Dr. NavNirat Nibber is an ND and Medical Advisor at Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR).
In reality, healthy whole food diets can be indulgent and delicious. Eating a whole foods diet means a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, with no highly processed foods. Rich flavors exist in nature if we are attuned to them.
Here are a few tips to satisfy that sweet tooth without compromising your health.
Are there health benefits to eating dessert?
We want to ensure that our blood sugar doesn’t fall too low, causing hypoglycemia. Consuming a sweeter snack or dessert would achieve this, although low blood sugar can usually be managed with meals.
And having a sweet tooth is normal. We do have a natural response to wanting sweet, some people even have it in their genetics!
But more importantly, there are many health benefits to not depriving oneself. In general, deprivation is a bad idea when it comes to weight management, because it can lead to flying off the handle (cheat meals that turn into cheat weekends).
There is also a large social and emotional attachment to eating and enjoyment, so the concept of sustainable weight loss means integrating life-long changes. We should encourage a healthy relationship with sweet foods rather than completely deprive ourselves. For example, you should be able to eat birthday cake at birthday celebrations.
Our bodies have developed a very complex machinery and processes that help us convert these sweets into energy, so they aren’t horrible. We just need to be cognizant of the type of sweet, and how much we are asking our bodies to process at a time! So pace yourself!
Tips For Eating Dessert And Losing Weight
Reset your sugar tolerance
Many of us have a major sweet tooth- unfortunately we have flooded our system with processed sugars so our perception of sweet becomes completely skewed. Not only do processed sugars spike our blood sugar decreasing our insulin sensitivity, but they activate reward pathways in our brain triggering addictive behaviors. The best thing you can do is to reset this pathway by cutting out all sugars and then reintroducing natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and fruits. Start with a 15 day sugar cleanse and you will notice how little you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Create complex meals
What does a well-balanced meal look like? Well it means ensuring that you are including fiber, protein and healthy fats into your desert foods as well. This slows and quenches our blood sugar response ensuring we aren’t causing excessive spikes. For example, chia seed pudding with vanilla extract provides both sweet indulgence but keeps you full with the added fiber.
Focus on textures
Indulging is a sensory experience- so while you are avoiding cheesecake you can achieve the same sensation with a rich chocolate avocado mousse. Plus, you are getting your healthy fats without the guilt.
Beware of gluten-free deserts
While you may think you have made a healthier choice by going gluten free- these treats are often choc-full of sugars. Avoid prepackaged deserts, instead opting for homemade where you can control the amount of sugars or replace with natural sweeteners.