Dates: healthy sweetener or sugar bomb?

By IQS Team |


Dried dates are the ultimate oozy, caramelly and melt-in-your-mouth sweet treat. But lets be real, you can’t just stop at one, and there’s a reason for that: they’re full of fructose!

You may think that when you eat dried dates you’re eating a whole food, but there’s a few important things you need to know about these little sugar bombs.

* They’re more than 30 per cent fructose. According to NUTTAB (an Australian food standards organisation), dates are more than one third fructose and their total sugar content is over 60 per cent. Yikes!

* They’re a dried fruit (which comes with a number of issues). But basically the water is removed so the sugars are concentrated. Drying fruit also makes it much, much easier to gorge on. You wouldn’t eat a whole bag of fresh apricots or dates, but it’s easy to chow down a bag of the dried versions. You’ve been warned!

* The fibre doesn’t outweigh the sugar content. Yes, dates are a whole food, but aside from a gram or two of fibre, dates are no less sugary than honey, maple syrup or the plain old white stuff.

* Same goes with the mineral content. “But dates contain iron!” we hear you cry. Yeah, that’s true, but we choose to get our iron from other sources that aren’t accompanied with a mound of sugar. Try beef, fish and eggs – so much more nutritious!

* You need lots of dates to achieve the same sweetness as sugar in cooking. This means you end up eating more than you probably should in any given recipe. Sneaky little dates.

We know dates are often what make the raw vegan dessert world go round. But you can do without them! Here are some of our most delicious raw, date-free recipes:

Choc-Cashew Balls


Raw Strawberries & Cream Tart


Raw Vegan Cookie Dough pops


Have you quit sugar but still clutch onto seemingly “healthy” alternatives like dates? Let us know where you’re up to in your sugar-free journey in the comments below:

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

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