How? We mean, how? Anything, but dates? How can this humble and delectable fruit pose any threat to us? Well, they do. In this post, we will discuss the side effects of dates. And we know you want to know more about them.
So, keep reading.
Side Effects Of Dates
- Might Cause Abdominal Issues
- Can Cause Skin Rashes
- Can Cause Asthma Attacks
- Can Cause Weight Gain
- Can Lead To Hyperkalemia
- The Wax Coating Can Have Harmful Effects
- Can Be Unhealthy For Babies
- Can Lead To Fructose Intolerance
1. Might Cause Abdominal Issues
Dates by themselves may not cause abdominal problems – unless otherwise they have sulfites added to them – which is most common today. Sulfites are the chemical compounds added to dried fruit to preserve them and even eliminate harmful bacteria. Individuals sensitive to sulfites can suffer from certain reactions like stomach pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Dates are an excellent source of fiber, which, surprisingly, can have a reverse effect in this case. If you haven’t been already taking enough fiber, consuming too many dates simply meansthe intake of fiber in excess – and this sudden surge can lead to abdominal problems like constipation and bloating.
Though there is less research, dates were also reported to worsen diarrhea in certain cases.
2. Can Cause Skin Rashes
Dried fruit like dates can also cause skin rashes, and the culprit, once again, are the sulfites. Rashes can also be caused by mold present in many dried fruits, dates being one of them.
3. Can Cause Asthma Attacks
There is not enough research on dates causing asthma attacks. But since dates can lead to allergies, and allergies can cause asthma, it is better if susceptible individuals take extra care. In fact, 80% of the people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances like molds – molds that are also found in dried fruit like dates (1).
4. Can Cause Weight Gain
Though dates are high in fiber, they also are relatively high in calories and energy density – and can contribute to unprecedented weight gain. Dates contain 2.8 calories per gram – which simply means they are medium energy density foods and can lead to weight gain.
5. Can Lead To Hyperkalemia
Hyperkalemia is the condition wherelevels of potassium become excessively high in the blood. Dates are a rich source of potassium, and consuming too many of them can lead to this condition. So, if your potassium levels are high, avoid dates. And avoid taking too many of them.
The ideal blood potassium levels are anywhere between 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter. A blood potassium level higher than 7 millimoles per liter can get dangerous and requires immediate medical intervention (2).
6. The Wax Coating Can Have Harmful Effects
Like other fruits (such as apples), even dates often come coated with wax. Fruits are often coated with wax just to enhance their appearance and give them a shiny appeal –so they remain and look fresh for longer periods of time. The shine of dates usually comes from petroleum wax or chemical spray, both of which can lead to severe digestive issues in the long run.
7. Can Be Unhealthy For Babies
Dates are too thick for babies. They find them hard to be chewed, and since their intestines are developing, dates may not get easily digested. This can lead to complications. In fact, dates can also block an infant’s windpipe and choke them – so please exercise caution.
Keep dates away from infants at least till they grow older.
8. Can Lead To Fructose Intolerance
The natural sweetness of dates comes with the fructose they contain (at least a part of it). Certain individuals experience difficulty digesting fructose, which leads to a condition called fructose intolerance. The sugar is not properly absorbed, which makes it pass through your digestive system as a whole (as your body is not able to break it down). This can also ultimately lead to gas and abdominal pain, as the sugar starts to react with natural bacteria in your intestines.
That’s with the side effects. However, there are a couple of areas where we need some clarity.
Effects Of Dates On Blood Sugar Levels And Dental Health
First, blood sugar levels.
Dates, as they taste sweet, are thought to affect blood sugar levels. However, there is no solid research to support this. Certain studies state that dates can instead lower blood sugar levels and even aid in diabetes treatment (3). This is possibly because though dates contain natural sugars, they have a low glycemic index, and hence may not pose a threat.
There also is no substantial research stating the ill effects of dates on dental health.
However, do consult your doctor in these cases.
And talking about pregnancy and breastfeeding, dates are a healthy option. One study suggests that taking dates during the last 4 weeks before labor produced a more favorable delivery outcome (4). But then, ensure you don’t take dates higher than the recommended amounts – as we don’t know what might happen in that case (5).
This doesn’t mean you start shunning dates now. The side effects occur when you are so in love with them that you start taking them in excess (more than 10 dates a day). So, keep in under control. Give other fruits a chance too.
And tell us how you liked this post. Give your feedback in the comment box below.
- “Asthma causes and triggers”. WebMD.
- “High potassium: hylerkalemia”. Mayoclinic.
- “Therapeutic effects of dates…”.Qassim University, Saudi Arabia.
- “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit…”. Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan, Israel.
- “Date Palm”. WedMD.
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