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Weight Loss Myth? Dessert Can't Be Dinner

Fitday Editor

Dessert gets a bad reputation among those who are watching their weight because of all of the calories that just one small serving can pack. However, sometimes the "forbidden fruit" aspect of desserts can make overindulging on sweets all the more tempting. But, when you consider replacing an entire meal with just one sweet tooth-satisfying treat, it seems like there's no way that you're making the right decision--until you consider a few facts.

How Desserts Can Keep Cravings under Control

If it was extremely simple to cut out all sweets from one's diet, no one would bother with desserts, which are typically just superfluous additions to the foods you eat for energy and nutrient intake throughout the day. Most people are tempted by desserts, so if you cut them out of your diet entirely, it can be all the more difficult for you to master your cravings the one time you cave in and have a sweet, making it highly likely that you'll overindulge. However, if you reward yourself by replacing one dinner once a week or so with a sweet, you can keep temptation at bay and avoid indulging the rest of the week.

Desserts Have Fewer Calories

The reason why desserts are regarded as calorie-laden indulgences is because you're most likely getting all of your calories for the day from your meals. Adding a dessert to a full dinner will just add extra calories you don't need. However, when you don't eat the meal itself, you'll have room to have a sweet instead. For example, a typical full-course dinner might range somewhere from 500 to 1000 calories, but desserts range from about 80 calories to 350 calories.That means if you choose the sweet over the meal, you'll actually be cutting back on your calorie intake for the day--which seems like a smart idea if you're trying to lose weight!

Of course, you shouldn't often replace an entire meal with just a dessert because many sweets offer empty calories with no nutritional benefit. Desserts also won't fill you up or give you as much energy as a full-course meal.

Choosing Better Desserts

Despite their poor reputation, not all desserts offer only empty calories. Ice creams and yogurts are often rich in calcium and fresh or frozen fruit on its own, mixed with yogurt or covered in whipped cream, can make for delicious desserts that offer all of the vitamins and nutrients associated with the fruit food group. That's not to say that you should skimp out on a full meal often, but if you're going to choose the dessert over the meal, look for one with at least some nutritional benefits.

Replacing an entire meal with a dessert can be a smart idea if you do so only rarely, and you make up for the indulgence by eating balanced meals the rest of the time and working out regularly. Picking out the healthier desserts can also make the indulgence a better idea than you'd think.

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