“There’s gotta be a way to have a slice of cake without breaking my diet.” said everyone, ever…
Don’t worry, there is, and it’s actually pretty simple.
For most diets, a slice of cake will not ruin your diet. However, certain diets may limit the type of cake you can eat or at what time during the day you can eat cake. For example, it would be difficult to eat cake on a Paleo diet which limits refined sugar and dairy.
So, it definitely depends on the type of diet you’re practicing. I’ve listed each of the most common diets below and whether or not they allow you to eat cake.
10 diets and whether or not they allow cake
Determining whether or not a slice of cake will ruin your diet depends on which diet you’re practicing. Many diets allow it, however some diets make it nearly impossible to have a slice of cake and not “break” your diet.
I’ve covered 10 of the most popular diets below and whether or not they allow you to have a slice of cake.
Regardless of what the diet says you can and cannot do, I am a big supporter of “everything in moderation”. I don’t believe that a slice of cake, alone, or any other pastry or dessert for that matter, will ruin a diet.
So, take the following information with a grain of salt.
1. Vegan diet
The Vegan diet has received a great deal of attention lately. And, there’s some strong evidence that suggests the diet, done properly, can provide some awesome health benefits.
“The major benefits for patients who decide to start a plant-based diet are the possibility of reducing the number of medications they take to treat a variety of chronic conditions, lower body weight, decreased risk of cancer, and a reduction in their risk of death from ischemic heart disease.”
While the Vegan diet definitely has some upside, it can be difficult to follow to a T and still enjoy some of your usual guilty pleasures, like cake.
At it’s core, the Vegan diet is a completely plant-based diet. So, that means you aren’t supposed to eat anything that comes from an animal (milk, butter, eggs, etc.). As you can see, this makes enjoying your traditional slice of cake a bit more challenging.
That said, there are a ton of great vegan cake options out there. And, they’re actually pretty delicious. Some of the vegan cake I’ve had is hard to distinguish from regular cake.
One of my favorite vegan cake recipes is from Nora Cooks, a solid Vegan cooking site.
2. Paleo diet
The general concept of this diet is to eat wild animal sourced proteins and primarily uncultivated plants. The diet is commonly referred to as the caveman diet or the hunter-gatherer diet.
You’re really only supposed to eat foods that were available prior to the establishment of agriculture. This excludes things like dairy and refined sugar.
So, can you have a slice of cake and not ruin your diet?
You’re in luck, there are definitely some Paleo cake options out there. Some pretty good ones too! However, they are a bit different from the cake you’re probably used to.
The main difference with Paleo cake is the use of coconut sugar, instead of regular refined sugar, and they’ll often substitute almond flour for regular flour (you’re not supposed to consume grains).
One of my favorite Paleo cake options comes from Texan Erin. It’s a pumpkin cake with maple frosting… yum!
3. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting, if you’re not familiar with it, is more of an eating schedule than a diet. Instead of restricting the foods you can eat, it limits when you can eat throughout the day.
A typical intermittent fasting diet will restrict your “eating window” to an 8 or 10 hour period during the day.
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for years and have seen amazing results to my weight, body composition, and overall energy levels. And, there’s a lot of evidence to support these benefits.
One of my favorite things about intermittent fasting is I can still enjoy things like cake or ice cream, as long as I consume them during my predefined eating window.
If you’re on an intermittent fasting diet a slice of cake will NOT ruin your diet!
That being said, it’s still best to watch the kind of foods you’re eating. For me, I try to ensure about 90% of the foods I’m eating are whole foods and my meals are well-balanced.
Highly recommend giving this diet a shot!
4. Keto diet (similar to Atkins)
While I’ve never tried the Keto diet personally, I have many friends and family members who have. Many of them have spoken really highly about their experience with it and the associated benefits.
Many of the benefits from this diet are fairly well documented, too.
The main concept of a ketogenic diet is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you’re consuming and replace them with fat. The idea is that by restricting your carbs it will put your body into “ketosis” which forces your body to burn fat for energy as opposed to carbs.
The standard keto diet requires you to consume only 10% of your calories from carbohydrates. It also prohibits the amount of “sugary foods” you can eat.
You can see how this could make it difficult to have a slice of cake without breaking your diet.
Don’t worry though, there is hope for you!
You can have a slice of cake on the Keto diet and not ruin your diet. The cake, however, will likely need to be flour-less and use a sugar substitute.
Here is a solid Keto cake recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.
5. Whole30 diet
The Whole30 diet is another diet that I’ve never tried personally, but it seems to be pretty straightforward. I have a hard time calling it a “diet” though, as it’s more of a challenge.
The idea is to eat only the approved Whole30 foods, for 30 days straight. And, after looking at the list of approved foods, it’s hard to believe this diet would be sustainable for much more than 30 days.
The diet itself seems pretty similar to the Paleo diet, though, with a few differences.
The main idea with the Whole30 diet is to only consume foods that are whole and unprocessed. You are not supposed to eat added sugar (real or artificial), any forms of grains (wheat, barley, oats, etc.), or any baked goods, even if they include “approved ingredients”.
This is definitely one of the more strict diets and probably one of the most difficult diets to have a slice of cake on.
Technically, if you’re on the Whole30 diet, eating a slice of cake WILL ruin your diet. They say you must fully commit to the program for 30 days in order to complete it successfully.
“One bite of pizza, one spoonful of ice cream, one sip of beer within the 30-day period and you’ve broken the “reset”—and have to start over again on Day 1.”
Depending on how strict you are, you might be able to get away with this brownie recipe, as it only includes 3 ingredients.
6. Mediterranean diet
I actually practice a combination of this diet along with intermittent fasting. It’s worked great for me!
The Mediterranean diet is a diet based on the traditional foods and way of cooking found in many of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and olive oil.
Additionally, it limits the amount of red meat eaten and suggests only moderate amounts of dairy are consumed.
The nice thing about this diet, as it relates to cake and other desserts, is it’s loose enough to allow for these foods to be consumed in moderation. Just watch how much you eat!
No, eating a slice of cake on the Mediterranean diet will NOT ruin your diet.
That said, there are definitely some healthier options out there which will help you to adhere to stricter Mediterranean diet. One of my favorite recipes is from Food Wine, and Love.
7. DASH diet
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a healthy way of eating focused on treating and preventing high blood pressure. It’s been shown to reduce blood pressure in as little as a couple weeks.
This diet seems to be a pretty sensible way of eating that is not only enjoyable but also sustainable. The science behind this diet is worth checking out.
At its core, the DASH diet focuses on reducing the amount of sodium or salt in a person’s diet. Sodium is one of the largest contributors to hypertension (high blood pressure).
Aside from reducing sodium intake, it’s fairly basic and well-rounded. It suggests eating about 6-8 servings of grains per day, 4-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of fruit, lean proteins, and limited sweets per week.
In regards to sweets, like cake, it suggests finding desserts that are low in sugar and fat.
So, if you’re on the DASH diet will a slice of cake ruin your diet?
No, a slice of cake will not ruin your diet if you’re practicing the DASH diet. However, it’s best to choose cake that is low-fat and doesn’t have a lot of added sugar.
Here is a great chocolate cake recipe for anyone on this diet!
8 . MIND diet
The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is an interesting one. It was created to prevent dementia and preserve brain function as you get into your later years. It’s essentially a combination of the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet.
The data on how the MIND diet prevents cognitive decline is pretty interesting.
There are some slight differences when looking at how this diet is structured compared to the DASH and Mediterranean diets.
One of the main differences is the consumption of fruit, specifically berries. The MIND diet is big on berry consumption, but does not recommend much fruit outside of that.
Aside from that, it’s very similar to the Mediterranean diet. It suggests eating whole grains, lots of vegetables, legumes, olive oil (sparingly), lean protein, etc…
Regarding sweets, specifically cake, it’s pretty flexible. The only thing it recommends is eating sweets and desserts in moderation.
Eating a slice of cake on the MIND diet will not ruin your diet. Just make sure to choose a cake that’s low-fat and doesn’t have a lot of added sugar.
Here is a solid MIND diet cake recipe, the Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake.
9. Dukan diet
The Dukan diet is an interesting one. It was created in 2000 by a French Nutritionist, Pierre Dukan. The main idea with this diet is to allow the dieter to eat “unlimited quantities” of food, assuming they are on the list of approved foods.
While studies of the Dukan diet are limited, there is some research being done. Here is a pretty solid breakdown of the pros and cons to this diet.
At the core of the diet, and list of approved foods, is oat bran, lean proteins, water intake, and regular cardiovascular exercise (walking to be specific).
The diet has 4 phases. The first two phases, the Attack and Cruise phases, are pretty strict and don’t allow for much other than lean protein, oat bran, and lots of “non-starchy” vegetables.
The 3rd and 4th phase are significantly more flexible, allowing for a couple cheat meals. This is where you’d be okay to eat some cake without breaking your diet.
In the Dukan diet, having a slice of cake in the 3rd and 4th stages (Consolidation and Stabilization phases) will NOT ruin your diet. However, in the first two stages (Attack and Cruise stages) the cake would need to be made from oat bran to ensure you don’t ruin your diet.
This seems to be a pretty solid Lemon Cake recipe which you could enjoy in all 4 stages of the Dukan diet.
10. The Zone diet
The Zone diet has been around for a long time, over 30 years. It was created by Dr. Barry Sears, a Biochemist from the United States.
I included this one on the list because of its popularity, but put it last due to some of the health claims the diet makes being debatable. That said, it does seem to be a pretty solid diet for weight loss, specifically.
While I’ve never tried this diet, some of the research on this diet, and others like it, leave me wondering if maybe there are better diets out there.
The diet is a simple one though, requiring your meals be made up of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. It also suggests eating grains and starches sparingly.
Additionally, the carbs you eat should have a low GI (glycemic index), meaning they are absorbed by your body slower, preventing a huge spike in blood sugar.
It’s pretty straightforward, as far as diets go.
As far as having cake on The Zone diet, will it ruin your diet?
No, having a slice of cake on The Zone diet will not ruin your diet. However, the cake should be made from flour with a low glycemic index (like an almond based flour).
Here is a list of some great desserts, including cake, for any of you currently on The Zone diet.
Enjoy your cake!