There are a lot of people that are not going to be happy with me by the end of this article, but here we go…
There are lots of videos, articles and recipes around for what’s becoming very popular as “healthy desserts”.
What we need to think about is with items like agave, coconut sugar, honey, stevia or whatever – sugar is sugar – from a chemical perspective, this is how our body views sugar, our body doesn’t differentiate between sugar from dates and sugar from agave, it sees it as the same chemical compound. Sucrose is sucrose, which is a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule bonded together. Our body will always recognize that it is simply sucrose and it will metabolize it as sucrose.
There is no such thing as a healthy sugar, sugar is sugar. There are non-sugar versions or pretend sugar versions, like stevia, xylitol (sugar alcohol), erythritol. We also have artificial sweeteners (aspartame) and sucralose. There are inherent problems with these because some of them behave like sugar in the body anyway, so they rapidly spike blood sugar levels, and then insulin levels, and some of them we don’t really know what actions they take in the body – so do you really want to be consuming something we don’t know the long-term safety of?
There is a lot of research that suggests that artificial sweeteners increase hunger and promote weight gain, and most of them taste like rubbish anyway, so I ask is it really worth it?
The other thing is – dessert is dessert – it is meant to be unhealthy. Why are we trying to ruin dessert, with these “healthy” (not healthy) substitutes??? When I eat dessert, I do so knowing that I am eating dessert, knowing that it is full of sugar, knowing that I am not fighting a chronic illness, and one of the reasons that we do eat is for pleasure and enjoyment and it is absolutely ok to do that. When we have these healthy desserts, then we start to justify that we can have them more frequently – desserts aren’t meant to be eaten frequently, they are meant to be a treat, eaten sporadically, not once or multiple times per day.
If you are going indulge in the occasional treat, why bother with trying to redesign dessert and justify it in any other way – most of the time when I have tried these “healthy” desserts they just left me unsatisfied. A raw “healthy” caramel slice, is NOT a caramel slice.
When I have a dessert, I do so knowing that I am eating dessert, and the rest of the time, I know I am cooking all my own meals and having treats infrequently. I don’t eat low carb every single meal and every single day – we need to look at dietary patterns over a period of time, over a week, a month, then we start to see the healthy patterns of eating and not just on a single meal by meal assessment.
Desserts are meant to be unhealthy for us, they are meant to be decadent and enjoyed – but small amounts and infrequently, we do not need a lot, only eating enough to the point of satisfaction. Cafes and restaurants generally give you these massive servings of dessert, and we simply don’t need to eat it all, it is ok to leave some on the plate.
- Sugar is sugar, there is no such thing as healthy sugar. There are sugar alternatives like stevia, but they taste pretty rubbish. Then there are other artificial sugars, we should really just stay away from them altogether.
- If you try to make your dessert healthy, then you will tend to have them more often, and desserts should not be eaten frequently, they are a treat.
There are items in “healthy desserts” that you just shouldn’t be having in abundance – dates have just as much sugar in them as what would be in a normal regular dessert, but people think that they are healthy and they are having them more frequently and then they can’t work out why they aren’t losing weight. Meanwhile they are having balls and bliss balls and raw slices.
Honestly, anything with dates in it, you shouldn’t be having for a snack, yes it’s got fibre and yes it’s got vitamins and minerals but it’s also got tons of sugar…..and sugar is sugar.
If you are going to have dessert, do so full well knowing that you are going to be eating dessert, savour, enjoy this decadent, beautiful food, take your time, look at it, eat it in good company – not while you are watching TV – really enjoy the experience, totally guilt free. Because we know that we are doing it infrequently, we know our diet is good outside of this dessert, we know we’re exercising, fasting, we know we are doing all the right things. So, there is no need to feel guilty.
Number one, leave dessert alone, it is meant to be full of sugar.
Number two, dessert is an infrequent treat to be eaten in good company, not in front of the TV. It is to be savored, enjoyed and it is to be delicious.
Number three, sugar is sugar, there is no such thing as healthy sugar, and if someone tries to tell you otherwise, tell them its bollocks.
NOTE: If you do have a medical condition, such as insulin resistance or diabetes or associated condition, then you do need to consider avoiding dessert until you have that condition under control. So, you will need to look at other options if you do feel like something sweet; perhaps something like fresh berries and cream.
For people who are otherwise healthy, who might want to lose a bit of weight, but generally just want to be healthy, you don’t need to mess with desserts and make them healthy because at the end of the day we just don’t need to be eating them frequently.
From another perspective; if you are eating cereal for breakfast, that is full of sugar (so you are having dessert for breakfast). If you have a morning snack, say a muesli bar, that is full of sugar (so you are having dessert again). Lunchtime you might have a salad with store-bought dressing, which is high in sugar. Afternoon snack might be a yoghurt, some yoghurts have more sugar in them than ice-cream (dessert anyone?). Then at dinner you might use a packet mix sauce or sauce in a jar, which again is loaded with sugar. Then then you think because you haven’t eaten sugar all day you can have dessert, but really you have been eating sugar ALL DAY. So, when we cut out all the other sugar, by eating unprocessed/unrefined food all day, you can have a little bit of dessert and not feel guilty about it.
If you are eating well all the time, if you are exercising, if you are fasting, if any conditions you have are under control and you are generally healthy, if you are doing all the right things, then yes you can absolutely have dessert as a treat occasionally, and don’t feel guilty about it.