Dates have long been used as sweeteners and a quick snack, or meal even, for centuries. They are cholesterol-free and very low in fat. Plus they’re energy boosters, making them a suitable snack for the health-conscious. Also, they’re rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, A1 and C, proteins, dietary fiber, iron (11 percent), potassium (16 percent), calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. The soluble and insoluble fibers and amino acids present in dates can also help to improve the digestive system.
Despite these benefits, one cup of dates has around 29 mg of fructose and a high glycemic index, which can increase blood sugar levels significantly. So, why do many people who choose to eliminate excess sugars from their lifestyle still consume dates? Well, it seems that dates are naturally rich in nutrition despite being rich in fructose, so there’s a trade-off. Some even consider dates the most ideal food.
Source: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock
Dates are whole foods, but, by weight, they are 80 percent pure sugar. Sugared cereal loops are only 40 percent sugar — half the sugar content of dates. To understand date sugar from the whole food, Israeli scientists took a bunch of people, stuffed them full of dates for a month, and measured what happened: they determined that their subjects have no adverse effects on blood sugar or weight, and they had beneficial improvements in triglycerides and antioxidant stress levels.
Here is a nutritional breakdown of ten dates:
Serving Size: 10 dates
- Calories: 234
- Fat: <1 g
- Saturated Fat: NA
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Carbohydrate: 61 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Dietary Fiber: 6 g
- Sodium: 2 mg
- Niacin: 1 mg
- Pantothenic Acid: <1 mg
- Vitamin B6: <1 mg
- Calcium: 32 mg
- Copper: <1 mg
- Iron: <1 mg
- Magnesium: 36 mg
- Potassium: 541 mg
- Vitamin K: 2.2 mcg
As you can see, there are 61 grams of carbohydrates in a serving size and only 6 grams of fiber to counteract those carbs. Even though there is not that much fiber, still, all of the other ingredients, vitamins, and minerals make dates benefit the body immensely. How? Well, as aforementioned, the magnesium found in dates can reduce blood pressure, and they have anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing inflammation in the arterial walls and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-related health ailments.
- Weight loss
- Relieving constipation, supporting regular bowel movements
- Promoting heart health, reducing heart disease risk
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Reducing blood pressure
- Promoting respiratory and digestive health
- Pregnancy deliveries
- Hemorrhoid prevention
- Chronic conditions such as arthritis
- Reducing colitis risk
- Preventing colon cancer
Ultimately, dates are good for overall health despite their fructose concentration. Even if your diet is a sugar-free one, devoid of high-fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, coconut sugar, and cane sugar, you probably still eat fruit, and dates are a fruit too, with loads of benefits. When picking out your dates, look for plump ones with unbroken, smoothly wrinkled skins, and avoid those that smell rancid or are hardened. Dried dates keep for up to a year in the refrigerator while fresh dates should be refrigerated in tight, sealed containers and can keep for up to eight months.
Next time you need to sweeten a plant-based recipe, make your own energy bars, or mask the green flavor in your smoothies, look no further than the humble date. Their lovely flavor and beneficial qualities bring sweetness to any food. Sure, they aren’t sugar-free, but they won’t hurt your efforts to reduce your sugar. What you really want to do is reduce artificial and refined sugars from your diet, not the beautiful, natural sugars in whole dates.
- The Best Sweetners are Blackstrap Molasses, Dates, Fruit Puree, Brown Rice Syrup, and Agave Nectar.
- Which Natural Sweetener is Healthiest? Health Expert Shares the Facts
- WHO Advises Against Artificial Sweeteners For Weight Loss
- New Study Links Zero-Calorie Sweetener to Heart Attack and Stroke
- Weekly Spotlight: Exploring Dates and Agave Syrup as Natural Sweeteners!
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
- Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!
Help keep One Green Planet free and independent! Together we can ensure our platform remains a hub for empowering ideas committed to fighting for a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate world. Please support us in keeping our mission strong.