Curejoy Expert Janardhana Hebbar Explains:
There are several ways of getting through the meal, which varies from a simple 3 course to a massive 5 or 6 course ones. However, if you must have noticed, most of the meals end with a sweet delicacy and often start with spicy ones. There are various reasons behind it. There are both scientific reasons as well as physiological habits related to it.
First of all, spicy foods activate the digestive juices and acids and ensure that the digestion process goes on smoothly and efficiently. Thus, they are eaten first. While sweet treats or carbohydrates pull down the digestive process. Hence, sweets were always recommended to be taken as a last item.
Moreover, some also claim that human brain chemistry is to blame for an after-dinner sweet treat. Some evidence suggests that consuming sugar can enhance the absorption of the amino acid tryptophan found in some foods. The tryptophan then enables an increase in the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well-being.
Also quite a number of people suffer from a postprandial (after a meal) or reactive hypoglycaemia condition which delivers a state of low blood sugar marked by hunger, weakness, sweating, shakiness, sleepiness, light-headedness or even anxiety or confusion. These conditions are mostly triggered by a heavy meal. Therefore, consuming sweet foods is one way to counteract the symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia. If you are not aware, reactive hypoglycemia is especially common in people who’ve had gastric bypass surgery.
On the other hand, many researchers believe that calorie-dense food like sweets stimulate the body’s endogenous opioid system, which releases endorphins and has a pain-relieving, analgesic effect on the body.
On the psychological note, Dr Nora Volkow once said, ‘They are bringing you a food (dessert) that can overcome the satiety signals, so even though you are full, you eat it because of the pleasure it generates.’