Are dates keto-friendly and low in carbs? Can they be used as a sweetener in keto recipes? Get that and more information about dates here!
Dates are a fruit that come from date palms, which are typically grown in the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Canary Islands, Pakistan, India, Mexico and California. Deglet noor and medjool dates are two of the most popular types of dates, but there are more than 2,000 types.
Dates can be eaten fresh or dried, and most of the dates sold in the United States and western countries are dried. Dried dates are chewy with a sweet, caramel-like flavor.
Some people like to substitute dates for refined sugar in recipes since they're very sweet, contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, and have a little less impact on blood sugars than refined sugar.
However, it should be noted that dates are high in calories, carbohydrates, and natural sugar (roughly 70 to 80 percent of a date).
Are Dates Keto-Friendly?
Since dates are high in carbs and natural sugar, they're not keto-friendly. According to the USDA, one cup of chopped deglet noor dates is 98 grams of net carbs.
How Many Carbs are in Dates?
One average-size deglet noor date is roughly 5 grams of net carbs, which is significant given the size (about 5 to 6 centimeters).
Dates as a Sugar Substitute
Dates have become increasing popular since they can be used as a natural sweetener in some desserts or snacks. Dates can sometimes replace refined sugar since they're naturally very sweet and have a caramel-like flavor.
They're commonly used in Paleo diet recipes, which exclude refined sugar and grains. And since dates are sweet and sticky in texture they work well as a sweetener and as a binder to hold ingredients together.
If you're on a keto diet, which typically involves 50 total carbohydrates or less per day, dates may not be viable sweetener. Instead, you'll want to consider other sweeteners like monk fruit, erythritol or stevia, which have no impact on blood sugars and minimal to no carbohydrates. You can get more information on some of the best keto sweeteners at Diet Doctor.
Dates Compared to Refined Sugar
Dates are roughly 70 to 80 percent sugar and carbohydrates, whereas sugar is 100 percent carbohydrates.
Unlike sugar, dates also contain vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber (about 6 to 12 percent). Fiber is important since it helps reduce the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes. Because of fiber, dates have a lower GI index of about 42 (whereas table sugar is 65).
Nutritional Profile of Deglet Noor Dates
|Amount Per 1 cup deglet noor dates, chopped (147 g)|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0.6 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 g||0%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 3 mg||0%|
|Potassium 964 mg||27%|
|Total Carbohydrate 110 g||36%|
|Dietary fiber 12 g||48%|
|Sugar 93 g|
|Protein 3.6 g||7%|
|*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.|