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Are Dates the Best Sweetener?

7 min read

As many people attempt to scale back our intake of sugars, the debate continues over which sweetener is greatest. While the typical contenders—coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, stevia, monk fruit—are still on this battle, dates are gaining traction. These dried fruits are not just for eating as a snack or dessert; now you should purchase date syrup to make use of in baked items, drinks, marinades, drizzles for roasted veggies and salads, and extra. The query is, are dates the greatest approach so as to add a touch of sweetness to your day?

“Dates are naturally very sweet, and some health-conscious consumers prefer to get their sugar from whole foods,” says Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, writer of the newly released Eat Your Vitamins. When you take pleasure in the fruit entire, you’re getting antioxidants and a few minerals corresponding to calcium to help bone health, magnesium for muscle contraction, and potassium, which is essential for proper cell functioning.

Plus, there’s fiber. “The fiber causes the date sugars to be absorbed into the bloodstream a bit slower,” Davis explains, “so dates do not spike your blood sugar quite as much as the equivalent amount of regular sugar or syrup does.” This keeps you from experiencing the roller coaster peak and then plummet in blood sugar (and power) that’s typical after eating easy sugars.

So, should you’re craving a sweet snack and need one thing extra nutritious than a cookie, dates are a reasonably good choice. But don’t go overboard: Since they are fairly concentrated in sugars, Davis recommends a serving of 1 to 2 dried dates. One Medjool date sometimes incorporates about 70 calories, 4 teaspoons (or 16 grams) of complete sugars, and slightly below 2 grams of fiber.

Date syrup is another thing. “Date syrup is not the same as a whole date and is processed just as much as other sugars,” Davis explains. Because of this, date syrup lacks fiber. Compare entire dried Medjool dates and Medjool date syrup (word that the actual nutrition details range from model to brand). On average one tablespoon of date syrup incorporates about 60 calories, simply over 3 teaspoons of complete sugars (13 grams), and 0 grams of fiber.

Both dates and date syrup include the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium, but solely in small quantities in order that they aren’t thought-about good sources. So, all things are about equal, apart from that all-important fiber.

How does a date truthful in the fruit world general? Let’s take a fast look. For roughly the similar 70 calories a single date delivers you’ll be able to eat…

  • 1½ cups of strawberries which incorporates 2 teaspoons (7 grams) of complete sugars and 3 grams of fiber.
  • 1 small pear which accommodates 3½ teaspoons (14 grams) complete sugars and virtually 5 grams of fiber.
  • 1 medium orange which accommodates 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of complete sugars and over 3 grams of fiber.

Takeaway Fact: One date supplies roughly the similar quantity of energy, carbs, and complete sugars as one teaspoon of sugar. It additionally offers some fiber and slightly extra minerals, but not much else. So, in the event you’re in search of ways to sweeten your smoothies, view them as a barely healthier, no-added sugar substitution, however don’t go utterly dippy on dates. 

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