his influence is used to parlay the wrong message.

    • Peggy, I’m with you: it’s ludicrous to accuse something natural, healthy, used for thousands of years, and at the same time promote a new-fangled industrially produced food substance (canola oil and the like) as the healthy alternatives. I can understand why she caved in: she is not a doctor/researcher/nutritionist to be able to defend herself against the old boys anti-fat club.
      I also use coconut oil as a moisturizer. Imagine the wrath from cosmetics companies if you start promoting a product which is relatively cheap and cuts them completely out of the picture. Aren’t they the ones telling us we need day cream, night cream, anti-wrinkle cream, hand lotion, eye cream, serum, face masks, exfoliator, breakout cream etc. etc. etc. engineered in their own laboratories???

      • I’ve been using coconut oil as a weight loss aid (and all around good for you oil) for the past few years since reading “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, as well. I usually take 1.5 tbsp in warm water before breakfast (I’m currently over 200 lbs, when I get below 200 I usually switch to 1 tbsp) and 1-1.5 tbsp before lunch and dinner.

        I also use it on my face. Doesn’t seem to work as well on my very dry body. I use olive oil on my body and then do a second layer of Vanicream (I had horrible eczema last year shortly after giving birth to my son and the only thing that really made a difference was using switching to products that are formulated to be 100% hypoallergenic, I was reacting to many “natural” products as well as conventional stuff).

        I wash my hair with a baking soda solution. I use an apple cider vinegar solution as a conditioner (but I seem to be needing it less and less, especially since I got all my “dead” ends cut off).

        I wash my face with olive oil (leave on then scrub it off with a wash cloth) followed by the baking soda solution. The moisturize with coconut oil (hoping it will help minimize breakouts, seems to make a difference).

        I’m not spending any more than I absolutely have to in the “beauty” aisles. Yeah, I’m super crunchy. : )

        • Very interesting. I always wondered what women used to do before we had Pantene. Surely they didn’t walk around with greasy hair all the time. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar sound intriguing. Tanks for the tip. Rachel.

  12. “Mary and Bruce Fife” should read “Mary Enig and Bruce Fife.” Sorry for the mislead.

  13. Great post Anastasia!!

    I drink it daily…anywhere from 2-4 oz shot, yes from a shot glass, some days it’s a single shot, some days it’s a double. Far better than alcohol!!

    The media and the doctors who slammed her are stupid!! The FAT phobic & Vegan world can just shove it!! Paleo is where it’s at, it’s where I am, and it’s where I’ll be when I’m chasing down my food while the rest of them are long since gone!!
    Tim

    Click on my name for my blog, and find me on facebook at

    http://facebook/com/bigtimsprimaljourney

    • Tim, a shot glass of coconut oil? Hmm that gives me ideas… And yes, I’m hoping that eventually WE will reach the critical mass required to populate the western world :))

      • If I can’t work it into my meal as part of my meal (salad dressing, etc.) I take mine from a measuring spoon (Tablespoon size) and I take 2 of them. Thanks for the good idea about the shot glass, I have several of those and that would be much easier… mmmm wonder if I can lick the shot glass the way I do the measuring spoon… I don’t like to waste any of it. I saved a large olive oil bottle with no drip pourer and keep my oil mixed in that (1/2 MCT oil and 1/2 coconut oil) this stays in a liquid state on the counter top even in winter because the MCT oil keeps it from going solid. This is what I keep on the counter for easy pour-ability. It also can be used as one would olive oil for making homemade mayo or salad dressing, etc. MCT oil reaches peak ketone levels in 90 minutes, but it leaves the body faster too and coconut oil does not reach peak ketone level until 3 hours, but stays longer… the 2 mixed 50/50 have distinct advantages over either one alone. These mix keeps the highest amount of ketones in the body for the longest time too!

  14. Thank you for writing this article. It really infuriates me to see all of the negative media attention drawn to her because of that statement that she uses a natural oil to keep herself healthy. I know these “journalists” are trying to make a buck but they are completely ignorant on the subject. And the doctors who warn against its usage – they must be getting paid off for it somehow. They are making drama out of nothing.

    After I started using coconut oil on my skin I have not had to use makeup to hide blemishes and I feel like I look as good on the outside as I do on the inside. I will be pass this along to the people I know and I hope others do the same. Thanks again!

    • I hope that the publicity generated about this issue will actually help someone get the right facts. Ditto on the skin issues. See my reply to Peggy. And it’s my pleasure :)

  15. I remember reading the numerous articles regarding this and thinking it WAS ridiculous that not ONE outlet found a person to stand up for her and her way of eating. I think America is a great place to live, but between the government building us a faulty food pyramid and the media only telling us what the majority of people believe in, our country is doing us a disservice. The poor girl was asked what she does, she told them, and then she was attacked as if she told us if we didn’t do it we’d all die… ugh. Unfortunately I am not one of those people who can walk away from someone who is beyond incredulous in how I eat now,… I feel the need to “prove” to them… just need to find the middle ground.

    • Yes Tonja, you need to pick your battles. Can’t argue with people who are beyond our help. There are plenty of those who are dissatisfied, frustrated and looking for answers. And middle ground is a good place to start.

  16. OH MY GOSH! A celebrity that is maybe…. wait… normal! It still amazes me after all these years that the “media hype” over such a small thing like breast feeding your child or coconut oil manages to take headlines… All because Miranda Kerr was the person of focus…. I just hope in our life time they can concern themselves with providing the public with useful information, like childhood obesity, the advertising of “kid’s foods” on TV I think could be a more suitable headline for the media to acknowledge! And just for the final say, I’ve seen Miranda in the real and close up, and as far as I’m concerned, she was a picture of health…. and damn gorgeous!!!

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  19. Expect advice and doctors are part of an ongoing society that says saturated fats are linked to heart disease and raises bad cholesterol. This is in fact a myth. There is no correlation and the studies have all been observational. When society introduced vegetable oils and wheat into society, that’s when heart disease and obesity increased. Saturated fats have been consumed for millions and millions of years, and now it’s correlated to heart disease? Nope. False.

    Coconut oils have middle chain triglycerides, which doesn’t need your liver to aid in the digestion process. In fact, if you do enough research (instead of incorrectly labeling celebrities with their lifestyles), you’d find out that there are two kinds of bad cholesterols that arise from fats. The small and dense kind (free radicals that are easy to oxidize), and the large and fluffy kind (can’t be oxidized). Coconut oils helps immensely, and there are extreme benefits for diabetics who are on a low carb diet.

    Experts are NO where to be seen when you see true athletes and normal healthy people who consume coconut oil a day. But are seen when obese patients (who’ve stayed away from saturated fats thanks to mainstream media) and tell them to eat less. And when an athlete what is healthy for them, doctors mutter.. “bah humbug” refusing to figure out why.

    In fact, there was a 3 year study that included 300 women finding out that there is NO correlation between saturated fats and heart disease. Where’s your doctors now??

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