Can You Eat Too Many Dates?

Eating a date may seem like nature's candy, as it's a dehydrated fruit packed with immense natural sweetness. While it's a popular dried fruit, there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you find yourself in a snacking frenzy.

According to Eat This, Not That, one serving of dates (4 dates) can help close the nutrient gaps in the daily recommended amount of potassium and fiber. This is important because the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans notes that most Americans under-consume these 2 nutrients, along with vitamin D and calcium (via Eat This, Not That). Besides these nutrients, dates support healthy digestion, enhance heart health, bolster a good gut microbiome, increase energy, and are jam-packed with antioxidants, perĀ MedicineNet. These antioxidants fight free radicals and support your immune system.

Another huge benefit is the potential prevention of cancer, according to Eat This, Not That. In 2014, a study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science that looked at the effects of this palm fruit on gut bacteria. It suggests that anthocyanins, carotenoids, and polyphenols heavily influence the growth of good bacteria in the large intestine. Ultimately, the study indicated that the consumption of dates can promote colonic health and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

The drawbacks of too many eating dates

Although dates have an impressive number of health benefits, there are a couple of downsides to consuming this dehydrated fruit. First off, dates are high in calories, and when consumed in excessive amounts, they can eventually lead to weight gain, perĀ SF Gate. To be exact, consuming 4 dates is around 277 calories, making it easy to overindulge in this naturally sweet and satisfying snack (via Eat This, Not That).

Plus, these sugar babies have a high sugar content, which explains why they pop up in recipes as ideal ingredients for baking or smoothie making. According to SF Gate, the drawback here is that too much sugar can negatively impact blood sugar.

However, in regards to diabetes, the opposite may be true due to the soluble fiber and phytonutrients within dates (per Eat This, Not That). Consuming dates (within reason) may help reduce the risk of diabetes due to the therapeutic effects found in its flavonoids, saponins, and phenols, according to the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. Still, more research is needed to determine exactly how dates play a role in controlling diabetes. As a rule of thumb, dates are great, but having the date munchies can be counterproductive for health goals.