You can read any fitness or health magazine and be bombarded with facts about why sugar is bad, or the only way to live a healthy lifestyle requires cutting out dessert. Additionally, everywhere fitness gurus are promoting their "healthy" alternatives to popular treats, which they claim taste just as good as the real thing. 

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But if you have a major sweet tooth like me, life just wouldn’t be the same without being able to enjoy desserts like cake, cookies, or ice cream. Unfortunately, the sweet, sugary confections that most of us love to eat are often deemed unhealthy and avoided at all costs. Yet there is hope for dessert lovers everywhere! Contrary to popular belief, dessert can have certain health benefits.

Balanced Diet

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Dessert is not only delicious, but it also helps you keep a balanced diet. Eating healthy doesn't mean only eating tons of vegetables. In fact, dessert can actually help you receive your daily amount of required nutrients. 

You can get your daily serving of two cups of fruit from fruit pies and smoothies. Cheesecakes, ice cream, and parfaits provide valuable amounts of protein and calcium. The daily requirement of calcium is between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams. A half-cup serving of chocolate ice cream contains 72 milligrams of of this essential mineral.

Mood Booster

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Researchers from Loma Linda University had students eat chocolate and answer a perceived stress scale questionnaire every two weeks in order to investigate the effects chocolate had on stress levels. 

At the end of the study, not only did all participants feel less stressed, but they also felt happier overall. If this isn’t enough to convince you that eating chocolate is great, scientists have also confirmed that dark chocolate can help prevent certain cancers, promote cardiac health, and counteract high blood pressure.  

Overall Health and Weight

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Dessert is not only delicious, but it can help improve your overall health and weight. Researchers from Tel Aviv University report that eating dessert with breakfast, such as cookies or a slice of cake, can aid with weight loss and help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

#SpoonTip: Not craving cake early in the morning? You can also sweeten your breakfast by adding granola to yogurt or making a berry smoothie.

In the study, obese participants who ate a breakfast high in protein and carbohydrates that included a dessert were better able to stick to their diet and keep the pounds off longer than participants who ate a low-carb, low-calorie breakfast that did not include sweets. Researchers attributed this to reduced cravings, which made the subjects less hungry throughout the day.

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"Carbs and protein eaten at breakfast keep us full throughout the day, and allowing ourselves some sweets helps to curb cravings for these foods," said study researcher Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University.

Eating a moderate amount of dessert is proven to be not only delicious but also nutritious. In addition to consuming a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, and protein, don't be afraid to include a moderate amount of dessert as one of your daily meals. Dessert has proven health benefits and helps ensure you receive your daily recommendation of nutrients. So by digging into a scoop of ice cream or slice of pie, you're actually doing yourself a favor.