Dates have been a staple food in the Middle East and South Asia for a very long time. Whether fresh or dry, this fruit is absolutely delicious and has numerous health benefits.
However, you’ve probably heard about how too much of anything is bad for you. Well, dates are no exception.
Even though there’re many benefits offered by this delicious fruit, one still has to be careful of not overdoing it when it comes to dates. Here’s why.
1. Increases Blood Sugar Levels
Dates are considered a high-glycemic food because of their high sugar content. The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly a certain food affects the body’s blood glucose levels. Dates have a GI score of 103, while that of glucose is 100.1 This should give us an idea as to how high the sugar levels in dates are. Additionally, dates are also high in carbohydrates – about 40 grams per 2-ounce serving. This is termed as a high glycemic load (a measurement of how much the carbohydrate content of a food affects blood sugar levels). Over-consumption of high glycemic index and load foods can increase the risks of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
2. Can Induce Weight Gain
Dates are rich in fiber content and we all know that fiber aids weight loss. Still, there is a very valid reason as to why dates are not the ideal food for weight loss.
Any food that is high in energy density, i.e. calories per gram, will help you gain weight without the numerous calories.2 Dates are known around 2.8 calories per gram, a number which stands at almost double than that of low energy density foods which have only 1.5 calories per gram. If you want to stick to a strict weight loss routine, you must avoid eating too many dates.
3. May Cause Stomach Pain
There are two factors which make dates infamous for stomach aches.
- High Fiber Content – Fiber is known for its applause-worthy ability to prevent heart ailments and type 2 diabetes. Fibers are nothing but plant-based carbohydrates that do not get digested in the body. They help in keeping your bowel movements smooth. Too much of fiber can overwhelm your intestinal bacteria and lead to stomach ache.3
- Body’s Sensitivity To Sulfite – Sulfite is a chemical added to dates to maintain their waxy coating and shine. It also increases the shelf life of the fruit by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. If your body is sensitive to sulfite, it is very likely that you may face certain complications like excessive bloating, painful stomach aches, and diarrhea.
4. Can Cause Stomach Gas
Foods with high fructose content should be blamed for stomach gas.4 This is another reason why one should avoid dates, which are well known for their high fructose content.
5. Can Lead To Diarrhea
Dates have very high fiber content. In case you are someone who eats too much of this fruit, there are chances that you might experience a spell of diarrhea.
6. May Cause Allergies
Fermented dry fruits such as dates are rich in histamine that can cause allergies. Dates also contain salicylates, a type of chemicals usually found in all plants might also be responsible for inducing allergy-like symptoms in some people.5
7. May Cause Tooth Decay
No one would really like to see themselves with not-so-good-looking teeth, which is precisely what might happen if you take too many dates too often. For dental health, the frequency of intake of sugary foods is a bigger concern when compared to the ‘quality and quantity’ of such foods. Hence beware of this serious side effect of dates.
8. Is Unhealthy For Infants
Dates are too thick and hard for babies to digest because their teeth and intestines are still not strong enough. It is hence, best to keep them away from this fruit till they grow older. Dates could also block a baby’s windpipe while swallowing and cause choking, so be extra careful!
Is It Okay To Consume Dates While You Are Pregnant?
Eating dates during pregnancy is a question that many pregnant women are confused about. Research, however, shows that women who eat dates while being pregnant, especially in the last four weeks of pregnancy, not only saw faster labor but also experienced easier cervical dilation, both of which are sure to make things much easier for a mom-to-be.6 7 It is, however, important to remember that a woman pregnant with one child needs only an additional 300 – 500 calories a day.8 Be careful to not overdose on the calorie intake to avoid chances of having a higher-than-safe pregnancy weight. Incorporating all sorts of healthy foods in the diet to do this is recommended, making dates one of the many options for good, healthy eating during pregnancy.
We understand why one would find these sweet, incredibly tasty fruits so tempting. But perhaps the best way to enjoy the good things in life is to not overdose on them!
|↑1||Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Oregon State University.|
|↑2||Bes-Rastrollo, Maira, Rob M. van Dam, Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, Tricia Y. Li, Laura L. Sampson, and Frank B. Hu. “Prospective study of dietary energy density and weight gain in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 88, no. 3 (2008): 769-777.|
|↑3||Dietary Fiber. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.|
|↑4||Fedewa, Amy, and Satish SC Rao. “Dietary fructose intolerance, fructan intolerance, and FODMAPs.” Current gastroenterology reports 16, no. 1 (2014): 1-8.|
|↑5||Swain, Anne R., Stephen P. Dutton, and A. Stewart Truswell. “Salicylates in foods.” J Am Diet Assoc 85, no. 8 (1985): 950-60.|
|↑6||Al-Kuran, O., L. Al-Mehaisen, H. Bawadi, S. Beitawi, and Z. Amarin. “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.” Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology 31, no. 1 (2011): 29-31.|
|↑7||Kordi, Masoumeh, Fatemeh Aghaei Meybodi, Fatemeh Tara, Mohsen Nemati, and Mohammad Taghi Shakeri. “The Effect of Late Pregnancy Consumption of Date Fruit on Cervical Ripening in Nulliparous Women.” Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health 2, no. 3 (2014): 150-156.|
|↑8||Nutrition Counseling in Pregnancy. American Academy Of Family Physicians.|