No more living in denial… of dessert, that is. Next time you’re out to dinner and spot that otherwise cheat day-only dessert on the menu, don’t hesitate to order it. It might make you healthier overall, a new study suggests.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, indulging in a serious sweet dessert, and not a “healthy” dessert like fruit or a piece of dark chocolate, but a satisfying, completely sweet-loaded dish that you’ve been dreaming about, can help you make healthier choices throughout the rest of the meal.
When that menu comes and you immediately go to scan the desserts section, you’re on the right track.
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The researchers surveyed 134 participants and found that those who choose an indulgent dish — a cheesecake in the case of the study — were more likely to choose a healthier entree and side dish, and those who chose the luxurious dessert were also more likely to consume fewer calories throughout the entirety of the meal — nearly 250 fewer calories!
And the psychology of it isn’t that new, the study authors show. Previous research has already delved into the idea that allowing yourself to consume something sweet (as a “treat,” even) means you’re far less likely to have random other sweets cravings and, more importantly, giving in to them.
By choosing your dessert from the start, you’re already preparing your mind — and body — for the upcoming intake of sweets, and you’ll naturally compensate for it by choosing far healthier options in the meantime.
That doesn’t mean you should opt for the most sugar- and calorie-loaded dessert with every meal, but if you happen to be craving something extra sweet that day, go for it. Just make sure you’ve been preparing for it in other ways.
See? Proof eating dessert (like these fan-favorite chocolate dishes) pays off. Enjoy the indulgence and enjoy the benefits.