Dare I Question Jillian Michaels?
At the gym, I couldn't help but peek at the magazine with Jillian Michaels on the cover. For anyone who doesn't watch reality TV, she's the tough-as-nails fitness trainer from The Biggest Loser. Now that she's a star, she's offering nutrition advice. My only fear is that people are listening.
In the article, the reporter describes how Jillian gives her a cup of coffee with coconut milk. Jillian explains that the coconut milk is "super good for you, and has more vitamin D than regular milk". Huh???
The reality is, coconut milk is very high in saturated fat, which is known to increase the risk of heart disease. And it contains no vitamin D. In fact, a cup of coconut milk has 552 calories and a whopping 57 grams of saturated fat. That's more saturated fat than a stick of butter! While virgin coconut oil has become the in-thing in many health food circles, there is very little scientific research to support most of the health claims.
On the other hand, a cup of whole milk is only 150 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat. And yes, it is an excellent source of vitamin D. Use a reduced fat version and you'll save even more calories. If you're trying to lose weight and protect your heart, which would you rather put in your coffee?
Jillian Michaels' expertise is in fitness training. And of course, she's a celebrity. So does that make her an expert in nutrition? Does she understand biochemistry and how to examine scientific research? Be careful who you listen to for nutrition advice. Just something to think about over your next cup of coffee. And be sure to use the milk.
Kim Kulp, RD
* USDA Nutrient Database