Victoria's secret model Miranda Kerr swears by coconut oil, but is it healthy?

Nadine Bells
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

Last month, Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr credited her clear skin, glossy hair and great figure to coconut oil.

“I personally take four tablespoons of coconut oil per day, either on my salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea,” the model and mother of one told Australian Cosmopolitan magazine.

Mrs. Orlando Bloom’s beauty-secret confession resulted in a reported spike in coconut-oil sales in the U.K., with a more than 50 per cent increase at national health-food chain, Holland & Barrett’s.

[See also: Steal her style: Miranda Kerr's Simple Skinny Belt]

A four-tablespoon of coconut oil contains a daunting 468 calories. Is this “secret” worth trying?

Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says no. Coconut oil is a saturated fat, boasting few vitamins and minerals.

"You want to cut back on saturated fats in your diet," Ayoob told ABC News. "I don't know what benefit it would have for weight management because it has just as many calories as any other fat."

He also says that Kerr's fat intake is about 2.5 times the amount recommended for someone consuming a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.

Dr. Robert Eckel, director of the General Clinical Research Center at Colorado Health Science University in Denver, agrees.

"The types of fat in coconut oil raise concerns about how her cholesterol is doing," he told ABC. "It would be interesting to know what her LDL (bad) cholesterol intake was before she started this and what it is now.”

Holland & Barrett’s nutritionist, Kate Butler, reportedly makes skin-and-hair claims about the oil, but doesn't mention the weight-management topic.

“The small molecular structure of coconut oil allows for easy absorption through the skin, giving it a soft, smooth texture,” Butler says.

“This makes it an ideal ointment for the relief of dry, rough skin, and an effective after-sun lotion because it literally melts into your skin. Coconut oil works wonderfully as a hair conditioner too."

Ayoob told ABC News he’d sooner recommend dieters indulge in an ounce of dark chocolate, as it “probably has more nutritional benefit than coconut oil. And it’s certainly going to be more satisfying.”

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