It is no secret that desserts make people happy.

Everyone loves to enjoy a sweet -- or savory!-- treat that will instantly boost their mood and make them feel better. Ice cream seems to be one of the most enjoyed treats in the nation, considering that 40% of Americans will eat ice cream at least once in a two week period, a number that’s just below our nation’s coffee consumption. Plus, an additional 40% of consumers surveyed say that they eat desserts after a meal at least twice a week, so you’re far from alone when you indulge every once in awhile!

Do you ever felt guilty for eating that slice of chocolate cake, that ice cream sundae, or that peach cobbler, though? Don’t worry. Here are five reasons why desserts make people happy, so you won’t feel remorseful with every bite.

1. It puts you in a good mood.
Believe it or not, researchers have found that eating chocolate, which is the number one most craved food in America, causes the brain to release endorphins. These hormones make you feel better almost immediately, so go take a bite of that candy bar if you are feeling down and under the weather.
2. Real sugar is better than fake sugar. If you are going to splurge for a dessert, you should choose one that contains real sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.These artificial sweeteners are put in many desserts under the false pretense that they are healthier for you. The chemicals in these additives can lead to health risks down the line. In fact, for 12 days, scientists researched the long term effects of sugar in comparison to aspartame, an artificial sweetener. They found that table sugar -- sucralose, an artificial sweetener -- reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in the body.
3. It is good for your heart. A 10-year study conducted on 37,000 Swedish men proves that chocolate can actually be great for you. The men in the study, aged 45 to 79 years and without any cardiovascular disease, were found to be 17% less likely to suffer a stroke once if they ate dark chocolate regularly, compared to those who didn’t.
4. Lowers your blood pressure Another cardiovascular benefit of eating dark chocolate is that it lowers blood pressure. So go ahead, have two pieces!
5. They are a good reward Given the fact that 78% of consumers say they are more likely to eat a sweet dessert when they want to reward themselves, dessert offers an easy, mid week pick-me-up. An additional 60% say they order dessert because they are feeling happy, so if you want your mood to last, you might as well order two desserts!

The next time that you need an excuse to eat that dessert you are craving, think of these ideas for a guilt-free treat!