Dates are usually eaten dried. They’re available from ethnic food shops and increasingly from mainstream supermarkets too. As their popularity increases, of course more people want to know: are dates fattening?
Dates are a treat. It’s important to remember what foods are alternatives to dates. They’re not going to replace a chicken breast or a big thick steak as the major protein source around which a traditional western-style dinner is based. They’re not going to take up half your plate, or form the basis of your breakfast; when you but dates you’re not replacing potatoes or cornflakes. You’re replacing chocolate, candy or cakes. The real question is, how fattening are dates compared to other treats?
Dates have a high fructose content. Fructose is fruit sugar, and it’s a particularly bad sugar from the weight gain perspective. But dates don’t have anything like as much sugar, period, as actual candy, which is often almost pure sugar. They also contain a fairly high quantity of dietary fiber and some vitamins survive the drying process. Dates are bulky compared to candy and they have a range of carbohydrate-sugar in them, meaning they’re going to have a lower glycemic index than most of the products they replace.
Are dates fattening? Well, eaten as a staple diet, yes. But eaten as an alternative to doughnuts they’re a good choice for weight control.
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