Can I Eat Dates On A Keto Diet?
WHAT ARE DATES?
Dates grow on palm trees ( Phoenix dactylifera) and are one of the oldest cultivated foods in human civilization. Fossil records show that date palm has existed for at least 50 million years. And there is archeological evidence of date cultivation dating back to 7000 BCE. Today they are mostly cultivated in Iraq, Iran, Arabia, and North Africa. Dates are also cultivated in the United States in southern California, Arizona, and southern Florida.
DATES ON A KETO DIET
When you first switch to a keto approach, you will likely have many questions about which foods you can, and cannot eat. Since a ketogenic approach is often as low as 50 grams of net carbohydrates per day, high carb foods are generally not a regular keto staple. However, there are some exceptions. Fruit, for example, is not a regular carbohydrate. While consuming too much sugar, and too many carbs – is certainly not ideal for a keto diet – fruit can be a perfectly good choice, in moderation. Which brings us to dates. Not just ‘normal’ food dates are sweet, golden – and packed with numerous, science backed, nutritional benefits. Since one of the defining characteristics of the keto diet is its highly concentrated fat content – most fattier foods are more readily associated with optimal ketogenic choices. But since the ketogenic diet was originally designed to reduce and control seizures, there is still room for some sugar.
WebMD reminds us that “by reducing the number of carbohydrates a person eats, the body is forced to burn fat for energy, a process called "ketosis". This ketosis is the same process that kicks in when someone is fasting on purpose, or because of starvation. Fasting has been a traditional seizure treatment for centuries.” While a sugarrich, carb heavy diet would certainly kick someone out of ketosis some nutrient dense, moderate amounts of sugar will not. Dates are pretty much the best choice in this category. The benefits of dates are numerous ranging from fiber content, to inflammation reduction, to aiding with anemia, in addition to boosting energy, reducing stroke risk, improving bone health, and more.
In fact, as you can see in our 50+ scientific references at the end of this article dates have substantial scientific benefits. A diet with regular date consumption can help lower the risk of diseases, by three main preventive pathways – anti inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor. Originating with a Greek word, dates are one of the oldest cultivated human plants of any kind dating back more than 5000 years. Most don’t know that there are over 200 different types of dates, grown throughout the world. As with all foods, organically sourced dates are far superior in nutrition and always opt for organic varieties. If you are looking to buy dates directly the US is not the biggest grower, surprisingly. In fact, the United States only produces around 10% of dates, worldwide. In addition to our aforementioned three aspects of diseaseprevention, dates are also antidiabetic, a sex hormone modulator, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial, and nephronprotective.
In a word dates are considered to be good for your health. Keto dieters can tell you that controlling your blood sugar is crucial for preventing weight gain, and maintaining a healthy metabolism. With 3% of the world population suffering from diabetes, controlling blood sugar is a critical health improvement, that can literally save lives, and also help prevent obesity related illnesses etc.The date palm tree is the origin of date production, and you can find these trees in many tropical regions – after which the dates are dried. Since dates are a dried fruit, they are a more streamlined form of nutrition. Besides exhibiting all the beneficial features mentioned above, dates also contain: vitamin B6, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and more. Figs and raisins (other dried fruits) have similar nutritional profiles, but dates excel in their fiber content, specifically. Scientific studies have found that dates directly improve with fiber related issues, such as constipation and blood sugar control. It is important to also note that dates are a low glycemic index (GI) food – which means your blood sugar does not spike, like when consuming candy or other unhealthy foods such as junk or high sugar content food.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Even though most keto experts discourage eating fruits in general, it is not true that you must avoid them at any cost. Whether you should or shouldn’t eat dates on the keto diet depends entirely on you and your goals. If you are trying to keep your carb intake at an absolute minimum, then don’t eat them instead to stay on the safer side. Finally, it’s up to you to decide whether or not dates are permissible on your diet plan. They are definitely not suitable for everyone’s approach to keto, but they might be for yours. One should always remember that moderation is the key and the thumb rule of a balanced diet.