When You Eat Dessert Every Day, This Is What Happens

If you have an incurable sweet tooth, blame your tongue. No, really: two-thirds of our tongues are covered with sweet receptors, so we are naturally going to seek out the satisfaction of sweet flavors. But how much should we indulge? Is having dessert every day ok?

The answer, like most nutrition-related concerns, is complicated. Having a brownie or a scoop of gelato every day is just fine, under one condition: The rest of your diet as a whole needs to be healthy and low in added sugars.

The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar each day, and men get no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) (via theĀ American Heart Association). Go beyond that and there's a long list of health problems that could likely be in your future, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, weight gain, and more (via LIVESTRONG). Unfortunately, the average American adult consumes 77 grams of added sugar per day, which is far more than the recommended amount.

Watch for 'hidden' added sugars

Most of the added sugar in the American diet doesn't come from the single after-dinner brownie, which contains around 13 grams of sugar (via fatsecret.com). It comes primarily from soft drinks, and processed snacks and sweets, many of which contain 'hidden' sugars, since you wouldn't necessarily think of them as being sweet.

Think low-fat yogurt, ketchup, granola, and protein bars. Each of these foods often contain surprisingly high amounts of added sugars that contribute to the daily total. These added sugars, which are consumed throughout the course of the day, are what we should be paying attention to.

Registered dietitian Matt Priven told Boston Magazine, "If you spend all day avoiding added sugar but you have something sweet to satisfy the sweet tooth at night, the intake is still going to be really low. Most importantly, you won't feel like you're depriving yourself."

If we're being mindful of what's on our plates throughout the day, and are eating mostly unprocessed, wholesome meals with low amounts of added sugar, enjoying a sweet treat after dinner each day can absolutely be part of a healthy diet.