Dessert Before Dinner: Not a Terrible Thing



Latin Flan Dessert with Cherry on Plate with Red Background

Andrew Petlev, Editor

For hundreds of years, humans have eaten on a relatively specific schedule: breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner in the evening.


Times will vary between people, but our bodies are trained to get hungry at the time of day at which we are most used to eating.


So the question arises: where in the day does dessert fall? Was it sound advice for your mother to tell you “no dessert before dinner”, or does it truthfully make no difference?


Wendy Lopez, dietitian nutritionist and writer for Food Network, seems to think the latter. According to her, you should eat dessert just as you would any meal: only (and only) when your body tells you so. “Dessert should be something to savor and celebrate without guilt or compensatory behaviors. I encourage you to create your own guidelines (with a healthcare provider, when necessary) around dessert that take into account your unique needs and preferences.”


Others have opposing views: nutritionist Kristy Rao suggests you eat dessert an hour after lunch, claiming this will give you more time to burn off the calories. “If eaten directly after your last meal, you could become bloated and uncomfortable,” she said in a recent interview with Shape Magazine. “But you also don’t want to eat sweets on an empty stomach, since your body will absorb it faster and lead to a bigger blood sugar spike-and a bigger crash a few hours later.”


There is always the option of not eating dessert at all. This is the true best thing for your body. Only exercise and eating a variety of foods can truly counteract the effects of all of that sugar!


Clearly, experts have their own opinions on the topic, but the consensus seems to be the latter. In other words, you need not feel guilty for indulging in dessert when you feel ready for it. The most effective way to stay healthy is to listen to your parents: take a jog, eat your vegetables, and just don’t have dessert too often!