Why can't I eat cupcakes for dinner?
Dessert for dinner sounds like a miracle meal plan. But is it enough?
What could happen?
Cake frosting instead of cauliflower? Cookies and cream instead of creamed spinach? Dessert for dinner (and breakfast and lunch) sounds like a miracle meal plan, but anyone who orders exclusively from the end of the menu would soon get a hankering for something a little more substantial. Like any high-performance machine, your body requires gas to go, and that fuel comes in the form of nutrients—vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates (found in breads and starchy foods like potatoes), fat, and minerals—in your food. Through the process of digestion, your body turns carbohydrates into energy and proteins into building blocks to help you grow taller; build muscle; prevent illness; and have healthy hair, teeth, and skin.
Balance it out
A balanced diet of healthy foods offers the best fuel. Ice cream, cakes, cookies, and candies don’t pack sufficient protein to rebuild muscles and important vitamins that your body doesn’t store. Eat nothing but sugary treats and you’ll wreck your engine in a few months. Sweets also lack something your body will miss in a matter of days: dietary fiber. Also known as roughage, it’s the indigestible stuff in fruits, veggies, and grains. In the long term, roughage helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses. In the short term, fiber keeps you on a regular bathroom schedule.
Text adapted from the Nat Geo Kids book Why Not?, by Chrispin Boyer, cupcake photo by Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock