Sales of coconut oil have gone through the roof recently after Miranda Kerr claimed it as one of her beauty secrets, but don't blame her if it doesn't turn you into a supermodel overnight. The stunningly gorgeous and totally envy-worthy Victoria's Secret Angel was reportedly misquoted when she gushed about how much she loves this slightly-obscure health product.
"I personally take around four tablespoons of coconut oil per day either on salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea. I will not go a day without Coconut Oil. It is also great for the skin and hair," the new mom recently said on her website. Or did she? "I never did an interview with Australian Cosmopolitan magazine and unfortunately they have misquoted and misrepresented comments posted on my blog," she told Australia's Herald Sun, adding that she only uses it sparingly (four teaspoons a day) and as a substitute for other less-healthy oils.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that coconut oil isn't suddenly going to give you an amazing figure, gorgeous hair, a perfect pout and Orlando Bloom, so it probably doesn't deserve the monumental hype it's receiving lately. But is there anyweight to the health claims that surround this little-known product? The reviews are mixed.
Here's the thing: Coconut oil is a fat, and one that's high in saturated fat at that. "The types of fat in coconut oil raise concerns about how her cholesterol is doing," Dr. Robert Eckel, director of the General Clinical Research Center at Colorado Health Science University in Denver told ABC News. "Saturated fat intake does contribute to LDL cholesterol, and that has been pretty well documented by research."
However, some experts claim that for a fat, it's one of the healthier ones out there. According to Dr. Melina Jampolis of CNN, coconut oil is a type of fat that's quickly metabolized by the liver, so it's less likely than other types of fat to be stored as body fat.
What's more, one study found that women with excess belly fat who regularly consummed coconut oil were able to raise good cholesterol and lose more of their mid-section jigglies than women who used soybean oil. However, keep in mind that in this case, the coconut oil was paired with a low-calorie diet and moderate exercise. In other words? It's not a miracle cure for your spare tire -- you still have to work at it.
Coconut oil, like any good fat, is high in calories, so if you're going to use it in your cooking, salads, or green tea, do so in moderation. But one way you can use it without abandon (and fear of calorie intake) is on your hair. Feel free to slather your ends in coconut oil to give them some much-needed moisture.