Sweets get a bad rap, and yes, many are not good for you, especially if they’re packaged and processed or contain many added sugars, excess saturated fats and calories. So, if you’re dieting or looking to lower your sugar and carbohydrate intake, you may dismiss desserts altogether with the mindset that they’re off limits when it comes to regulating blood sugar or dropping those stubborn pounds.
However, quitting sugar completely can backfire, as you may begin to feel deprivation and struggle to stay on track with your clean diet in general. That’s why indulging in sweets here and there can actually benefit you, as less restriction and more freedom for a balanced diet will make it easier to stick with your clean eating goals.
Instead, eating sweets in moderation is the best way to integrate them into a wholesome diet, where you eat low-sugar and perhaps low-carb about 90 percent of the time, and then have some fun for that remaining 10 percent—after all, you’ve got to live, right? The ability to eat sweets in proper doses on a regular basis will help you keep your diet in check, without feeling restricted and dissatisfied. Here’s why you’ll benefit from enjoying dessert on occasion, as well which treats are best to choose that’ll both satisfy your sweet tooth and actually have some nutritional value, too.
You’ll Overdo it When You Do Indulge
When you ditch sweets completely, you may feel a need to “go all out” when you do splurge—yet it can backfire and throw you off course. Resist the urge to overeat when you do give in to your sweet craving and decide to indulge in a slice of birthday cake or a fresh chocolate chip cookie from your favorite bake shop.
The next thing you know, you’re at three slices of cake or several cookies—where you’re unable to stop at just one serving, as it’s so good, and you’re unsure of when you’ll get the next opportunity to indulge. Plus, beyond just overdoing it and taking in excess calories, carbs, fat and sugar (as well as potentially getting a nasty stomach ache from eating too many sweets at once!), you may end up losing your willpower and momentum to get back on track.
It’ll Be Harder to Enjoy the Clean Foods You’re Eating
If you have a lingering feeling of deprivation and unsettled cravings, it’ll be harder to enjoy the green vegetables and lean proteins on your plate—you’ll just be dreaming of brownies and waffles in your mind!
However, if you let yourself have dessert a few times in the week, or perhaps a very light treat each day, like one square of vegan dark chocolate to end a meal, you’ll find it easier and more exciting when you try new healthy recipes and explore different nutritious foods and clean cooking techniques at home. And of course, the best way to stay on track with a healthy and low-sugar diet is by thoroughly enjoying the healthy meals and snacks you’ve added to your meal plan.
You Can Find Sweets That Don’t Break Your Diet
The right kind of sweet matters most, so you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing wisely by picking desserts that don’t wreck your diet and can even offer nutritional value. Plus, it’s actually easy to find healthy treats containing protein, good fats, fiber and heart-healthy sweeteners that don’t spike blood sugar or contribute to weight gain when consumed in moderate doses.
For example, instead of eating a cookie or cake for a regular, go-to sweet in the week (you’re better off saving these for special occasions or when dining out!), enjoy a cookie-flavored protein bar or truffle that has a rich dose of plant protein, unsaturated fats, fiber and a little bit of sweetener. Or go for a keto cookie, as they’re often just as delicious as their high-carb and high-sugar counterparts.
Choosing the right sweetener is key, such as stevia, allulose, erythritol or monk fruit—all of which are keto and diabetes friendly due to their less severe or negligible impact on blood sugar levels. And this way you’ll be able to satisfy your craving without going overboard.
To take it further, subtract the grams from these sweeteners along with the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates listed on the label to find the net carb value, a.k.a. the number of carbs the body digests to use as energy. (The grams found in these sweeteners and fiber are passed through the body, undigested and absorbed.)
This makes it easy to keep sweets in the diet, and even consider them to be a snack, especially if there’s substantial protein and fiber to keep you fuller for longer. Reading labels and finding reliable brands will be most helpful in simplifying the meal planning process, where you’ll have ready-to-eat snacks and desserts all week long.