Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about dates, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Dates are a type of fruit renowned for its sweet taste. There are different types of dates with sightly varying but generally similar nutrition values. This article will look at medjool dates.
Most of the dates available for purchase are dried dates.
Like most dried fruits, dates are not great for weight loss compared to many other food options. Find out the exact nutritional values of dates and how they compare to other popular dried fruits for weight loss.
Micronutrients in dates
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in dates.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of medjool dates provides you with approximately (1):
- Potassium: 20% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Copper: 18% of the DV
- Manganese: 15% of the DV
- Magnesium: 14% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Niacin: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 8% of the DV
- Calcium: 6% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
- Iron: 5% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. The amount of other vitamins and minerals in dates is good compared to many other whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals dates can be a good food to add to your diet for certain micronutrients.
Dates also contain certain kinds of antioxidants, substances that help your body deal with oxidative damage. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in dates for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Dates contain around 6.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a great amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in dates you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a great amount.
Do dates help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not dates deserve a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in dates.
Medjool dates contain 277 calories per 100 grams. 270 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (75 g per 100 grams of which 6.7 g fiber).
You might be able to fit in a few but dates are not great for low carb diets like the keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content.
The amount of calories in dates is relatively high compared to many whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Even compared to other dried fruits dates are above average in calories. Most of these calories also come from carbohydrates which are, besides fiber, generally considered the least filling macronutrient.
You are adding valuable fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your diet but there are many foods that are more filling for fewer calories. So with dates in your diet, it becomes easier to overeat on calories compared to a lot of whole foods. In that way dates can be fattening.
On the other hand there are also worse foods for weight loss. If you have to choose between a cookie high in sugar and a date, the date is likely the better option when trying to lose weight. It depends on what you compare with.
Like with all foods you can most likely implement some dates into your diet and still lose weight. That being said, there are probably better food choices than dates for weight loss.
How many dates should you eat in a day?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Dates can provide you with some vitamins and minerals but you will definitely need other nutritious foods as well.
If you are close to your daily vitamin and mineral goals you can see how many dates still fit within your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.
Best time to eat dates
The calories in dates are mainly from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise insulin. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.
That’s one of the reasons why you preferably want to eat dates earlier in the day or at least not right before bed or at night.
Dates won’t be that fattening at night that they mean the end of your weight loss journey but you preferably want to stop eating them a while before bedtime.
Dates vs other dried fruits for weight loss
You now know how good dates are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other dried fruits? Find out how good dates are for weight loss vs figs, prunes, and raisins.
Dates vs dried figs
The first comparison is with dried figs. If you’re only looking at calories dried figs contain a good amount less. Dates contain around 277 calories per 100 grams vs the 249 calories per 100 grams of dried figs (2).
Dates contain around 6.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, dried figs 9.8 grams. These two foods contain similar amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Dried figs will very likely be better for weight loss than dates.
Dates vs prunes
Prunes contain around 7.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams so very similar to dates. Lastly, prunes contain slightly bigger amounts of vitamins and minerals than dates.
All in all, prunes will likely be better for weight loss than dates.
Dates vs raisins
Raisins contain around 6.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams so about the same as dates. In terms of vitamins and minerals these two foods are very similar.
Due to the difference in calories dates are likely better for weight loss than raisins.
Chart of dates vs other dried fruits
All in all, the differences between these dried fruits won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight. If you like all these dried fruits equally you might as well choose the ones that are slightly better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for dates (1), dried figs (2), prunes (3), and raisins (4) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Dates||Figs||Prunes||Raisins|
|Calories||277 calories||249 calories||240 calories||296 calories|
|Fiber||6.7 g||9.8 g||7.1 g||6.8 g|