I’ve recently come across a fun gal who refers to herself as the Dessert Angel. She’s created a little book of dessert recipes that won’t make you fat but are geared specifically to help you burn fat. While I have noted the need for a tweak or two along the way (to taste), I’m enjoying the recipes immensely.
In the introduction to her book the Dessert Angel references a few studies that may make you smile.
In one, a group of researchers concluded that consuming the “forbidden food” decreased “wanting” thereafter.
Fifty adults ranging 25 – 33 years old consumed either cottage cheese or chocolate mousse. The two foods were matched toe-to-toe for calories. After consumption, volunteers were tested for their desire after 72 foods falling under six categories: bread, filling, drinks, dessert, sweets, stationery (placebo).
Those who had eaten the mousse showed more satisfaction and less “wanting” than those that were fed the healthier option. The researchers concluded that eating a food which doesn’t satisfy your desire may actually derail your weight loss goals by leaving you discontent; whereas enjoying a taste of what you crave may help to quench appetite and prevent overeating.
Many studies have shown that restricted diets are bound to backfire because they increase food craving. If you’re deprived of foods you love over a period of time you’re more likely to binge on them next chance you get.
Just a glance at one of the most popular weight loss programs, WeightWatchers, and you’ll see they’ve been employing this principle for centuries (okay decades, but it seems they’ve been around since the invention of the wheel). WeightWatchers allows dieters to enjoy sweets. They’re only required to count the sweet towards their total “points” for the day. WeightWatchers foods include artificial ingredients and sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and the like so we at BeWellBuzz don’t endorse them, but we recognize a shared wisdom.
Researchers at the Athens University School of Medicine also found enticing results, titling their study, “Diet Combined with Desserts with a Low Glycemic Index [GI]/Glycemic Load [GL] Has a Positive Effect on Metabolic Syndrome Parameters in Overweight/Obese Children.”
Overweight kids regularly enjoying a low Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load sweet 4x per week faired healthier and leaner than those restricting desserts to 1x per week. Specifically, the kids in the first group adapted more readily to their new healthy diet and also showed greater improvement in important markers including BMI and insulin sensitivity.
In all of these studies we see that it’s necessary for us to, essentially, be nice to ourselves. Consider it wisdom, which comes both from knowledge and experience. Doing religious violence against our desires comes back to bite us again and again; but having a little grace, being okay and not guilt ridden about our enjoyment of brownies is not only more reasonable, but more successful.
Also of importance here is the ingredient quality and the glycemic load. We complicate issues by eating desserts filled with unnatural substances. We still need to avoid toxic foods processed at high heats, with low nutrient value, artificial ingredients, GMOs, trans fats and the list goes on.
Low GL desserts will typically be higher in fat, provide more nutrients and fiber, and contain less sugar. Helen, the Dessert Angel, has a recipe for a decadent, and I mean rich chocolate pudding that provides 7.5 grams of fiber, about 26 grams of super healthy fat and probably 20+ vitamins and minerals. Because it doesn’t deprive you either of flavor or satisfying, appetite-suppressing fat and nutrition, it’s a dessert to really make you feel good.
Bottom line, start collecting favorite dessert recipes that score low on the GL chart, are lower in sugar and higher in nutrients. You might also check out the Dessert Angel for a sizeable and inexpensive collection to get you started.