Dates and Diabetes: Time to add them to your shopping bag

  • Dr. Sugandh Goel

    Senior Medical Content Writer, BDS, MS (Healthcare Management), Carnegie Mellon University, USA.

  • Posted On June 02, 2020

dates-and-diabetes

Dates are the sweet, wrinkly, fleshy fruit of the Mediterranean and Middle-East world. They are a sacred fruit of Muslims, especially in the month of Ramadan.

Owing to its natural sweetness, you might be concerned about its impact on your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Let us explore how this bite-sized natural sweetener can be a part of your diet even if you have diabetes.

Dates: What they have in store for you?

Unlike other sweeteners which may be bad for your health, dates are not empty calorie food. Empty calorie food, the ones with little nutritional value and have solid fats and added sugars. 

Instead, dates are very nutritious as they are packed with several vitamins and minerals which have various health benefits. It also has both soluble and insoluble fibre for your healthy bowel.

Apart from stabilizing your blood sugars, dates also prevent different types of cancers, heart problems and make your bones strong. Dates are high in natural sugar (fructose), making it a perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy, especially if you are experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms(low blood sugars).

They have a low glycemic index (GI) ranging from 35 to 55 so are safe for people with diabetes, as they’re less likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.

Dates: Too much can be bad

It’s clear that dates are rich in nutrients - but that doesn’t mean you can eat as many of them as you like. Dates are high in calories and carbohydrates (carbs). A 100g of dates contains 75 g of carbs and 282 calories. 

So, regularly consuming dates in high amounts can lead to a caloric build-up, which, in turn, can cause weight gain. Additionally, you should be mindful of your carb intake to keep your blood sugar levels within the targeted range. 

The key is to eat in moderation. It is okay for people with diabetes to eat 2-3 dates a day as long as their blood glucose is under control, and they maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is advised that you should consult your coach/ nutritionist about the precise amount you can include in your diet.

A word of caution

Having more than three dates and along with other sugary delights from the supermarket will shoot up the blood sugar levels. This can worsen your diabetes-related problems.

Dates as a sugar substitute

Since dates have a low GI, they can be used as a healthy sugar substitute. Your sweet tooth will be tempted less by those high glycemic foods which can be very damaging for your body.

Dates can be eaten as it is, thrown in a salad or made into a date puree and used for shakes and smoothies.

Summary

The good part about dates is their impressive nutrient profile and their low glycemic index. On the other hand, they are high in carbs and calories. Have them in moderation, these little fruits are a safe and healthy snack of choice for people with diabetes and also people looking to stay healthy. 

Dates flaunt an impressive nutrient profile but are high in carbs and calories and yet have a low glycemic index. When eaten in moderation, they are a safe and healthy snack choice for people with diabetes.

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Disclaimer: All information here, including text, images, tables, videos and any other content is for your knowledge only and we do not guarantee any specific result by following these recommendations as it may vary from person to person. The information is not a substitute for qualified medical advice from a doctor or other medical health expert.