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By Emily Ehresman

Why cutting desserts helps you lose weight

Dessert is an important part of many families’ daily meals. When you want to lose weight, dessert is often the first thing to go. However, just how important is it to cut out dessert in order to lose weight?

Many people are surprised to hear that sugar is one of the largest contributors to fat gain. Particularly in America, added sugars–those that have been artificially added to foods and do not exist naturally–are a major problem. The average American male should be eating only 37.5 grams of sugar a day, and a female only 25 grams. To put the problem into perspective, there are 24 grams of sugar in a single Clif bar. While you may think that fat is more important to pay attention to when on a diet, your body more easily converts added sugars to stored fat than it does added fats. With this in consideration, it becomes obvious why cutting dessert should be the first step when you go on a diet.

A big problems with desserts is that the added sugars (in desserts and in any other food) make the food addictive. Sugar activates the same dopamine reward pathways in your brain as do drugs and other addictive substances. It may be tempting to simply let yourself continue eating dessert. However, cutting dessert will put you well on your way to losing weight. Given that in America, 63% of calorie consumption is from added fats, sugars and grains, cutting out some of that sugar will reduce your calorie intake. A single piece of chocolate cake can have somewhere around 350 calories and 30 grams of sugar. In order to burn that amount of calories, a 150-pound person would need to use a stair stepper for 40 minutes, do low-impact aerobics for 55 minutes or run for 37 minutes.

But what can you do in place of eating dessert every night? Most people are used to the regular intake of sugars in the form of dessert after dinner. One answer is to simply remove temptation from your home. If you don’t have any cookies or ice cream in your kitchen, you won’t be able to eat them. If you are tempted to run out to pick something up, put your credit card away somewhere you won’t think about it. Instead, to satisfy your cravings, choose something with natural sugars, such as strawberries. Natural sugars are much healthier for you. Research what fruit has less sugar, since even too much natural sugar can impede your efforts to lose weight.

Next time you reach for a slice of chocolate cake, instead tell yourself to take some fruit instead. Since the average American eats 77 grams of sugar a day, cutting sugar down by choosing a healthier alternative can put you on the path for success in your efforts to lose weight. Remember, removing dessert is only one step. Cutting out other sources of sugar, maintaining a well-balanced diet full of whole grains, protein and fiber and regularly exercising are all necessary to losing weight and keeping it off. However, taking that first step puts you one step closer to your goal.

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