Serious Side Effects Of Dates You Should Know About

Uncover the hidden, sinister side of these sweet treats when consumed in excess.

Medically reviewed by Sarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS Sarah Spann Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition Aparna Mallampalli BEd, MSc (Microbiology), Diploma In Nutrition linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
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People are not much aware of the potentially harmful side effects of dates. This tropical treat is a popular snack. However, excess consumption of dates can pose a serious health problem. Limiting your intake will keep you safe. This article examines the side effects of dates and their scientific basis.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Dates

Short-Term Effects
Skin rashes, watery eyes, red eyes, runny nose, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Long-Term Effects
Asthma, obesity, and digestive issues. Its high potassium content can lead to weakness and paralysis over time.

Drug Interactions
There are no known drug reactions. Best to avoid if also using diabetes medication.

When To See A Doctor
If the short-term symptoms such as watery eyes, vomiting, skin rash, or difficulty in breathing become severe, or last longer than 24 hours.

Scroll down.

protip_icon Fun Fact
Ayurveda suggests soaking dates before consuming. Soaking removes tanninsi  A group of chemical substances found in many plant foods that may interfere with normal digestion and abdominal pain. and makes the dates “laghu,” meaning easy to digest.

Side Effects Of Dates

  1. Might Cause Abdominal Issues
  2. Can Cause Skin Rashes
  3. Can Cause Asthma Attacks
  4. Can Cause Weight Gain
  5. Can Lead To Hyperkalemia
  6. The Wax Coating Can Have Harmful Effects
  7. Can Be Unhealthy For Babies
  8. Can Lead To Fructose Intolerance

1. Might Cause Abdominal Issues

A woman experiencing stomach ache due to consuming excessive dates
Image: Shutterstock

Dates by themselves may not cause abdominal problems – unless 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 abdominal 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 taking enough fiber, consuming too many dates simply means the 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

Dates may cause skin rashes
Image: Shutterstock

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

Dates may cause an asthma attack
Image: Shutterstock

There is not enough research on dates causing respiratory problems like 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

Dates may lead to hyperkalemia
Image: Shutterstock

Hyperkalemia is the condition where levels 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 like stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea in the long run.

7. Can Be Unhealthy For Babies

Dates are too thick for babies. They find them hard to chew, 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 until 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). Shena Jaramillo, Registered Dietitian, says, “One date can have almost as much as 1 tsp sugar.” 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.

Side Effects Of Dates On Blood Sugar Levels And Dental Health

Woman checking blood sugar levels as dates may affect them
Image: Shutterstock

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 help in lowering high blood sugar levels and even aid in diabetes treatment (3). This is possibly because though dates contain natural sugars, they have a low glycemic indexi  A rating system that assigns a number to specific foods and measures how quickly they increase blood sugar levels in a person. , and hence may not pose a threat.

There also is no substantial research stating the ill effects of dates on dental health. Shena Jaramillo says, “For someone with good dental hygiene, dates likely won’t lead to tooth decay. However, brushing after eating dates is important as they can stick in teeth and gums and have a high sugar content.”

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. Sometimes, dates may also lead to hypoglycemia in case of a rare condition, hereditary fructose intolerance. (5).

protip_icon Quick Tip
You may consume 5-6 dates every day. Since it contains sugar, exceeding that limit may affect blood sugar levels.

Infographic: Most Common Side Effects Of Dates

A date is a common tropical fruit to snack on due to its many health benefits. However, overconsumption of dates can cause some serious side effects. Check out the most common ones in the infographic given below.

most common side effects of dates (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Dates are sweet tropical fruit to snack on. However, overindulgence may lead to a few health problems. The side effects of dates range from causing abdominal disorders to unwanted weight gain. The waxy coating of dates may lead to gastrointestinal issues. It may also raise your potassium levels which may lead to a few health complications. Overeating dates may lead to skin irritation, rashes, and fructose intolerance. In some cases, it may trigger allergic reactions. If possible, try to limit your intake or stay away from it entirely to avoid such complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dates make you poop?

Dates have a lot of fiber that may help relieve constipation and encourage bowel regularity (6). So, eating dates can potentially help you poop.

Who should not eat dates?

According to Shena Jaramillo, “Dates are high in potassium, so those with kidney disease may need to monitor how much they have. They are also high in sugar, so someone with diabetes will need to be mindful of how many dates they have at once.”

What happens if we eat dates daily?

“Dates can be eaten daily by most people. They are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They will aid digestion and help you feel full throughout the day. However, too many dates may cause diarrhea from the high sugar and fiber content. They also might cause bloating and cramping if consumed in excess,” says Shena.

Are dates good for sperm count?

Yes, dates contain flavonoidsi  A group of naturally occurring substances that protects against oxidative damage and increases sperm count. and estradioli  An estrogen steroid hormone used to help regulate the menstrual cycle in women and reduce the symptoms of menopause. , which may help increase the sperm quality and the count.

Can dates make you sleepy?

Yes, dates can make you feel sleepy. They help the body to produce melatonini  A hormone made naturally in the body that helps treat sleep disorders and regulate the sleep cycle. , which promotes sleep quality.

Key Takeaways

  • Dates have a high sugar content and may cause an instant spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Excess consumption may cause weight gain, and fructose intolerance and might not be safe for babies.
  • It may increase potassium levels leading to hyperkalemia.
  • Dates may also cause allergic reactions like skin rashes and worsen asthmatic problems.

Want to gain knowledge about the possible adverse effects of consuming dates? Check out the video below to expand your understanding of its potential side effects!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. “Impact of air pollution…“. US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Hyperkalemia”. StatPearls
  3. “Therapeutic effects of dates…”.Qassim University, Saudi Arabia.
  4. The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit…”. Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan, Israel.
  5. “The unexpected truth about dates…“. US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Nutritional and Medicinal Value of Date Fruit”, Researchgate.
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Sarah Spann
Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS
Sarah Spann has 4 years of experience as a clinical nutritionist. She specializes in gut health and is based in Brisbane, Australia. She is dedicated to changing the paradigm of gut health and works with clients all over the world to help them get back the freedom, energy and confidence that their gut issues have taken away.

Read full bio of Sarah Spann
  • Shena JaramilloMS, RD Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD, has 8 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. She specializes in eating disorders/disordered eating. She earned her master's degree in nutrition from Logan University and helps other dietitians navigate through the nuances of private practice and insurance and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
    Shena Jaramillo, MS, RD, has 8 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. She specializes in eating disorders/disordered eating. She earned her master's degree in nutrition from Logan University and helps other dietitians navigate through the nuances of private practice and insurance and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Ravi Teja TadimallaSenior Editor
Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a senior editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over eight years. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University.

Read full bio of Ravi Teja Tadimalla
Arshiya Syeda
Arshiya SyedaSenior Editor
Arshiya Syeda is a senior editor at StyleCraze with 7 years of experience. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and research skills to write over 200 high-performing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and skin care.

Read full bio of Arshiya Syeda
Aparna Mallampalli
Aparna MallampalliHealth & Wellness Writer
Aparna is a professor-turned-content writer with over 5 years of experience in life sciences. Her passion for writing and interest in the healthcare and wellness industry pushed her toward a career in content writing. She has a master’s degree in microbiology from Osmania University, Hyderabad, and a diploma in nutrition from Fab Academy.

Read full bio of Aparna Mallampalli