Everyone wants to start a keto diet. Whether for weight loss, improving health, creating a more sustainable lifestyle, or just trying something new, everyone is jumping on the keto bandwagon for all the right reasons! That's why so many people ask are dates keto?
The keto diet has impressive health benefits, and many dietitians, nutritionists, and doctors recommend it. Food pantries and grocery stores are introducing more keto-friendly brands daily. However, if you're wondering if dates are keto, you're in the right place. The short answer to “are dates keto?” is yes, they are, but let's get into it a little further.
What are Dates?
Dates are a sweet fruit grown on palm trees and can be served fresh or dried. They are so delicious that they have a long history of being consumed in countries around the world. They originated in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, where they were cultivated for centuries.
Dates have been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac, but they are also super healthy! Dates are used as a sweetener in desserts, blended in smoothies, added to soups and salads, or enjoyed as they are for a snack. They are prevalent in the Middle East and India, where they are often served as a sweet with tea. Dates are also very popular in the United States, where you can purchase them prepacked in grocery stores or find them in natural food specialty stores.
Many people claim that dates are very healthy. However, this claim has been challenged by many health professionals who say that although dates are nutritious, you should not consume them in large quantities because of their high sugar content.
Are Dates Keto Friendly?
Dates are amongst the most nutritious fruits on the planet. They are high in dietary fiber, potassium, protein, magnesium, and vitamin B6. They also contain essential minerals like iron and selenium, which are a good source of manganese, sodium, and phosphorus.
Dates also have powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce the damage free radicals can cause to your cells. And, of course, they're delicious! Dates have been enjoyed in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years.
If you love dates, you will know how sweet they are. Dates are 70% carbohydrates in the form of fructose and glucose. According to the US Department of Agriculture, dates contain 23.2 kcal, most of which is sugar. Because of their high carbohydrate content, dates aren't a good choice for people on low-carbohydrate diets like the keto diet.
The keto diet does not follow a very rigid set of rules, but the general idea is to stay under a certain number of carbs each day to lose weight and stabilize your blood sugar. The amount of carbs allowed on keto is less than the number of carbs most people consume daily.
Importance of a Healthy Diet
On a keto diet, you mostly eat healthy fats and protein. However, if you create a balanced meal plan, you can still include fruits like dates in moderation. There are many nuts and densely sweet fruits that are perfectly safe to eat on a keto diet. The important thing is to keep track of how many carbs you consume each day to stay in ketosis. There are many online keto calculators which help with keeping track of carb intake.
Although dates contain a lot of carbs, if you want to eat them while on keto for their health benefits or their taste, you can totally do that by restricting the intake of other carbs.
The nutritional value of dates does vary slightly depending on the type of date you buy, but generally, one date contains 6 grams of carbohydrates. Harvard School of Public Health recommends keeping carb intake from 30-40g per day during keto. A moderate serving of 2-3 dates should not affect your ketosis.
How to Incorporate Dates into your Keto Diet?
You can add dates to your keto diet through many recipes. To control carb intake from dates, you can correctly restrict the portion size and timing of your meal so that the carbs won't impact your insulin levels as much. Carbs eaten at night tend to have a higher impact on insulin levels than morning meals.
Carbohydrates have a low biological value for the body and should be consumed in the morning as that is a better time for absorption. It would be best if you paired dates with high-fat foods, which reduce insulin's impact on glucose levels in the body. This helps the body metabolize carbs better and keeps blood sugar levels more stable.
The best way to incorporate dates into your keto diet is to replace them with sweeteners in desserts. Replacing artificial sweeteners with fruit is healthy and will enhance the flavor of your dessert recipe. You can use fresh or dried dates instead of candy as a snack during the day. You can also add them to your diet through smoothies or energy bars to boost nutrition and avoid hunger pangs throughout the day. Dates also make a unique addition to morning cereals.
What are Good Alternatives for Dates in Keto?
While dates might be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, you can't enjoy them in significant quantities because of their enormous amounts of carbs. However, there are other fruits that you can use as an alternate for dates.
Some fruits you can enjoy on keto are:
1. Cherry: Cherries are high in fiber and full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and vitamin 66. A lot of people also enjoy the tangy sweet taste of cherries. You can enjoy cherries in the form of a homemade cherry jam, a smoothie or simply as it is.
2. Fig: Just like dates, figs are high in fiber content, and they also provide you with many nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, calcium, and magnesium. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried.
3. Apple: Apples are extremely nutritious. They are high in dietary fiber and provide you with a lot of antioxidants like quercetin and vitamins A and C as well. Plus, apples are also rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, and potassium.
4. Apricot: Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. They are rich in minerals such as copper, potassium, and manganese. Moreover, apricots also give you a healthy dose of phytonutrients, which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Apricots can be consumed in a variety of ways. They can be eaten as fresh fruits or you can make a jam out of them. They can be added to salads and smoothies, or you can even make an apricot cocktail!
5. Avocado: This is a superfood. Avocados are one of the richest sources of healthy fats, which makes them a great source of energy on the keto diet. They also provide you with lots of vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Plus, avocados also contain plenty of minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium. They can be added to salads, sandwiches, or eaten on their own as a delicious snack!
Even if you are not following the keto diet, you may still be interested in learning how to make healthy food and lifestyle choices that will benefit your body and mind in the long run. Dates are a delicious, nutritious, and popular fruit.
However, while they are probably one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, you can enjoy them in large amounts. Dates are keto friendly but not quite as keto friendly as other fruits. They are high in carbs, most of which come from sugar. It is important to consume this fruit in moderation to avoid spikes in blood sugar.
If you are on a keto diet or are just trying to lose weight in general, you should use healthy alternatives to eating too many dates, like cherries, figs, apples, peaches, pears, apricots, and avocados. In fact, there are many alternatives that are better than just eating a date by itself, such as a breakfast bar that uses dates and other things like almonds, protein powder, and chia seeds.
In recipes, you can also use natural alternatives like honey and maple syrup as a substitute for dates. While many carbohydrates are required for your body to function, it is key to ensure that you choose the right ones to support your overall health. However, if you love eating dates and keep your carb intake to 30-40g per day, your ketosis is good to go!
Click on one of the links below to learn more about keto-friendly foods: