This morning while checking out the blogs on Diabetes Daily, I noticed a link to Prevention Magazine with the title 14 Fantastically Healthy Foods for Diabetes. I love Top 10 lists even when they’re top 14. And if they have to do with food and diabetes, I’m sold.
Most of the things on the list were not all that surprising to me: beans, dairy (so vague!), salmon, tuna, barley, oats, berries, dates…
Excuse my language, but WTF? Dates? Really? Diabetes Friendly Food? Was the list one of those tests where you have to identify the one thing that does not belong?
But since the media is known to provide nothing but accurate information about diabetes, I decided that I should double check myself just to be sure I wasn’t mistaken about the effect of dates on blood sugar. Perhaps my own experience was not indicative of anything. To my mind, dates could not be considered a diabetes friendly food, unless being used to bring one back from a severe case of hypoglycemia, in which case they would make them a great companion. But what do I know?
Here’s what Prevention has to say about dates: “These chewy fruits aren’t much to look at—plain and brown and a little sticky. But pop one in your mouth and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet taste and delightful texture.” Not much to look at, but Prevention chose to use a photo of dried dates as the cover image for the story.
I agree with Prevention on this point, though, dates may look like cockroaches, but they do have a nice sweet taste, as they should since they are sweet as honey, which is why they are used all over the Middle East to produce date honey or nectar, often used to make baklava (those extremely sweet Middle Eastern cakes).
Prevention continues and with some nutritional information. They say dates have a generous supply of fiber [7 dates supply 4g], which makes them a perfect diabetes-friendly snack. They’re also jam-packed with antioxidants—with more per serving than grapes, oranges, broccoli, and peppers, according to one study.”
Here’s what Michael Aviad has to say about dates:
According to nutritiondata.com 1 date [dried, like in the picture on Prevention] has 18g of carb of which 2 are fiber and 16 are sugar. They also have 66 calories per date. Furthermore, dates are not very rich in any other vitamins or minerals.
So let’s do a little math. If you eat 7 dates, as Prevention suggests, you’ll be getting 14 grams of fiber, much more than Prevention leads you to believe, 112 grams of sugar, and 462 calories.
Another interesting nutritional fact most people with diabetes would be interested in is that dates have a GI of 103! Table sugar has a GI of 100.
Prevention goes on to tell us how to eat the dates. “Stuff dates with pecan or walnut halves for a satisfying snack, or toss them into breads and cookies.” Yes, fellow diabetics, when choosing a way to eat your diabetes friendly dates go with the bread and cookies. That has long been hailed as healthiest way to eat any diabetes superfood such as a cookie.
And while you’re at it, you can get your daily dose of vitamin C while washing your date cookie down with a glass of orange juice.