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Brace yourselves: Having a sweet treat before a meal might actually help you lose weight. That’s right – forget what your parents told you; dinner before dessert is apparently not the way to do it.
Research conducted by Tecnológico de Monterrey and the University of Arizona has found that eating a dessert that’s high in calories before having dinner will most likely make you choose a healthier main course, according to Delish. For instance, those who pick a lighter dessert, such as a piece of fruit or low-calorie parfait, are more likely to justify eating that deep-dish pizza or high-calorie cheeseburger. “Similar studies conducted to test the concept in online settings – ordering food on a delivery system, for example – found similar results. Presenting a dessert first had a strong effect on how people determined the rest of their meal,” Delish reports.
Per Delish, Martin Reimann, one of the lead study authors said, “People should be aware that their initial food choices and their mindset may affect the overall healthiness of their meals.” Reimann claims that people’s stress levels often directly correlate with their eating habits. Essentially, when put under higher levels of stress, we are more likely to treat ourselves and justify eating a high-calorie dessert and high-calorie meal.
So, college students cramming homework and pulling all-nighters, you might now better understand why you told yourself it was perfectly fine to eat half the tub of cookie dough ice cream and to order pizza.
Emotional eating (or stress eating) isn’t going to do you any good. Perhaps enjoying that guilty pleasure before your main course could help act as a stress reliever. (Now no one can judge me if I order cheesecake for dinner tonight.)
Read more about dessert before dinner here.