SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Many consumers swear by the benefits of coconut and coconut oil-based products in their diet and hygienic routine, but data from a new study suggests that the benefits may be oversold.

“Coconut oil goes along with other saturated fats in that it’s not as healthy as you think it is,” Dr. Bryant Nguyen with Sharp Grossmont Hospital. “It actually causes higher rates of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.”

The American Heart Association explained the new research and its findings in a recent advisory, which Dr, Nguyen said is based on decades of studies on saturated and unsaturated fats.

Dr. Nguyen said that in the interest of the dietary benefits of coconut oil, consumers have been misled. But as a cosmetic item used on the skin and hair, the saturated fats can be helpful.

If you’re looking for cooking oils to use in place of coconut oil in the kitchen, then you should focus your attention on polyunsaturated oils.

According to Dr, Nguyen, polyunsaturated oils are oils that won't harden or solidify at room temperature. These heart healthy oils include olive oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and walnut oil.

“There’s a lot of tendency to look at the newest and latest fad,” Dr. Nguyen said. “The basic tenet of good nutrition is minimizing caloric intake to what you need so that you don’t have excess calories. No matter how you do it- fat, sugar, protein, those are the building blocks of calories.”

For more information on coconut oil products and other health news, visit