Desserts are just some of the tastiest foods ever created! That sweet, heavenly goodness! Cakes, cookies, candy, doughnuts, macaroons, you name it, they are very hard to resist at times (unless you prefer savory foods, of course). Unfortunately, desserts are also known for being the most unhealthy for you mainly due to its sugar content. Sugar just has its way of damaging our bodies and allowing certain diseases like Diabetes to develop. So does that mean we should give it all up, completely? Of course not!
Before we dive into what desserts are healthy for you, let’s first see what sugar is even for.
Purpose of Sugars
Naturally, sugar is a form of energy that our bodies rely quite heavily on. It is quick and it is simple for the body to use. We use it to move around, to think, exercise, and pretty much anything that requires energy. Without sugars, our bodies would not be able to function properly. Sugar is like the gasoline to our vehicles. You know those days when your brain doesn’t work at all since you skipped a meal? Yeah, that experience.
In the old days though, people only consumed just the right amount of sugar and burn up just the right amount of that sweet fuel. These days, however, are much different. Many foods contain excessive sugars now. In addition to that, our physical activities most likely have dropped significantly. Probably even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. (Click here for some methods to work out while still at home). Our stress have probably increased due to life’s demands which causes us to crave sweet things even more.
So then, what happens when we over consume sugar? Shouldn’t we have a good storage of that sweet fuel for emergency use later on then with no harm?
Problems with Over Consuming Sugar
Unfortunately, our bodies do not work like that to store the excessive sugars without consequences. There always has to be a good balance of things. Here are some of the problems that can arise with the over consumption of sugar:
- Heart disease
- Cholesterol problem
- Weight gain
- Kidney disease
- Dental decay
- Liver disease
- Mental illnesses or decline (Depression, Anxiety, Dementia)
Hearing all those complications, it probably makes one not want to consume it anymore, right? Not quite. We may still want it here and there, especially if you have a sweet tooth like myself. Of course, moderation is always key. On the days you know that you will be over consuming sugar, you will want to engage in some form of physical activity to burn off that sweet fuel. This is so that the sugars do not store up in ways that can be detrimental for your health like the ones listed above.
Another option is to find alternatives that can replace and even fulfill those sweet cravings. In fact, there are even some sweets and desserts that is actually healthy for you!
What Desserts Are Actually Healthy For You?
You are probably already aware that one of the best sweets or dessert that is healthy for you are fruits! Fruits contain so many nutrients and minerals that are essential for our bodies to function properly. Nectarines, apples, berries, and bananas are some great examples. But aren’t they also sweet though?
When it comes to sweetness, the sugary substance we are most familiar with is called glucose. Fruits have a different type of sugar called fructose, or at least a higher content of it than glucose for some. Fructose has the advantage of raising your blood sugar levels MUCH slower than glucose. The form of sugar that our bodies uses is the glucose form, so before fructose can be used, it must first be converted to glucose and that requires energy. It’s almost like burning fuel to gain fuel!
Still, you should consume fruits like anything else in moderation. Do pay attention to the glycemic index of the various fruits so you know how much sugar you will be ingesting. A score of 100 on the glycemic index is considered a high sugary product so aim for fruits that are lower in score. Go for something that has a score of 55 or less. Here is a list of common foods and their glycemic index levels:
Now, the other dessert that you might not be aware of that is actually healthy for you is chocolate! Wait what? Yes, you read that correctly, chocolate.
Why is Chocolate Good For You
In addition to how tasty chocolate is, it also has many other health benefits which can include:
- Essential minerals
- Antioxidants (absorbs free oxygen radicals which damages our cells)
- Improve heart health
- Improve brain and mental health
- Good for fetal health
- Improve cholesterol
There are different forms of chocolate ranging in their level of sugar content. Milk chocolate is probably the tastiest because it has the most sugar content. Dark chocolate is what you want to go for since it most resembles cocoa, the active ingredient that contributes to the health benefits listed above.
You might be tempted to go for chocolate that is 100% cocoa because why not right? It’s the form that will have the most health benefits! Although that is true, you also want to consider how it tastes as well. Cocoa is quite BITTER. At 100% cocoa, I don’t even think it would be the same sweet chocolate that we know of anymore.
I once ate dark chocolate that was 90% cocoa. It was definitely a challenge trying to swallow that. I would say somewhere around 70 to 80 Percent is manageable and still enjoyable. Perhaps you can see how much percentage of cocoa you can handle!
If you really want to take on the challenge, there is a 99% cocoa dark chocolate. If you end up buying it and unable to tolerate, you can still melt it at a low temperature, add milk and sugar, and turn it into milk chocolate. No shame in that at all!
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We may have a sweet tooth and love all types of sweets and desserts. Although sugar is a natural fuel that our body utilizes to function on a daily basis, an over consumption of it is not so great. But it can’t hurt to enjoy it every once in a while. There are even desserts that are actually healthy for you like fruit and chocolate! The key thing to pay attention to here is to always consume with moderation. What would life be like without sweets right?
You can challenge your friends to see who could tolerate the highest percentage of cocoa with the 99% cocoa dark chocolate. Remember that you can always melt it down, add some milk and sugar to it to turn it into milk chocolate if you cannot tolerate it.
Did you enjoy this article about healthy desserts? Did you attempt the 99% cocoa dark chocolate challenge? Please leave a comment below!