4

votes

Should we eat dates?

Commented on October 09, 2016
Created February 16, 2012 at 6:22 AM

Dates are a natural food and one which apparently many mammals, some of which are probably our ancestors, fiercely contest for in African jungles and rain forests. However, it's also got an embarrassingly high glycemic index and load. Is there any saving grace to this fruit? Perhaps it's got some special nutrients found nowhere else. I'm guessing that most primates have larger metabolic organs (liver and pancreas) organs than we do to deal with all the fruit they eat so dates wouldn't be as harmful to them.

6427fa0463c46ee4cc3db89865c767b4

(0)

on October 09, 2016
at 04:24 PM

Hi, first time I'm posting. There is a new study regarding dates that show we should be including them in our diet. They are more healthy than honey and may reduce cholesterol. It was done in isreal by Dr. Aviram. hope this helps

3f3788f718e4bd417c83bf57d2f9d176

on December 05, 2014
at 05:20 PM

I can't trust that you know what your talking about if you say that you think dates grow in jungles and rain forests. They only grow in arid desert climates:/ 

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:41 PM

They probably would have gorged themselves, but they probably wouldn't have stumbled across a full tree every day, so I'm guessing that it would have been an occasional treat.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:35 PM

what do you think that our ancestors would have done after stumbling across a tree filled with ripe dates? "Oh I'll just have one, I'm on the paleo diet "

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:08 AM

+1 trololololo :)

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 10, 2012
at 08:05 AM

@JeezLoise I once stuffed dates with cream cheese (was out of goat cheese) and chopped pecans, wrapped in prosciutto, and served at a party of SAD-eaters. They were a huge hit!

93ae9f2d376e5426e891a9b58d8302fa

(2936)

on February 16, 2012
at 10:46 PM

Not unless they're really bad kissers.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 16, 2012
at 08:57 PM

That's terrifying jeezlosie!

1dcfcebc5f36408d121f124a78292d42

(1295)

on February 16, 2012
at 07:58 PM

I don't eat dates regularly, but a date stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and then roasted in the oven = BEST. THING. EVER.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 16, 2012
at 07:42 PM

Context For zombies?

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on February 16, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Don't you think a long answer like this = no? Just kidding, but my take is to look a little closer at what causes sweet craving, instead of the true primal urge to consume fat.

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on February 16, 2012
at 03:05 PM

some would beg to differ... context, people, context!!!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 16, 2012
at 02:16 PM

Cannibalism is bad m'kay?

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 16, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Thorough and excellent answer!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 16, 2012
at 08:41 AM

I "found" dates a few months back, and am addicted. I eat five of them after each workout, as that's the best time for insulin-spiking foods.

B23318c968ac589b87131d5b489d6e16

(1294)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:56 AM

of course it doesnt hurt! i just meant ALSO read the past comments, they were interesting.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:50 AM

Asking the question again doesn't hurt. Different people answer. Same people may answer differently. If not, then link to one of those old answers and I'll check yours off.

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14 Answers

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17
B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on February 16, 2012
at 12:35 PM

I would place dates in the same category as other unprocessed but high-sugar foods, and treat its intake the same way as you would raw honey, maple syrup, etc. Because it is a whole food, it has a nutrient content, and probably fits in to evolutionary eating, especially as they are a sort of staple in traditional middle eastern cooking.

So if you're looking for a sweetener and don't want to use something like stevia, dates are a good option; they are especially good in dense baking (e.g. loaves, things like banana bread, fruit/nut bars) as they are sticky, add moistness and a caramel-like flavour. They are also very portable and practical, so quite convenient to take on a hike or camping trip.

Nutrition wise, dates have commendable amounts of minerals such as potassium and vitamins (though vitamin C is only present in notable quantities in fresh dates since heat significantly depletes it) and antioxidants. So it isn't an empty calorie sweetener by any means. It is also easier to find pure, unadulterated dates than truly unprocessed honey or maple sap with a good nutritional and antioxidant profile, so its definitely a good source of sweetness, though I don't think dates would perform well sweetening something more liquid like custard.

It's true that dates are very high in fructose, which is problematic, hard to digest for some folks and is most often stored as fat. However, dates are a whole food, not just sugar alone: food processing tends to have a knack for isolating components of foods, which leads to a consumption of that component that is way higher than what you could have ingested if you had eaten the whole food (HFCS, nut/seed oils all fall into this category). Early man would not have had access to such an amount of dates and other high-sugar plant material to consume enough fructose to affect the metabolism.

Studies on honey show that higher-antioxidant honey (e.g. acacia vs rapeseed honey) causes less of an elevation of serum fructose levels(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20823899); so I suppose that the same would hold for consuming dates, which also have bioactive compounds that could well counter any potential damage.

However, once again, we did not evolve consuming a lot of such high-sugar foods; dates should be treated like any other high-sugar food and eaten in moderation. You should most certainly not rely on dates for nutrition: you would have to eat 100 grams of dates to just under 20% of the RDA for minerals like potassium, and under 10% of RDA for select vitamins, for a price of around 70 grams of carbs, most of them in fructose. So dates should be limited to post-workout, the occasional treat and perhaps on a hike where you're very active.

If you have weight to loose, or are just starting out on paleo and not yet fat-adapted, or if you have metabolic disorders, furthermore, I'd avoid dates altogether before you're ready to add more carbs to your diet. Needless to say that if you have fructose malabsorption you should avoid them altogether.

And remember that date syrup is not the same as dates - it does not contain the same nutrient profile and is essentially the same as something like HFCS - an isolated sugar!

So the bottom line is, dates are, per se, a whole food and can be classed as 'paleo', but should always be put in context of your lifestyle and carb tolerance.

Hope I helped,

Lots of paleo love :-)

Milla

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 16, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Thorough and excellent answer!

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on February 16, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Don't you think a long answer like this = no? Just kidding, but my take is to look a little closer at what causes sweet craving, instead of the true primal urge to consume fat.

6
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 16, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I think that would stop you from going on future dates though with that person. Most people don't like being eaten alive.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 16, 2012
at 07:42 PM

Context For zombies?

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on February 16, 2012
at 03:05 PM

some would beg to differ... context, people, context!!!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:08 AM

+1 trololololo :)

3
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on February 16, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Not unless you're a female spider.

2
6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:19 PM

When I first read the title I was thinking this question was about something totally different.....

should-we-eat-dates?

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on October 10, 2012
at 11:11 AM

No worse than eating a good quality honey. In small amounts, I wouldn't worry about it unless you're diabetic. If you're worried about the insulin spike, eat them about an hour or so after a demanding workout as carb backloading, or as a glucose refeed.

Just don't buy a large bag of them at Costco at eat them all day long.

0
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 09:21 AM

As you say in the question "our ancestors, fiercely contest for in African jungles and rain forests".

The fact that there is a competition for them, kinda suggests that they weren't lots to go around, which kind of lines up with the whole "eat them occaisionally as a treat" thing.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:41 PM

They probably would have gorged themselves, but they probably wouldn't have stumbled across a full tree every day, so I'm guessing that it would have been an occasional treat.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:35 PM

what do you think that our ancestors would have done after stumbling across a tree filled with ripe dates? "Oh I'll just have one, I'm on the paleo diet "

0
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on October 10, 2012
at 08:01 AM

I just ate some dates along with macadamia nuts about an hour ago.

They're an occasional treat for me. I rarely eat more than two or three in a sitting, and very, very rarely without the accompaniment of nuts. For me, eating any fruit without some hefty protein and/or fat results in some blood sugar shenanigans.

One of my favorite snacks involves tossing some nuts in a food processor with some cocoa powder, pulverizing, then adding in and pulsing just enough dates to get everything to stick together when I crimp it with my hands. It's like a chocolate Larabar, but more nuts and fewer dates.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:38 AM

Try them. If they work for you, great. They taste awful to me so "we" won't be eating anything.

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on October 10, 2012
at 07:13 AM

I love dates. Here is what FitDay says 5 dates contain as nutrients - I'd say a good little supplement!

http://www.fitday.com/fitness/FoodLog.html?_v_View_FoodLogSummaryTabs-Focus=Nutri

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:54 AM

i eat a lot of dates. they are my favorite fruit! i go through phases where i don't want them for months- 8 months this year- and then when i went paleo, i craved dates again. weird.

0
00a74b5c498e9fdc7ec56abbc8b9f4d0

(0)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:40 AM

I mixed dates and walnuts in a blender, rolled it into tiny balls then dipped them in dark chocolate. Really decadent.

0
41e79168f1df5d656b6c4f3fef8c9b46

(630)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:43 PM

Bacon wrapped dates=amazing . But eat sparingly!

0
E58d839e75d4a9a2ceaf40392ba6cfd7

on February 16, 2012
at 06:20 PM

I will eat one after strength training along with a protein shake. That's probably the best time to consume, because it won't cause insulin spikes and will be utilized right away by your body.

0
B23318c968ac589b87131d5b489d6e16

(1294)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:48 AM

Good question! Search for "dates" and view the past discussions, good answers!

B23318c968ac589b87131d5b489d6e16

(1294)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:56 AM

of course it doesnt hurt! i just meant ALSO read the past comments, they were interesting.

De267f213b375efca5da07890e5efc25

(3747)

on February 16, 2012
at 06:50 AM

Asking the question again doesn't hurt. Different people answer. Same people may answer differently. If not, then link to one of those old answers and I'll check yours off.

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