Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know that when we’re first trying to lose weight, one of our first instincts is to say goodbye to desserts.
But according to some recent research, you might be surprised to learn that people who ate dessert (and had a choice of what they will have at the beginning of a meal) ended up consuming more healthier foods and fewer total calories than people who selected their main course meals and then decided on dessert!
There’s a science to how desserts impact our physical and emotional health.
Let’s get one thing straight – desserts are, most of the time, empty calories. However, if consuming desserts can help your diet feel more sustainable or allow you to eat fewer total calories overall, then there is definitely a case to be made for it.
Researchers from the study cited above placed two dessert options – cheesecake and fresh fruit – at the beginning of a cafeteria line in a local college.
What they found was that when students passed by and chose the higher-calorie dessert (before selecting any other foods to add to their meal,) their meals ended up being lower in total calories than the people who picked the low-calorie dessert (or didn’t select one altogether.)
People who picked the healthier alternative might have actually thought that they did something good for their health when opting for fresh fruit, but they ended up racking up more calories down the cafeteria line via higher-calorie main course meals.
Not only that, but additional research found that eating a sweet treat alongside their breakfast would actually help the people who followed low-calorie diets to maintain and improve weight loss results.
The people who ate dessert alongside their breakfast ended up losing a similar amount of weight as people who skipped their morning dessert during the 4-month period of the study. The former group lost about 15 extra pounds on average, while those who restricted their sweets regained, on average, 22 pounds.
This just goes to show that when you’re trying to deprive your body of something, you’re likely going to end up putting it on a pedestal and start obsessing over it. Over time, this leads to binges.
Sure, dessert can be high in calories, fat, and sugar, but if the rest of your day is made up of healthy and nutritious meals, eating dessert is completely fine.
And let’s not forget – eating dessert can help you build willpower and add sustainability to your diet.
According to some studies, sweets and desserts in your cupboards will help you build willpower. While these findings might initially seem counterintuitive, the one main message that you need to internalize is that banishing the food temptations will not be the best way to limit the amount you eat.
What you should do is focus on smarter portion sizes, better meal organization, and adding new healthy foods to your diet instead of limiting your intake of foods you really enjoy. That’s a strategy that will help you lose weight consistently without being overly restrictive with yourself.
The bottom line is…
While some of us might be lead to believe that fruit-based desserts tend to be healthier than a handful of sweets, research has shown that all types of desserts are fair game in a balanced and healthy diet. But you have to listen to your hunger signals. If you’re always opting for low-calorie, low-sugar versions of the foods you’re craving, this will likely end up backfiring on you because you tend to overeat when you’re not as satisfied.
Researchers and experts suggest that you should choose your desserts in advance whenever possible, but this means that you have to be honest with yourself on the type of dessert you’re having and pay attention to your overall portion sizes and food selection.
One of the best ways you can add more management and organization into your diet is by keeping a food log – this will allow you to become more aware of what and how much you’re actually consuming, as well as the patterns and signals that result in you reaching for a slice of chocolate cake as opposed to a banana.
And finally, always make sure that, when you’re eating that dessert that you know won’t contribute to your weight loss goals, make sure to savor every moment and actually enjoy it instead of plowing through it – that’s a recipe for overindulging.