Weight Loss
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How Can Dates Help You Lose Weight?

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
How Can Dates Help You Lose Weight? November 15, 2017

Dates are considered to be the ideal food as they are rich in nutrients and provide many health benefits (1). Since they are rich in dietary fiber and fatty acids, dates can aid weight loss by flushing out toxins, regulating blood glucose levels, and reducing inflammation (2). These sweet fruits can help satiate your sweet tooth without making you pile on extra calories. But you must control the portion size as anything in excess can make you gain weight. In this article, I am going to tell you how dates aid weight loss, how to include them in your diet, and the lifestyle you must follow to lose weight. Read on!

But first, let me tell you a little about dates. Dates or Phoenix dactylifera, are the sweet fruits of palm trees, found mostly in the Middle East, Africa, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. There are different varieties of dates depending on the fructose, glucose, and sucrose content.

Dates are rich in carbs (44-88%), dietary fiber (6.4-11.5%). Protein (2.3-5.6 %), fats (0.2-0.5 %), minerals (iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium, etc.), salts, vitamins (A, B1, B2, C, niacin) and oils (3).

So, it is clear from the nutrition profile that dates are not only super delicious but also highly nutritious. Now, let us understand how dates aid weight loss.

How Do Dates Aid Weight Loss?

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Though they are sweet and loaded with carbs, dates can help you lose weight due to the following reasons.

1. High Fiber Content

Dates are rich in dietary fiber. Fiber or good carbs (as I like to call it) cannot be digested by humans. Fiber works in three ways that result in weight loss.

First, fiber helps slow down the absorption of food in the large intestine, thereby making you feel full for a long time. It also prevents a sudden spike in blood glucose.

Second, it helps trap the fats, preventing fat absorption.

And third, fiber helps in the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, which is basically food for the good gut bacteria. These gut bacteria help in digestion, which ultimately helps boost the metabolism (4).

2. High Unsaturated Fatty Acid Content

Not all fats are bad. Like the unsaturated fatty acids found in dates. These unsaturated fatty acids can help reduce inflammation. Inflammation can occur due to various reasons such as injury, swelling, disease, unhealthy food consumption, and leading a sedentary lifestyle. The bad news is, inflammation is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, liver disease, etc. (5). Since dates have a good amount of unsaturated fatty acids, by consuming them, you can reduce inflammation, thereby lowering your chances of gaining weight.

3. Good Protein Source

Dates are also rich in protein. Proteins are tough to digest, and the transition time in the large intestine is longer, which makes you feel full for a long duration. Moreover, proteins can also help build and repair muscles.

4. Antioxidant Property

Dry fruits are rich in antioxidants (6). Antioxidants help scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals and reduce stress and inflammation. Fresh dates contain antioxidants such as anthocyanins, phenolics, and carotenoids (7). These help flush out toxins and boost metabolism and digestion. This ultimately leads to weight loss.

5. Anti-Diabetic Activity

This natural candy can actually help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Scientists have found that the flavonoids, saponins, and phenolics in dates can help stimulate insulin production. Plus, it was found that feeding dates to laboratory diabetic rats helped improve various biochemical results (8). However, you need to be careful if you are a diabetic. Consult your doctor to know if you can consume dates.

6. Satiates The Sweet Tooth

That sweet tooth! I hate it, I love it, but I can’t lose it! Yes, good news for those of you who feel this way. Dates are sweet, soft, and gooey. They can act as a natural sweetener minus all the ill effects of cane sugar. So, if you feel like having something sweet after a meal, just pop two dates in your mouth, and you are all set. This way, you will be able to provide nutrition to your body without the risk of gaining weight.

So, these were the 6 reasons dates can help you lose weight. But can you consume unlimited dates and still hope to lose weight? Let’s find out.

How Many Dates To Consume To Lose Weight?

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Dates may aid weight loss, but they may also lead to weight gain if you don’t consume them in limited quantities. You can have 4-6 dates per day to satiate your sweet tooth, keep your hunger pangs at bay, or add nutrition and taste to your food.

Talking about food, let me tell you how to include dates in your daily food menu.

Dates Help In Weight Loss – Ways To Incorporate Dates Into Your Diet

  1. One exciting way to eat dates is to de-seed them and stuff some pieces of walnuts and almonds or any other dry fruit of your choice in them.
  2. Adding chopped dates to a fruit salad or dessert is another great way to enjoy them.
  3. You can also include dates in vegetables, rice dishes, couscous, etc.
  4. A very common method of consuming dates is by adding them to milk.
  5. You can add dates to yogurt, custard, chutney, dips, cakes, etc.

One of the most popular ways to consuming dates is by adding them to a glass of milk. In fact, the dates and milk diet was found to promote rapid weight loss in many dieters. So, if you want to lose 7 kg in 2 weeks, here’s what you must do.

Dates And Milk Diet

Image: Shutterstock

Week 1

Breakfast – 2 dates and a glass of milk

Lunch – 3 oz grilled fish + green leafy veggies + 1 slice of brown bread + 1 cup yogurt + 2 dates

Afternoon Snack – 1 cup green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit

Dinner – 2 dates and a glass of milk + grilled or stewed veggies + boiled beans

Week 2

Breakfast – 2 dates and a glass of milk

Lunch – 3 oz grilled fish + vegetable soup or chicken soup + 1 slice of brown bread + 1 cup buttermilk + 2 dates

Afternoon Snack – 1 cup green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit

Dinner –   2 dates and a glass of milk + sautéed veggies with mushroom/fish/chicken

NOTE: Talk to your dietician or doctor before you follow this diet plan.

Here are a few dates that can help with weight loss:

  1. Medjool dates
  2. Deglet Noor dates
  3. California dates

Dates are not only good for weight loss. They have other health benefits too, which makes them so very special. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of dates.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Dates?

  • Help Boost Immunity

Consuming dates can help boost your immunity as they are a good source of iron, which is essential for blood production (9). They are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein.

  • Protect From Allergies

Dates contain organic sulfur that not only helps reduce allergic reactions but also protects you from falling prey to seasonal allergies.

  • Prevent Constipation

Dates are rich in fiber, which helps promote bowel movement. If you are suffering from constipation, drink a cup of milk with dates and mashed banana to get relief within an hour or two.

  • Have No Trans Fats

When you consume dates as a snack, you will not add to the trans fats that are already there in your body. Which is great, as by reducing the amount of trans fats in your body, you will reduce your chances of gaining weight and putting your health at risk.

  • Keep You Energetic

Dates can provide you with instant energy as they contain good amounts of glucose, fructose, and sucrose. They can keep you energetic for a whole good hour. So, if you feel lethargic or there’s a drop in your blood glucose levels, have 2-4 dates.

  • Protect The Heart

Dates contain many different minerals that help reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol, thereby making them the ideal heart protectants.

  • Improve Circulation

The iron and sodium in dates help in balancing the fluids in the body. This, in turn, helps improve circulation, which is important when it comes to losing weight and improving health.

So, you see, by consuming dates, you will not only lose weight but also protect your body from various diseases. Great. But how to choose the best dates from the market and how to consume them? Here are a few tips.

Tips To Buy And Consume Dates

Image: Shutterstock

  • Look for unbroken and smoothly wrinkled dates.
  • They should not smell bad.
  • Check the expiry date before buying a pack of dates from the supermarket.
  • Wash them thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or bacteria.
  • Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Consume 4-6 dates every day to lose weight.

Point To Remember

Do not consume too many dates as that can increase your blood sugar levels and also make you gain weight. Moreover, consult your physician or dietician before consuming dates for weight loss.

To conclude, dates are an excellent source of nutrition and can be used to lose weight. So, buy your pack of dates today and lose the excess flab to feel energetic and, of course, look ravishing. Take care.

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.
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