I often hear why or how certain foods fit into the “diet”. And when I say diet, I mean what we eat in general. “How does dessert fit into the diet?”. Because it tastes good. How does “french fries” fit into the diet?”. Because it tastes good. “How does pasta fit into the diet?”. Because it tastes good. “How does food fit into the diet?”. Because it tastes good.
We do not need a reason to enjoy food! Of course, if you are struggling with an eating disorder it is not that easy. I like to pick apart what makes up the “scary” food to make it what it is — energy. This edition of Because It Tastes Good we will talk about desserts! There are so many different types of desserts! Cookies, ice cream, cake, pudding, pie, custard, donuts, candy, and chocolate — to name a few! Then within these categories of desserts, there are hundreds more of types and flavors! So let’s talk about why we can eat dessert other than because it tastes good, which is reason enough.
First, desserts have carbohydrates and honestly, carbs are my FAVORITE. Not just in taste, but to educate others about! Our bodies literally cannot survive without it. As mentioned in previous posts, carbohydrates are our bodies’ preferred energy source and only energy source for our brain and red blood cells. Carbs get a bad rap but, did you know “carbohydrate” is just a fancy word for sugar? Meaning fruits and vegetables are a carb! Second, sugar is not addicting like “diet culture” wants you to believe. Often, people “overdo it” with desserts because they don’t allow themselves to have it regularly.
In addition, desserts have fat and protein! Fat and protein help us feel satisfied! This means we will feel satisfied and full longer. For many with eating disorders, this is important! Categorizing foods as “good” or “bad” and/or not allowing yourself to have certain foods causes an emotional response when you finally “give in” and have these foods. That response is typically guilt or shame. To compensate for negative feelings, individuals often try to restrict these foods again, which is unsustainable, resulting in binge eating the food again which means more guilt and more shame. You can take back this power by allowing yourself to enjoy all foods in moderation.
If you struggle with understanding why you should eat certain foods that are deemed “unhealthy”, remember because it tastes good. That is reason enough!
Emily Baum, M.S., RDN, LD
LEAD REGISTERED DIETITIAN NUTRITIONIST