Conditions commonly referred to as diabetes involve a disruption in the metabolic process that results in persistently elevated levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Patients diagnosed with diabetes typically have a significantly elevated blood sugar level as the primary sign.
Diabetes may also be characterized by hunger, excessive thirst, recurrent peeing, exhaustion, migraines, and wounds or bruises that take longer to heal.
The International Diabetes Federation predicts that over half a billion adults will have diabetes in 2021. A person with diabetes must be very attentive to their dietary intake and what they’re eating. It is generally suggested that individuals avoid foods with a large glycemic index and keep their carbohydrate consumption within a certain boundary.
Typically, date fruits from date trees are eaten, dried, and pitted. They are famous for cramming huge amounts of sugar into their deceivingly small sizes.
The two most popular types of dates that are consumed are Deglet Noor and Medjool. There is a lot of disagreement about whether people with diabetes should eat dates because of the high amount of fructose they contain.
The Different Types of Palm Dates
The United Arab Emirates yields a variety of more than 18 different types of dates. Nowadays, there are a lot of different types of dates that vary in cost, quality, source, marques, etc. However, the effects of eating them depend on their physical and chemical characteristics.
It is often believed that dates with a higher price will be of better quality, but the nutritive value of these could be varied. All of them share one thing in common: their glycemic index levels are either low or medium.
The date palm is one of the most ancient species of tree in existence, being found in countless varieties around the globe. The names Khodry, Kimia, Omani, Khalas, Ruthana, Sukkary, Sefri, Segae, Ajwa, Hilali, and Munifi identify the dates most commonly grown internationally. The makeup of their chemicals makes them an ideal option for eating in order to avoid getting sick.
Diabetic patients may use Medjool dates instead of sugar when producing smoothies, shakes, or desserts. You can also substitute Omani dates for sugar when baking. They possess a high level of humidity as well as are both satisfying and enjoyable. Hayany is an alternate ingredient that can be used when you are preparing food or baking.
In certain areas around the globe, dates are used to create chuhara, a type of breath freshener. Hallawis dates are the best option for this. The sugar level of Deglet dates is not as high as with other types of dates and can be eaten unprocessed. It is a good choice for diabetic patients.
Kimia dates are widely available and are known for their superior quality and delicious taste. However, you should be careful not to overindulge when eating dates. It is suggested to frequently measure one’s sugar levels in the bloodstream before and after consuming food. The most effective way to observe how food affects your glucose level is by using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).
The latest version of HealthifyPRO has a wearable CGM device that gives you a full understanding of your blood glucose levels after eating, with charts included, without having to jab your finger. A CGM system keeps track of your blood sugar levels all day and night, 365 days a year, with a small sensor placed on your arm.
Nutritional Composition of Dates
The nutritional value of Medjool dates (100 g portion), according to the USDA, is as follows:
- Water 21.3 g
- Energy 277 kcal
- Protein 1.81 g
- Total Lipid 0.15 g
- Carbohydrates 75 g
- Glucose 33.7 g
- Fructose 32 g
- Total Dietary Fibre 6.7 g
It is easy to find dates that are filled with minerals and salts. They possess a greater amount of protein than fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
Scientific evidence has demonstrated the health and medicinal advantages of consuming dates. They contain a lot of phenols, antioxidants, and numerous micro-nutrients that can assist in making a person more resistant to insulin. Hence, they are beneficial for people with diabetes.
Are Dates Good for Diabetics?
Many people falsely believe that those with diabetes can’t consume dates because of the high level of natural sugar content. The key here is moderation. It is not advisable for those with diabetes to eat a lot of dates because of the high sugar content of the fruit.
There is a slight rise in the person’s blood sugar levels which someone with diabetes is unable to control as they do not have enough insulin produced or the hormone is not effective in their body.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is employed to assess the capability of a substance to increase blood sugar when consumed independently. Dates are normally sweet, but they have a glycemic index of between 44 and 53 and a moderate glycemic load.
Eating patterns that contain a high amount of carbs which are quickly digested and cause a greater rise in blood sugar levels, can lead to a higher probability of contracting type 2 diabetes and illnesses related to the heart. In this way, those who are diabetic can eat a meal plan that consists of a reduced glycemic load, which takes into account both the glycemic index and the amount of food that is being eaten.
This study contrasted the glycemic index (GI) levels of individuals with diabetes and healthy volunteers when they ate various types of dates. The Glycemic Index of the dates varied from 30.5 to 61.6.
The five types of dates included Fara’d, Lulu, Bo ma’an, Dabbas, and Khalas. The majority of dates that are bought and eaten in the Middle East are from these types. We are still learning what may be the impacts of routinely eating dates in the long run for those with diabetes.
The HealthifyPro CGM comes in to provide assistance in these situations. You can get up-to-the-minute data about your blood sugar levels from the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). Based on the collected data, you can select what you will eat and the exercise you will do.
Low glycemic index
The GI can be used to calculate how significant an effect a food has on one’s blood sugar level. The Glycemic Index (GI) involves assigning a score to food items ranging from 0 to 100; those items with scores of 55 or lower are classified as having a low GI, scores between 56 and 69 are given a medium GI, and those with values of 70 or above are given a high GI.
Foods with a lower glycemic index typically increase the blood sugar level in a gradual and consistent manner. Foods that have a high Glycemic Index might create a rise in blood glucose levels due to the fact that it causes a rapid elevation in blood sugar. The glycemic index of pure glucose would be rated at 100 on the glycemic index scale.
The glycemic index is a useful resource for creating a healthy diet for diabetics. Individuals with diabetes may experience more even blood sugar levels by consuming food that does not escalate their blood sugar rapidly.
A single portion of 6-7 dates yields three grams of fiber. Females should strive to consume between 21-25 grams of fiber daily, while males should have between 30-38 grams. Yet most people fall short of this recommended amount.
The glycemic index of raw dates is 42, meaning that they are considered to be food with a low glycemic index. Dates would cause a slower increase in blood sugar levels than other sweeteners such as honey or granulated sugar.
The advantages that people who have diabetes get from consuming dates will depend significantly on how much of it they consume. In other words, consuming a large number of dates will likely still raise a person’s blood sugar levels due to it being a form of sugar.
Eating fiber has numerous positive effects on one’s health, such as aiding digestion, helping keep your heart healthy, assisting in weight regulation, stabilizing your blood sugar, and reducing the possibility of getting certain types of cancer. Pay attention to foods high in fiber, as these can be beneficial for people with diabetes for different reasons.
Foods that are high in fiber have fewer total carbohydrates that have an effect on blood glucose; this means that fewer carbs are causing a rise in blood sugar. Fiber can prolong digestion and thus result in a more moderate increase in the sugar levels of one’s blood after consuming food.
Dates contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids. Antioxidants combat free radicals, which can harm cells, lead to inflammation, and even cause cancer. Diabetics usually show increased signs of inflammation, but it is not fully understood why this is the case. Consuming nourishments high in cancer prevention agents may help diminish general irritation levels and limit the danger of ailments caused by irritation.
Dates contain an abundance of minerals, including potassium, selenium, copper, and magnesium. Potassium has the ability to reduce hypertension by unwinding the walls of blood vessels.
Individuals with diabetes are likely to have high blood pressure, so eating foods abundant in potassium may assist in preserving satisfactory blood pressure levels. It is particularly fascinating that even when one’s blood pressure is not taken into consideration, an elevated potassium intake can lessen the chance of having a stroke.
The primary issue with dates for people with diabetes is that they are high in sugar content. Though it is preferable to consume sugar that comes from natural sources rather than those that have been artificially added, natural sugar can still result in a spike in one’s blood sugar levels. Eating an excessive amount of anything, even nutritious food, can lead to health complications.
You may want to use dates to add sweetness to dishes instead of processed sugars since they are more beneficial. This could result in an increased consumption of sugar in total, which would then lead to drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Eating dates as a healthy alternative to other sweeteners can still add up to your sugar intake; hence, it is important to consume them in limited amounts as part of a healthy and varied diet.
Potential added sugars
Certain dates have been brought together with additional sugars, augmenting the overall sugar content. Added sugars aren’t beneficial to health. These simple sugars can lead to bigger increases in blood sugar because they turn to glucose in a short amount of time.
Around three-quarters of processed foods have extra sugar added to them. It can be tricky to recognize added sugar due to the fact that it goes by different labels. A revised nutrition facts label now has an area dedicated to noting the amount of added sugars, making it easier to spot. However, some food labels do not have a section that indicates the amount of added sugars. Therefore, examining the nutrition facts ingredient label is critical to determine if extra sugars are included.
If you are diabetic and plan on buying dried dates, make sure to read the list of ingredients to make sure that no extra sugar has been added. For illustration, a portion of dried cut dates holds 8 grams of added sugar. This constitutes 8 grams of added sugar or less, which is the recommended daily limit. The only components in dried dates should be the dates themselves, as well as potentially something to preserve the product or increase its shelf life.
Fresh vs. Dried
Most dates available in stores are dried. Nonetheless, those living in tropical regions that cultivate date palm trees can obtain their fill of fresh dates. If given an option between fresh and dried dates, opt for the fresh variety.
The sugar content of dried fruit is higher due to the lack of water. Consuming dried dates will cause a greater increase in blood sugar when compared to taking the same weight as fresh dates. Think of raisins as an example. You can eat a small number of raisins quickly. However, it would be the same quantity of sugar as you would consuming a much larger quantity of fresh grapes.
Should People with Diabetes Eat Dates?
In essence, there is no particular food that diabetics should refrain from consuming entirely. Certain foods can be advantageous for one’s health more than others, but that does not necessarily mean that the less nutritious foods are “poor.”
Dates can be used instead of other sugary items that have higher glycemic levels and are processed. Not only do dates provide sweetness. Apart from other advantages, consuming these items can also provide essential dietary fibers, essential minerals, and antioxidants which can help to ward off cancer.
Consuming numerous dates routinely probably won’t enable individuals with diabetes to attain their blood glucose objectives. You should not have too many dates and pair them with meals that will not increase your blood sugar levels, such as fatty foods and protein sources.
As an illustration, you could prepare a smoothie with unflavoured Greek yogurt, dates, and a bit of cow’s or non-dairy milk in order to even out the sugar amount of the dates with protein that helps stabilize blood sugar.
The Best Time to Eat Dates
The variety of uses for dates makes them a fantastic ingredient to have on hand, providing a range of nutritional benefits depending on how and when you consume them. These items are great to ingest before exercising, a good idea for a nighttime snack, and can be added to your morning cereal or porridge for breakfast.
It is noteworthy that dates are more suitable in a light snack than in a large, hearty meal. Nuts are a great snack to have in the morning or in the evening. As is clear, there is no set time for using it.
Can I Eat Dates Every Day?
Yes, you can incorporate dates into your daily meals. If eaten in moderation, dates can be quite advantageous to your well-being.
Dates are low glycemic index fruit. You can enjoy the sweetener all by itself, not only as a supplement. Fruit dates contain an abundance of natural sugars, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
People with diabetes should enjoy dates in moderation. Remember that these sweets have sugars, which can increase your blood sugar if too much is consumed.
Including dates as part of a comprehensive diet to monitor blood sugar levels in those with diabetes is a healthy and tasty choice!