June 19, 2019


Don’t be afraid of a little natural sugar! 

At first glance, dates get a bad rap for being “filled with sugar” and some may even let the very words “they aren’t even good for you” leave their lips. Don’t worry, dates, GEM’s got your back and we’re here to set the record straight.

History of Dates

There are hundreds of different types of date species, from medoojla to barhi, halaway, and thoory. Throughout history, nearly every part of the date tree has been used-- from consumption of the fruit to using the wood and leaves for fences, baskets, and rope.

The date fruit goes through different stages of pre-maturation, maturation, and ripening known as Harbabauk, Kimri, Khalal, Rutab, and Tamr (1). Dates are considered edible in the final three stages of maturity- Khala, Rutin, or Tamr. Tamr, the dried form, is the most common way we consume dates today.

This versatile plant has a lot more to offer than just being a sweet treat.

Debunking the Sugar Myth 

On the contrary, dates actually have a low glycemic index, meaning they produce a slower, sustained increase in glucose which helps fuel you (2). Whereas a higher glycemic index, often seen in processed sugary food, produces that ‘sugar high’ followed by a very fast crash.

Dates have a glycemic index of roughly 42.
A bowl of corn flakes has a glycemic index of roughly 81.😱
Soda has a glycemic index of roughly 61.

Dates’ sticky consistency may cause you to think they are unhealthy, but this functional food is nature’s candy.

Nutritional Value (as if we hadn’t convinced you of the beauty of dates already) 😉

Dates contain essential minerals such as iron, sodium, and zinc. They also contain really high sources of potassium – so swap out your banana for a few dates instead! (3) Studies have found that most American’s aren’t consuming enough potassium, an essential nutrient that is important for controlling fluid balance within the body and regulating your heartbeat and blood pressure!

Dates are also packed with magnesium, which helps regulate calcium, sodium, and potassium, and is essential for cellular health. Additionally, magnesium is a crucial component of many biochemical functions in the body (meaning, how do proteins, carbs, and fats interact together). Deficiency in magnesium can lead to anxiety, muscle cramping, muscle pain, fatigue, and more.

Dates are high in calcium and phosphorus, contributing to bone health that helps with the prevention of osteoporosis. (Who needs animal milk anyways!?) They also pack in vitamins such as A, K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate.

Antioxidant Power 💥

Loaded in antioxidants, dates help combat stress and other chronic illnesses like fatigue (4). This is due to the biological effects of phenolics, aka bioactive chemical compounds found in foods (5). These compounds prevent lipids, nucleic acids and proteins from causing oxidative damage as free radicals in the body.

Phenolic compounds in foods = good sources of natural antioxidants!

Additionally, antioxidants in dates have shown to protect the body against degenerative disorders like neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

Last, but by no means least, dates, due to their high phenolic contents (remember these guys? Chemical compounds/natural antioxidants referred to above!) are found to have anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and prevent chronic inflammation and other certain diseases.

Why are dates in GEM? 

Need we say more? Beyond all of the nutrient goodness, dates help bind all of the dried powders, fruits, and seeds together to create the most perfect bite of GEM! Dates contribute to GEM’s dark color and a hint of sweetness.

How else can I snack on dates? 👀

When you're struck with the blotchy spots in your vision due to low blood sugar, don’t reach for a candy bar or processed sports drink, eat a date instead.

Athletes or frequent gym goers-- choose a salted date after a hard workout to replace energy naturally, instead of sports gels and chews.

Kick those late-night, after dinner sugar cravings with a date filled with almond or peanut butter, we promise it won’t disappoint.


1. https://healthybutsmart.com/medjool-dates-health-benefits

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods

3. https://www.wellandgood.com/medjool-dates-nutrition/

4. http://thesciencepublishers.com/science_letters/files/v3i1-4-2014044-SL.pdf

5. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/bk-1992-0506.ch001

Image by Logan Lam/WallpaperFlare

This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and contains trusted sources.

Our goal at GEM is to give readers up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics. GEM content is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and articles undergo an extensive review process.

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