Why Do You Crave Sweet Food After Eating a Meal? Part Two
Last week I talked about one reason you may crave sugar after you eat. A second common reason is that you’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of dessert as a special treat after lunch and dinner.
For a lot of people, sugar affects the reward center of their brain. It causes dopamine to release in your brain. So if you feel like eating dessert at the end of a meal makes you feel good, you may be right. If you’ve been doing this for many years, you may have gotten used to this reward feeling at the end of a meal.
Can You Eat Dessert Every Day and Still Lose Weight?
Yes, you can, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat sugar at all. But, if you’re having trouble losing weight then switching to lower sugars desserts can help you lose weight. You can try switching to artificially sweetened food, but it’s usually best to try to cut down the amount of sugar you eat per meal. This is so you can get used to the idea mentally.
This is a hard habit to break especially if you’ve had it for many years. Trying to quit cold turkey will take a lot of willpower and may end up leading you to overindulge in other foods or drinks to make up for cutting out dessert.
How to Change Your Dessert Habit
Instead, try to gradually cut back so you don’t have a rebound effect because you feel like you’ve lost something. It’s important not to associate negative feelings with cutting back on sweet food. Otherwise, it will always feel like a struggle.
There are two ways to do this, if one way doesn’t work try the other way. Try it for at least 2 weeks. Let’s say you eat Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream for dessert after dinner.
1. Gradually cut portion sizes. For example switch from 1 cup of Half Baked ice cream (54 grams of sugar) to ¾ cup to ½ cup to ¼ cup (13.5 grams of sugar).
This requires measuring honestly and some amount of self-control. If you’re having an extra bad day or an extra good day you may end up eating the whole pint of ice cream. That’s what happens to me. It’ll work best if you ask someone who lives with you to be your accountability partner, like your significant other. Otherwise, the second option may be easier to maintain.
2. Transition the type of dessert to something with less sugar. Transition to a flavor with less sugar, like Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Milk and Cookies (30 grams of sugar 1 cup). Eventually, switch to a ½ cup of lower sugar ice cream and a ½ cup of fruit or granola. Continue to transition to more fruit or granola and less ice cream. Eventually, you can even transition to 1 cup of fruit, like strawberries (7 grams of sugar), or 1 cup of granola (15 grams of sugar) by itself.
The second option may work better long term. This is because over time you’ll get used to the idea that you’re the type of person that eats fruit or granola for dessert. Then one day you may even stop keeping ice cream and other high sugar dessert foods in your house regularly.
Then when you have an extra bad day or an extra good day you won’t have easy access to ice cream. You’ll have to go out and buy it. This is important because by the time you get to the store you may decide you don’t need to eat ice cream after all. It gives you the time to stop and think about what you’re doing.
Why is This Important to You?
Switching to lower sugar foods for dessert will help you lose weight and help prevent diabetes among other things. Over 400 million people in the world have diabetes. The rate of diabetes is on the rise in children and teenagers too. Your kids, nieces, nephews, and grandkids are watching you and picking up your habits. If you’re passing on your habits wouldn’t it be great if you were passing on healthy habits? You’re all influencers in some way to someone.