Everything you know about gluten, coconut oil and sugar is bunk

Dieters are constantly getting tripped up by so-called magic bullets — think coconut oil or the latest gluten-free alternative — and it’s “paralyzing” their health journey, registered dietitian Jaclyn London writes in her new book, “Dressing on the Side” (Grand Central Life & Style).

“These myths . . . make people feel like there’s no way [they] can get a handle on [their] health,” says London, a Midtown resident and nutrition director for Good Housekeeping. She advises her patients to be skeptical of diet trends — especially these four.

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs or plants, such as chaga or maca, that supposedly “adapt” to the needs of your body, leading to mind-body perks (better energy, an immunity boost). But, “there’s virtually zero science on the actual efficacy of these products,” London writes.

Coconut oil

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Early studies about coconut oil helping to burn belly fat were too good to be true: The studies used small groups who were already on weight- loss diets, London writes. There really isn’t much data to support its health benefits. The drawbacks, on the other hand, have been thoroughly studied for years, with research and dietary guidelines suggesting a link between its saturated fat and high cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Gluten free

Unless you actually have diagnosed celiac disease, going gluten-free can actually make you gain weight, if you’re leaning on certain gluten-free alternative products, London says. “The protein (gluten) is removed from nutritious, filling, high-fiber foods,” she says. The result? “A more processed, refined-carb, high-sodium and saturated-fat-filled alternative.”

Sugar bans

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London calls sugar addiction the queen of all diet myths because of its recent reputation as an addictive substance similar to narcotics. The belief that you have “no control” over sugar’s supposedly addictive pull ignores the real reason why you might be reaching for those vending machine candies — stress, boredom, dehydration, not eating a satisfying enough meal, for example, London writes, which can stymie diet efforts. Still, she advises, “think about where and when you eat sugar,” she says — sweet breakfasts and sugary green juices, for example. “We were meant to eat sugar as an occasional dessert, not as a part of every meal, from insidious sources,” she says.

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