We hope it goes without saying, but just to be sure: Taking health advice from celebrities is never a sure bet. They’re a) not experts, b) often telling you partial truths about their habits for the sake of good PR and c) frequently misquoted. As is the case with Miranda Kerr‘s latest coconut oil controversy: The new mom and supermodel was recently quoted by Australian Cosmopolitan as touting the benefits of coconut oil, saying that her daily diet includes four tablespoons of the stuff—an amount that many doctors say is risky for cholesterol levels. But Kerr says the magazine never interviewed her at all, and while she is a coconut oil devotee, she doesn’t consume nearly so much. Either way, we don’t think you should start dumping coconut oil in your cooking just yet.
Cosmo described Kerr’s gorgeous skin, hair, nails and figure to her coconut oil habit, quoting her as saying:
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.
But ABC News questioned whether her habit was good for the rest of us. Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told them that regular coconut oil consumption isn’t advisable—not only will it fail to get you looking like a supermodel; it could get you one step closer to high cholesterol and heart disease, thanks to the oil’s high saturated fat content:
I can’t say I’d want people consuming lots of coconut oil. You should use it sparingly. You want to cut back on saturated fats in your diet. I don’t know what benefit it would have for weight management because it has just as many calories as any other fat. 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
But Kerr says the quote that started this whole debate was bunk to begin with. After medical attacks on her health habits, she told the Herald Sun:
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.
Which brings us back to our first point: Don’t take all your health advice from celebrities, okay?