Do you have a sweet tooth?
A sweet tooth is simply a liking or preference for sweet-tasting foods. Despite the messages we often receive in our culture, having a sweet tooth is quite common, and is not an inherently bad thing. In fact, as we’ll see later on, having a sweet tooth can even be a result of our genetics and can have positive health implications.
So while many of us have heard our whole lives that having a sweet tooth is “unhealthy,” this isn’t necessarily true and is a huge oversimplification. In the long run, it’s better to find healthy ways to embrace your sweet tooth rather than trying to permanently deny yourself the foods that make you happy.
Below, we’ll explore some healthy ways to celebrate your tastes and treat your sweet tooth right. But first, let’s look at what really causes a sweet tooth in the first place.
Is a Sweet Tooth Genetic?
You might be surprised to learn that having a sweet tooth is often a genetic disposition. A study of thousands of people in Denmark found a link between certain gene variants and increased consumption of sweets. The strongest association was with snacking on sweets. So yes, there really is a “sweet tooth gene.”
This just goes to show why it may not be such a good idea to beat ourselves up for our dietary tastes. Oftentimes these things are genetic and out of our hands. In the same way that liking or disliking cilantro can be genetic (Seriously! See “the cilantro gene”), a preference for sweet or savory foods can be genetic too.
But here’s another reason not to bemoan your sweet tooth: the same Dutch researchers from the study above later found that people with the “sweet tooth gene” also have less body fat! You can read their commentary on the findings here.
How To Celebrate Your Sweet Tooth
At the end of the day, no long-term health or eating approach is going to be sustainable if it doesn’t allow any room for your favorite foods. So rather than denying your sweet tooth, it’s better to find healthy ways to enjoy the foods you naturally like.
One way to enjoy the foods that make you happy in moderation is to use portion control. You can use a food scale or pre-portioned foods to enjoy sweets while not overdoing it on calories.
Another approach would be to eat intuitively (eating what you naturally crave), but to opt for more nutrient-dense, satiating alternatives of your favorite sweets.
For example, choosing Maxine’s Heavenly cookies over something like Pepperidge Farm cookies. Our cookies are naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and dates, and have wholesome ingredients which help keep you satisfied. The refined sugar in most sweets, on the other hand, is actually “hyper-palatable,” meaning it is so tempting that it can override your ability to control the amount of food you eat.
Treat Your Sweet Tooth Right
To sum up: being healthy doesn’t have to mean neglecting your sweet tooth.
Instead, treat your sweet tooth right by enjoying the foods you love in moderation, or seeking out delicious alternatives with healthier ingredients. Celebrating your sweet tooth, rather than starving it, will make your lifestyle enjoyable and sustainable over the long haul.
Check out Maxine’s Heavenly Cookies for a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.