Following a low FODMAP can be hard, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Many sweet foods are high in these indigestible carbs, so they should be limited on a diet low in FODMAPs.
Luckily, there are some naturally sweet foods that can be included in a low FODMAP diet in small amounts.
For example, dates contain fructose, which is a natural sugar. So, are they low or high in FODMAPs? Can you have some dates on a low FODMAP diet?
Are dates low FODMAP?
Dates contain a lot of sugar, so they’re also high in FODMAPs. Small servings of dates are allowed on a low FODMAP diet, but make sure to practice moderation. This is important, as it’s very easy to consume too many dates.
Even though they’re high in sugar, dates are very healthy. They contain a lot of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.
So, eating them can improve your health and even prevent various health conditions.
How high in FODMAPs are dates?
A serving of 1/3 of a date is considered to be low in FODMAPs. It’s a small serving, so if you’re following a strict low FODMAP diet, you might want to completely avoid dates, especially at the beginning.
A whole date is very high in fructans, which are indigestible carbs that can cause digestive system issues, especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
So, make sure to eat dates in moderation and only occasionally to avoid any health problems.
Can you eat dates on a low FODMAP diet?
Dates are very high in fructose, which is a type of FODMAP. Because of that, consuming a lot of dates can be bad for people suffering from IBS and other forms of digestive system issues.
Luckily, if you can’t live without having some dates from time to time, you can consume them in very small quantities.
A safe portion is considered to be 1/3 of a date. So, if you’re able to stick to this small serving, you can include dates on a low FODMAP diet.
What’s more, dates are a great way to add sweetness to your meals without adding refined sugar. You can add flavor to your dishes easily using dates, and you don’t need to add too much either.
Plus, considering that dates are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, they are definitely better than plain sugar or artificial sweeteners.
So, you can include a small serving of dates in baked goods as well as other desserts.
Are dates good for you?
Most of the calories in dates come from carbohydrates, including sugar. In fact, one medium-sized date contains 16 g of sugar, which is quite a lot.
While sugar gives you energy, make sure not to overdo it, as it also leads to weight gain and high blood sugar levels.
Luckily, the same serving provides you with 1.6 g of fiber, which is 6% of your daily need for this nutrient. Considering the small serving size, dates are a great source of fiber.
The fiber found in dates benefits your digestive health, prevents constipation, and helps food pass through your digestive tract.
Studies also show that regular consumption of dates can prevent spikes in blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes.
Because of that, dates have a low glycemic index (GI), which means that eating them doesn’t rapidly increase your blood sugar. So, some quantities of dates can be consumed by people with diabetes.
Dates are also an excellent source of potassium, giving you 167 mg of this mineral in a single date.
Potassium is responsible for various body functions, as it acts as an electrolyte, maintaining fluid balance. It also helps offset the negative effects of sodium on your blood pressure. So, getting enough of this mineral lowers your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
What’s more, a diet rich in high-potassium foods contributes to the health of your muscles, nerves, and heart. So, make sure to get enough foods containing this mineral every day.
Dates also contain a decent dose of copper, a mineral that contributes to making red blood cells and keeps nerve cells healthy.
Copper also works together with iron to ensure its absorption and supports a healthy immune system.
So, getting enough copper-rich foods can help lower your risk of catching viral infections like the common cold or flu.
Another wonderful health benefit of eating dates is that they help you load up on powerful antioxidants.
These plant compounds protect your cells from free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your cells.
Thanks to these antioxidants, you’re at a lower risk of various health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
The antioxidants found in dates can also potentially lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, various eye-related disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.
So, eating dates can benefit in ways more than one.
In addition, dates contain plant compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties that improve the health of your brain.
Because of that, studies show that dates can be helpful in the prevention of various neurodegenerative diseases.
Other research shows that eating dates in the week leading up to labor can decrease labor time and increase the chances of natural labor.
Experts believe that it’s because dates contain compounds that have similar effects on your body as oxytocin.
So, with all of these benefits, there are no reasons not to have some dates from time to time.
Dates are considered to be high FODMAP food. Because of that, you should avoid them on a low FODMAP diet or consume very small quantities. Dates are high in sugar – which is a FODMAP – so that’s what makes them bad for people with IBS.
On the plus side, dates are rich in various nutrients like fiber as well as plant compounds. All of these help improve your health and reduce the risk of many diseases.
Dates are also easy to add to any diet, so there’s no reason not to have some every once in a while.
Alicia is the senior content editor and writer here at Food FAQ. She has extensive experience with acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and various supplements. When not eating food for “research”, she’s watching “Friends” for the 100th time.