2010-12-23 / Local & State

Dieting Dilemma: Can You Still Eat Sweets?

There’s nothing like your favorite chocolates or sweet treats after a hectic day. Americans love sweets so much that they are less than resolute when it comes to passing them up, despite the potential toll on how they fit into favorite outfits.

One in five Americans call themselves “failures” when it comes to sweet temptations, according to a survey conducted by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA). In fact, 28 percent refuse to choose between looking trim in clothing and enjoying their favorite foods, according to the study. And 40 percent of the women questioned would opt for less revealing outfits rather than give up sweets, while just 35 percent said they would try to cut back on treats.

Fortunately, there is a simpler, healthier solution: maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy sweets in moderation.

“You can enjoy sweets if you consider your total calorie picture for the day. Think about what you’re choosing to eat based on how much physical activity you’ll be getting” says Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., and Director of Sports Nutrition at Penn State University. “Try hard to eat well balanced meals and exercise 30 minutes a day. Then if you feel like a sweet, enjoy it!”

Here are some tips from Dr. Clark on how to have your chocolate and still face yourself in the mirror:

Calories always count. Don’t think a bite here or there doesn’t matter. The calories in “itty bitty bites” could add up to 500 or more, depending on their frequency.

Sugar is sugar. Since calories count, when you want something sweet, budget for it and enjoy. But remember, no matter where sugar comes from – corn, cane, beets or bees – the calories are the same and the body handles these sugars the same.

Pretend saving calories is saving money. If you don’t go out for lunch today you might save money and 500- 700 calories. By bringing lunch instead, you control calories, can add more fruits and veggies, and save cash.

Think of calories in exercise equivalents. For example, if you know eating a second serving of pasta is 400 calories and you also know 400 calories can be burned by walking or jogging four miles, then you might decide not to have the extra serving. You might opt for an extra serving of salad for an exercise cost of only 150 calories or 1.5 miles of walking or jogging.

Don’t starve yourself or under-eat to the point you’re grouchy. Eating is important, even when losing weight. Eat sensibly in the morning, allowing for a mid-morning veggie snack. Then eat a real lunch, such as a sandwich, fruit, and a cup of low fat yogurt. Allow for an afternoon fruit snack and always eat dinner. For more tips and information on the CRA survey visit SweetSurprise.com.

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