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Losing Weight -- Do you have to skip dessert?

Is it necessary to skip dessert if you'd like to lose weight? See more pictures of enlightened desserts.
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Life is short and uncertain, and eating dessert, whether it comes first, last or somewhere in between, can make mealtime matter in a gratifying way. A big bowl of greens doesn't hold quite the same appeal as a wedge of pie, a slice of cake or a bowl of ice cream. Can the words "dessert" and "diet" live happily in the same food journal entry? Well, the short answer is yes, but there are a few important limitations you need to keep in mind.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), produces dietary recommendations for all Americans. This information is based on solid science and takes a practical approach to maintaining a healthy diet and weight. It doesn't exclude or limit desserts, but understanding a little about how you should be eating will help you to make better food choices that can improve your chances of successfully incorporating dessert into your diet while still losing weight.

Losing weight over a long period of time involves commitment, but limiting calories by excluding fun or satisfying foods may not be the best way to go. Dieters can often stay on tightly controlled and restricted diets for a while, but then regain the weight (and more) when they stop.

Being able to integrate pleasures like sensible desserts into a nutritionally balanced eating strategy is one of the best ways to start developing a healthier and more realistic approach to weight maintenance and good health. There are tools that can help you do that, too. From the detailed listings on food labels to the clues offered by the ingredient lists provided for some restaurant fare, you don't have to make all your food from scratch or stick strictly to diet foods in order to lose weight, eat healthy and enjoy dessert.