3

votes

Dates? Good sweetner alternative or sugar bomb?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 24, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Does anyone use Dates to sweeten semi-paleo dessert recipes? I know they have a lot of fiber -- but they also have a lot of sugar/fructose.

22ed067dfadf3ce563b2f0b9f8bf70bb

(92)

on August 26, 2013
at 12:17 PM

"Sure you can fear the sugar. However when you can reach the end of your life and look back, will your life have been better and more worthwhile for never having eaten some dates?" Best advice I've heard for a long time - thank you x

22ed067dfadf3ce563b2f0b9f8bf70bb

(92)

on August 26, 2013
at 12:15 PM

"ure you can fear the sugar if you want. However when you reach the end of your life and look back, will your life have been better and more worthwhile for never having eaten some dates? Personally I sometimes eat food simply because it tastes awesome. For more Paleo Diet hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/24652/dates-good-sweetner-alternative-or-sugar-bomb#ixzz2d4rB9SWw Follow us: @PaleoHacks on Twitter | PaleoHacks on Facebook" Best advice I've heard in a very long time - thank you x

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 13, 2012
at 04:07 PM

Fructose contributes to Cirrhosis of the liver because (like alcohol) it must be metabolized by the liver. And, the process the liver uses to metabolize fructose is almost identical to the process it uses to metabolize fructose. Like alcohol, fructose in small or medium amounts doesn't cause most people any problems. It's only when you consume large quantities that it becomes a problem--which would happen if you decided to make it your primary sweetener for everything.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:23 PM

I also have to agree that it is mis-information at best, and wrong info at worst. Depending on the person, more glucose could be better than fructose, but a blanket statement is incorrect. For someone with NAFLD, glucose could be better.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:20 PM

I made a comment about bacon wrapped dates before I read this far down on the page. They are amazing...but not if you are striving for weightloss.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:19 PM

I had bacon wrapped dates the other day, OMG So amazing.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on November 16, 2011
at 09:18 PM

In fairness, dates are a whole food (mostly). HFCS is not.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 16, 2011
at 09:17 PM

Oh man is this post ever wrong. The metabolism of excessive fructose leads to elevated uric acid, which results in decreased endothelial nitric oxide concentrations and insulin resistance. Simply eating glucose over and over does not cause diabetes.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on May 17, 2011
at 12:30 PM

Cool, thanks Jeff!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 15, 2011
at 10:52 PM

I make a similar bar that I use mainly during bike rides. It seems to stay together just fine even being in my jersey pocket on 90+ degree days. It's on the top right corner... http://hungryforreal.net/Recipes.php

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:32 PM

Yes because dates are known to be the leading cause of cancer, heart disease and preventable deaths... Seriously though I do enjoy dates even if I don't eat them by the ton :)

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on February 25, 2011
at 04:34 PM

I personally use the "wet" coconut palm sugars. You only need the smallest bit to sweeten anything and it's one of the few natural sweeteners that doesn't cause me to crash in any way. Plus it's full of minerals. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fgQOyoi34Q4/ST3RzI0w59I/AAAAAAAABgE/KnY_Wk0j2VE/s400/IMG_6597.JPG

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on February 25, 2011
at 12:55 AM

Depends. Alternative to what?

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 24, 2011
at 11:58 PM

I've used the subbrand Sweet Tree palm sugar before. It is delicious - it has a toasted coconut flavor - kind of like it's precaramelized. About 1/4 c./2 qt. ice cream yields deep flavor. What I _don't_ understand is how it can have such a low GI and yet also be almost all sucrose. For me personally, it's a fine line to walk; I'd definitely use it over white sugar, but I haven't found any evidence of it being any less compelling (tasty) or cravings-inducing compared with refined sugars. Anybody else feel strongly one way or another about palm sugar's nutrition stats and effects on your body?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 24, 2011
at 11:36 PM

and Winstons are better than Marlboros? better doesnt make it good. sugar is better than HFCS. does that make sugar ok? Im not saying the quantity that you eat is too much, just want to make clear the point that because its better than bad, doesnt make it good.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1197)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Is this the same as coconut nectar?: http://paleohacks.com/questions/22444/coconut-nectar-sucrose-bomb-delete#axzz1Eu9ksOQW

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:05 PM

Fructose KABOOOM!

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:54 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about avoiding rice. Nearly all life on earth uses glucose for aerobic respiration. We don't want to become too dogmatic about "paleo" to the point that we take the paleo route instead of the optimal route.

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Me too -- want to avoid all corn and rice.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:39 PM

Corn syrup is actually glucose syrup. HFCS are made via the use of glucose isomerase to convert glucose into the isomer fructose. Personally, I choose to avoid corn, but I suppose that organic corn syrup would be ok.

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Is rice syrup the only sweetner that is pure glucose?

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:29 PM

i'm going to bookmark this, thanks

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Here ya go! http://queen-of-the-stoneage.blogspot.com/2011/02/coconut-bars-hand-scrub-repost-from-old.html I'm going to do some bar experimentation- these taste great but fall apart of not refrigerated :(

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:49 PM

Ooh recipe! Please!

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:31 PM

I'm interested in seeing the answers here!

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13 Answers

8
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:09 AM

I like fresh dates when I can get them. Dried dates I usually find a bit chewy and the large medjool dates are usually too sweet for me.

dates?--good-sweetner-alternative-or-sugar-bomb?

Fresh dates are sweet and moist and taste great in combination with some good Normandy camenbert.

Sure you can fear the sugar if you want. However when you reach the end of your life and look back, will your life have been better and more worthwhile for never having eaten some dates? Personally I sometimes eat food simply because it tastes awesome.

22ed067dfadf3ce563b2f0b9f8bf70bb

(92)

on August 26, 2013
at 12:17 PM

"Sure you can fear the sugar. However when you can reach the end of your life and look back, will your life have been better and more worthwhile for never having eaten some dates?" Best advice I've heard for a long time - thank you x

22ed067dfadf3ce563b2f0b9f8bf70bb

(92)

on August 26, 2013
at 12:15 PM

"ure you can fear the sugar if you want. However when you reach the end of your life and look back, will your life have been better and more worthwhile for never having eaten some dates? Personally I sometimes eat food simply because it tastes awesome. For more Paleo Diet hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/24652/dates-good-sweetner-alternative-or-sugar-bomb#ixzz2d4rB9SWw Follow us: @PaleoHacks on Twitter | PaleoHacks on Facebook" Best advice I've heard in a very long time - thank you x

5
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on February 24, 2011
at 11:31 PM

I eat a ton of dates and still manage perfect body fat and blood sugar. I am an athlete though, and time them generally more around/during workouts.

dates+almond butter = best desert ever

also, it may be high in fructose, but at least it's a real food. For anyone who has a sweet tooth it's gotta be far better than a cooked/processed desert

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:32 PM

Yes because dates are known to be the leading cause of cancer, heart disease and preventable deaths... Seriously though I do enjoy dates even if I don't eat them by the ton :)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 24, 2011
at 11:36 PM

and Winstons are better than Marlboros? better doesnt make it good. sugar is better than HFCS. does that make sugar ok? Im not saying the quantity that you eat is too much, just want to make clear the point that because its better than bad, doesnt make it good.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on November 16, 2011
at 09:18 PM

In fairness, dates are a whole food (mostly). HFCS is not.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:19 PM

I had bacon wrapped dates the other day, OMG So amazing.

3
Medium avatar

on February 24, 2011
at 07:13 PM

I would completely avoid anything that is that high in fructose. It might be better to find a sweetener that is pure glucose, such as rice syrup.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:39 PM

Corn syrup is actually glucose syrup. HFCS are made via the use of glucose isomerase to convert glucose into the isomer fructose. Personally, I choose to avoid corn, but I suppose that organic corn syrup would be ok.

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Me too -- want to avoid all corn and rice.

9055f14c31610afd4d3068ec48eb6d90

(984)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Is rice syrup the only sweetner that is pure glucose?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:54 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about avoiding rice. Nearly all life on earth uses glucose for aerobic respiration. We don't want to become too dogmatic about "paleo" to the point that we take the paleo route instead of the optimal route.

2
5aef0793a2c902b89764a43cc785a8e5

on August 26, 2013
at 11:07 AM

I am marketing manager for largest date supply company in the world. I can tell you - it depends on refining process, but it is MUCH BETTER profile than cane sugar or beet sugar. It is so much better for you than stevia and of course aspartame.

2
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 13, 2012
at 03:53 PM

Sugar bomb and 100% paleo.

Paleo is not by definition a low carb diet. There were plenty of foods (like dates) that were available to paleo man that was high in sugar. But, (unlike today) they were not as common--seasonal or regional foods.

If your goal is to lose weight, then you have to be aware of the glycemic load of servings of various foods.

If your goal is to be healthier by eating paleo (and cutting out the junk), then I wouldn't worry about it. Just remember that fruit was a side item for paleo man, not the basis of their diet.

2
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:39 PM

I love cooked dates wrapped in bacon, not a dessert and not very paleo at all, I rarely eat this, even as a recovery food from a workout.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:20 PM

I made a comment about bacon wrapped dates before I read this far down on the page. They are amazing...but not if you are striving for weightloss.

1
0f44d81f247518d6fc2de0403ff9a68a

on August 26, 2013
at 12:05 PM

Dates might be high in fiber compared to a lot of other foods, but I wouldn't exactly say that they contain "lots of fiber". The problem is that people who think that a food contains "lots of fiber" often overestimate the fiber the food actually contains.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database medjool dates contain (by weight) 7% fiber and deglet noor dates contain 8% fiber. That means you have to eat 14oz of medjool dates to get 1oz of fiber.

But the real problem is the sugar content. A whopping 2/3 of dates are sugar. That means those 14oz of dates you would have to eat for 1oz of fiber would give you about 9oz of sugar. That also means that the sugar:fiber ratio is pretty bad (about 9:1).

Just as a comparison: raspberries contain 6-7% fiber and only 4-5% sugar. The sugar:fiber ratio is 0.7:1).

Don't get me wrong: In my opinion dates are absolutely delicious and I have used them in recipes and eaten them plain. It's just important to keep in mind that they are very high in sugar and eating them regularly is definitely not a good idea. High-sugar is definitely not the way to go and it doesn't matter much whether it comes from table sugar, honey or dates.

So people who use 3oz of dates instead of 2oz of table sugar, because they think it's healthier are fooling themselves. Yes, you do get some fiber and some vitamins etc., so technically it is the slightly better option. But sugar is sugar and your body doesn't know whether the high load of glucose+fructose it has to metabolize came from dates or table sugar.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 16, 2011
at 09:11 PM

Once or twice a week I have a fruit salad: one fresh date, one fig, 5-6 fresh cranberries and something like a banana or pear. I sprinkle it with cinnamon and it's heavenly. I go out of my way to have both date and cranberry in the same spoonfuls as they are a lively sweet/sour combination.

Compared to how I ate all my life--and somehow managed to wind up healthier in my 60s than many of my friends--this is a healthy and tasty treat.

1
7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1197)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:03 PM

Hmm...dates seem very high in fructose. From http://www.livestrong.com:

Dates are fructose-rich foods. A type of date called medjool contains 31,954 milligrams of fructose per 3-oz. serving, according to NutritionData.com. A 3-oz. serving is the equivalent of three dates. This amount can supply up to 20 percent of your daily recommended allotment of fructose, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Deglet noor, another type of date, is also rich in fructose. A 3-oz. serving contains an impressive 19,559 milligrams of fructose.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/35748-list-foods-fructose-content/#ixzz1Eu8ae5BN

I would use rice syrup as a sweetener. It contains no fructose. The Jaminets use it as their sweetener of choice (perfecthealthdiet.com).

0
595f3ccc43f99ca7e8fc0e6130e6a7e9

on July 13, 2012
at 03:17 PM

Dates actually have higher glocose than fructose, hence the high glycemic index. It changes if you ad protein, fibre or fat though. You also cannot compare dates to a high fructose processed syrup. Too much fat slows insulin response. Over consumption of processed suger will burn out your pancreas. If you eat whole fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fatty acids even whole grains, beans and legumes. You will not get type 2 diabeties or be obese.

0
Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:07 PM

http://www.bigtreefarms.com/coconutsugar/

Coconut Palm sugar is amazing.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1197)

on February 24, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Is this the same as coconut nectar?: http://paleohacks.com/questions/22444/coconut-nectar-sucrose-bomb-delete#axzz1Eu9ksOQW

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on February 24, 2011
at 11:58 PM

I've used the subbrand Sweet Tree palm sugar before. It is delicious - it has a toasted coconut flavor - kind of like it's precaramelized. About 1/4 c./2 qt. ice cream yields deep flavor. What I _don't_ understand is how it can have such a low GI and yet also be almost all sucrose. For me personally, it's a fine line to walk; I'd definitely use it over white sugar, but I haven't found any evidence of it being any less compelling (tasty) or cravings-inducing compared with refined sugars. Anybody else feel strongly one way or another about palm sugar's nutrition stats and effects on your body?

Eea4c0f072bb5caa74c1fbe6dfab5f46

(942)

on February 25, 2011
at 04:34 PM

I personally use the "wet" coconut palm sugars. You only need the smallest bit to sweeten anything and it's one of the few natural sweeteners that doesn't cause me to crash in any way. Plus it's full of minerals. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fgQOyoi34Q4/ST3RzI0w59I/AAAAAAAABgE/KnY_Wk0j2VE/s400/IMG_6597.JPG

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:29 PM

i'm going to bookmark this, thanks

0
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:22 PM

I sometimes use them when I make coconut bars; they really help bind everything together. It works out to a little less than 1 date per bar, I don't sweat it too much since I don't eat them often.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 24, 2011
at 06:49 PM

Ooh recipe! Please!

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on February 24, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Here ya go! http://queen-of-the-stoneage.blogspot.com/2011/02/coconut-bars-hand-scrub-repost-from-old.html I'm going to do some bar experimentation- these taste great but fall apart of not refrigerated :(

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on May 17, 2011
at 12:30 PM

Cool, thanks Jeff!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on May 15, 2011
at 10:52 PM

I make a similar bar that I use mainly during bike rides. It seems to stay together just fine even being in my jersey pocket on 90+ degree days. It's on the top right corner... http://hungryforreal.net/Recipes.php

-5
6a90b8e36d06dceeccc65d0ef1d0d9bf

on November 16, 2011
at 09:04 PM

Anything high in fructose is better for you than high glucose foods. When you eat things high in glucose you cause a spike in your blood sugar that initiates an insulin response. When you are constantly spiking your blood sugar you lose your insulin sensitivity and can develop insulin insensitivity which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The reason Live Strong and other websites tell you to stay away from fructose containing foods is to recharge your glucose stores after you workout. Glucose is the major form of energy for your brain and your body. Simple sugars are good for after a workout, but if you live a sedentary lifestyle or don't really workout for more than an hour you don't need to have that much simple sugar=glucose. You would be better off eating fructose than glucose-ask the diabetics. Also date sugar is just crushed up dates-a whole food rather than a refined sweetener like all the rest. Here's a good little video that explains which sweetener is nutritionally superior:

http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/the-healthiest-sweetener/

Medium avatar

(39831)

on November 16, 2011
at 09:17 PM

Oh man is this post ever wrong. The metabolism of excessive fructose leads to elevated uric acid, which results in decreased endothelial nitric oxide concentrations and insulin resistance. Simply eating glucose over and over does not cause diabetes.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 13, 2012
at 04:07 PM

Fructose contributes to Cirrhosis of the liver because (like alcohol) it must be metabolized by the liver. And, the process the liver uses to metabolize fructose is almost identical to the process it uses to metabolize fructose. Like alcohol, fructose in small or medium amounts doesn't cause most people any problems. It's only when you consume large quantities that it becomes a problem--which would happen if you decided to make it your primary sweetener for everything.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 13, 2012
at 03:23 PM

I also have to agree that it is mis-information at best, and wrong info at worst. Depending on the person, more glucose could be better than fructose, but a blanket statement is incorrect. For someone with NAFLD, glucose could be better.

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