In the world of exotic fruits, berries, or dried fruit, few shine the way dates do. The date palm tree which produces dates originated in the Persian Gulf. These trees sprung up everywhere along the Nile and Euphrates and moved to Arabia in 4,000 BC. From there, European traders took them inland into Europe, with Italy and Greece being significant producers. However, it is quite recently that date sugar has started becoming popular. Date sugar, which is made from the date fruit, is a great natural sweetener that is taking the world by storm. So, what date sugar benefits should you know about? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about date sugar benefits, and why you need to try it!
What is Date Sugar?
Date sugar tastes and looks a little like brown sugar. It works when used as a 1:1 substitute for brown sugar while making everything from smoothies to cakes. Date sugar also has an exciting flavor, because it has a hint of butterscotch in it when it comes to taste. However, while it looks and feels similar to brown sugar, the nutritional content that it offers is wildly different. Similarly, it is vastly different from all other sugars which come from crystallized syrups. In essence, date sugar is made from dehydrated, sweet dates that are then ground or powdered to make the sugar.
Date Sugar Nutritional Profile
- Date Sugar contains several minerals, such as Magnesium, copper, and iron. Just 100 grams of dates provides 11% of your Magnesium needs and 10% of copper. It is also rich in calcium.
- Dates also contain a lot of fiber. Date sugar is not crystalline, but slightly powdery because it is high in fiber. 100 grams of date sugar contains up to 8 grams of fiber, which aids in digestion.
- Date sugar is also rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- In the US, it isn’t very easy to find date sugar. Your best chances of finding good brands would be at vitamin and supplement stores, such as The Vitamin Shoppe and Holland & Barrett. If you want to try online, Amazon has a great offer on a 12-ounce bag of organic date sugar called Date Lady.
- The same brand also sells date syrup in 12 oz and 3 lb bottles.
Date Sugar Health Benefits
- It helps prevent constipation, as date sugar is high in fiber, which helps in digestion and waste removal.
- Since date sugar contains useful antioxidants, it is instrumental in preventing cancer, specifically colon cancer.
- Dates have a lower glycemic index than most other types of sugar-laden foods. As a result, they do not spike your blood sugar levels on consumption, the way regular sugar does. While date sugar has a GI ranging between 43 and 55, normal white sugar ranges from 60 to 84.
- One of the best things about Date sugar is that it is a minimally processed sweetener. The only significant process that occurs is drying of the dates, and then grinding them into a fine powder. While the texture might be similar to sugar in some ways, it isn’t crystalline and is lumpier than regular sugar.
- As date sugar comes from a fruit, it contains more fructose, which takes longer to release sugar. Therefore, in small amounts, fructose is healthier than sucrose and glucose, high in sugar and honey. Hence, dates have a lower impact on blood sugar and glucose levels.
- Date sugar is also rich in vitamin B6 and is comparatively low calorie, as a 2 teaspoon serving contains only 20 calories. In comparison, the same portion of white sugar contains 33% more calories at 32 calories.
- As they are rich in iron, they can help prevent anemia when eaten along with other iron-rich products.
How To Use Date Sugar
- Since the average deglet noor, a type of date commonly used, contains up to 5 grams of sugar, date sugar works as a great natural sweetener.
- As date sugar is not crystalline in nature, it does not dissolve the way regular sugar does. Therefore, rather than use it or melt it into drinks, the best way to use date sugar is by adding it to baked goods. Dae sugar is perfect for sweetening baked goods and beverages and can be used in places where complete dissolution is not necessary.
- They are a great natural way to sweeten oatmeal, yogurt, or even muffins. In some instances, you can also use it as a substitute for brown sugar when making dry rubs for meat.
- When compared to accessible white sugars, date sugar has lower sugar content. Therefore, when you are using it for baking, make sure you understand how sweet the final product will become.
- It has a delightful and unique caramel flavor that makes it great for baking, dessert making, and cooking.
- When compared to brown sugar, you can use date sugar as a 1:1 substitute. However, if you are using it in place of regular white sugar, you should use a ratio of 1.33:1, as date sugar is only two-thirds as sweet as regular sugar.
- Also, you will need to be careful while using this to bake white cakes, vanilla cookies, or plain-old sugar cookies. If you want white color and very neutral sweetness, you might not be able to use date sugar. It adds a brown hue, and also a nutty, caramelly flavor to the cookies.
- When using date sugar, you need to be careful while diluting it, as it isn’t moist naturally, and therefore, tends to clump together. However, this makes them perfect for crumbles, rustic cookies, and pies.
- They can also help spice up your breakfast, as they go very well with quinoa, corn flakes, greek yogurt, and oatmeal.
Over the last few years, many health and nutrition experts have been stating that natural sweeteners are the way forward. What started with maple syrup and molasses, later moving on to brown sugar, has now culminated with date and coconut sugar. All these alternatives are better than white sugar in many ways and are perfect for baking due to their unique flavor. Now that you know about all the date sugar benefits make the switch and see how it does wonders for your body and fitness!