Even small desserts can contribute a lot of calories to your daily intake.
If you've got a sweet tooth, the thought of cutting out desserts may prevent you from starting a weight loss diet. But, it's important for your overall wellness to maintain a healthy weight. You can still have some desserts while working to lose weight, but you'll want to cut back on the portion size, choose wisely and some days skip desserts altogether.
In order to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. This means you're taking in fewer calories per day than your body burns as energy. You can create this deficit by increasing your activity level or decreasing your calorie intake. Successful weight loss plans usually incorporate both components. To lose 1 pound of your body weight, you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories, according to MayoClinic.com.
Unfortunately, desserts are usually high in calories. One dessert may contribute as many calories a whole meal should. A small slice of store-bought chocolate cake has roughly 250 calories, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you eat it with half a cup of ice cream, that bumps your dessert intake to about 400 calories. This could be a significant portion of your daily calorie allowance when working towards weight loss. On an 1,800-calorie-per-day diet, for example, this one dessert is about 22 percent of your daily calories.
Fitting In Desserts
If you plan ahead for it, you may be able to fit a small dessert into your weight loss menu. You'll probably need to limit portions at a meal or skip a snack in order to use calories on a dessert. But, as long as you don't go over your daily calorie goal, you should still lose weight. Eat desserts that are lower in fat or sugar, such as fruit sorbet or fat-free frozen yogurt, to limit calories. Fruit, such as strawberries or dates, makes for a sweet, but healthy, treat as well.
Risks of Eating Dessert
If eating desserts prevents you from losing weight, you may want to rethink your habits. According to the Weight-control Information Network, being overweight may increase your risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. If you're eating dessert foods instead of meals or whole foods, such as vegetables and whole grains, you may not be meeting your daily nutrient needs. Over time, this may lead to deficiencies. But, sticking to a healthy eating plan and losing even 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight may reduce your risk of complications, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.