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Trying to eat healthier? Here is how often you can treat yourself.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Nestle Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars are displayed on a shelf at a convenience store on February 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Nestle USA announced plans to remove all artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors from its entire line of chocolate candy products, including the popular Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars, by the end of 2015. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Most people have days when their eating doesn’t go as planned or when they just can’t resist the office treat table. But do you really always have to avoid the donuts? Registered Dietitian Melanie Douglass said no, of course not, on an episode of Really Healthy Podcast.

While the occasional treat (or cheat) day is okay, she warns against having too much sugar because sugar is not an essential part of anyone’s diet.

“It adds no value…it is purely for indulgence and enjoyment,” said Douglass.

Sugar On Treat Days

Your body and mind can become addicted to sugar because it triggers a hormonal response in your brain, said Douglass.

Some signs you may be addicted to sugar or that you use sugar in an unhealthy way include intense sugar cravings, losing control when you eat sugar and eating more than you planned, according to WebMD.  

The recommendation from the American Heart Association is 10 teaspoons of sugar per day for the average adult, which is about 40 grams per day, Douglass said.

How Often Should You Indulge?

How often can you go above and beyond and eat the treats with an indulgent day or meal? Douglass said it’s hard to give an exact number because it depends on the person.

“Sometimes when you restrict, restrict, restrict (from sugar) it backfires and you go crazy,” Douglass said. “While other people do better with an all in approach.”

If you are someone who wants a free day every now and then try for once a month. That gives you room for a holiday or birthday party. If you currently eat a lot of sugar, try twice per month.


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The important thing to remember, according to Douglass, is to treat these days special occasions and get back to normal the next day. Don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track.

If treating yourself makes your journey to get healthier more livable long term, do it, Douglass said.

“Falling off track is a normal part of anyone’s journey to try to eat better and get healthier,” Douglass assured listeners of Really Healthy Podcast.  

Did you find this information helpful? Subscribe to Really Healthy Podcast wherever you get podcasts or on the KSL Newsradio app.

Watch the full episode below.