How Many Dates to Eat Per Day for Weight Loss (and 10 Other Reasons)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 23 November 2022

A young man is wearing a shemagh like drape over his shoulder and it's black and white in color as he holds a jar of dates in his right hand, and puts a piece of dates near his mouth with his left hand while wondering how many dates to eat per day for weight loss, and other reasons such as constipation, hair growth and overall health.

Asking how many dates to eat per day for weight loss gets tricky when considering fruits like dates pack plenty of phytonutrients and fiber, but they’re are also full of natural sugar.  

By looking at calories and sugar content we can figure out how many dates to eat per day in order to lose weight, but there’s plenty of other health benefits of dates and this leads many questioning how many dates to eat per day for 10 other reasons such as constipation, diabetes, hair growth, pregnancy, to induce labor, for anemia, to not exceed the daily recommended amount of sugar, and overall health too.

No matter the reason, we’ll explain how many dates to eat per day based on proven benefits and research so you can feel confident when deciding how many dates to eat each day for weight loss, and more.  

How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Weight Loss? How Many Dates to Eat per Day to Lose Weight?

It is possible to eat a number of dates when on a weight loss program or diet as long as it is done within reason and moderation. But how many dates to eat per day for weight loss? Research suggests that eating 3 dates a day does not lead to any weight gain in the subjects that consumed them.1 For those individuals looking to dates to lose weight, a consumption of between 4-5 dates is recommended

Dates can potentially increase weight and one pitted date typically has 66.5 kcal of calories and by eating say 7 dates, the calories quickly add up to 465 kcal. Exceeding the recommended amount will typically result in a weight gain due to a surplus of calories and therefore not ideal for someone one in search of a 1000 calorie deficit.

Are Dates Good for Weight Loss? Why or Why Not? 

When dates are consumed in the right amount, they do end up benefiting those looking to lose weight or on diet plans due to the characteristics of the fruit such as containing a substantial amount of fiber, protein and the amount of fatty acids packed in these nutritious gems. 

A small bowl of dried dates sits on the table, along with three of them.

However, the sugar contents should be carefully considered and are discussed in depth below.

Fiber

The fiber that is contained in dates as well as the protein amount will give the body an impression that it is full since the fiber will prevent feelings of hunger. Protein contained in the dates can also be a source of fullness—this quality will urge someone to eat less which will lead to a calorie deficit translating to weight loss.

Unsaturated Fats and Antioxidants

Dates have high levels of unsaturated fat (these are beneficial fats liquid at room temperature) and antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a condition that often causes obesity (being overweight). Inflammation is the body’s defensive mechanism to a foreign stimuli such as bacteria.2

When the body has increased inflammation, there is usually an elevated chance that there will be increased obesity due to a link between obesity and inflammation.3 Eating foods such as dates to diminish inflammation will eliminate the diseases that come along with it like obesity, diabetes, cancer etc.4

Natural Sugars

Dates are full of natural sweetness which can satisfy those sweet cravings while at the same time help check those hunger pangs. It is possible to create a homemade date syrup that can substitute sugar which is a culprit cause of weight loss.

Are Dates Bad for Weight Loss? Why or Why Not? 

Dates can be bad for weight loss in certain situations mainly when they are consumed in larger quantities than they should. As stated before, to lose weight, a minimum of 3-5 should be consumed on a daily basis—with the minimum recommended the most ideal for this goal, anything more than this, and they become bad for weight loss.

Big Dates trees with bunches of dates fruits and a blue sky and leaves as a background

To put this into perspective, the nutritional information found in one pitted date (24 grams) denotes 18 grams of carbs and 66.5 kcal of calories.5 The sheer amount of carbs and calories contained can easily cause weight gain when consumed excessively and it would be prudent to pay attention to these calories as one of the 3 steps to lose weight.

What Time of Day Should I Eat Dates for Weight Loss?

Regarding food type, the best time to eat food is when the body requires it, that is when hungry— however there are certain times that eating dates can be beneficial such as when needing to boost energy levels. Below is a list of the best times to eat dates for weight loss.

  • Early morning and/or breakfast—either alone or with a cup of black coffee to boost energy and retain a feeling of fullness through the morning.
  • Before a workout—for energy before a workout without spiking blood sugar levels by providing an excellent foundation for getting stronger at workouts.
  • At night as a snack—before sleeping since the fiber takes long to digest and keeps hunger at bay.
  • Afternoon snack—they can be had in the afternoon to give a boost of energy without spiking sugar levels.
  • When hungry—dates can simply be eaten when hungry as they are filling.

Date Snack Recipes & Ideas for Weight Loss

This date fruit is a versatile treat that can be a combo with several ingredients to provide delicious snacks for a weight loss diet while still providing beneficial nutrition. Here are some tasty recipe ideas that include dates and can be among the solutions on how to stop eating junk food and sugar.

  • Raw-nola—this snack combines dates, walnuts, coconut, hemp seeds, and gluten free rolled oats which is a cleaner and healthier version of granola. It can be enjoyed with yogurt or milk for a convenient snack full of wholesome nutrition. A serving contains 5 grams of sugar and 139 kcal.
  • Date and pistachio bites—dates and raisins provide the sweetness while the pistachios provide crunchiness and a nutty flavor. The ingredients which also include fennel and pepper are blended until finely chopped and formed into balls. Each serving contains 10.7 grams of sugar and 68 kcal.
  • Oat and dates balls—these balls are healthy and great for weight loss and are made from dates, gluten free rolled oats, cacao powder and natural peanut butter. Dates are placed into boiling water and drained afterwards. Drained dates and the rest of the ingredients are blended in a food processor using liquid from the boiled mixture. The mixture is rolled into balls and frozen. Each serving contains 15 grams of sugar and 179 kcal.

How many dates to eat per day? This depends on the reason someone has for eating dates since they can be good for weight loss; but there are 10 other reasons they can be added for anyone looking to take advantage of other benefits that they confer— including alleviating constipation, improving hair health and for pregnancy

How Many Dates to Eat Each Day for 10 Different Reasons

The amount of dates you should eat each day depends on your overall objective and goals. Therefore, each one of the ten reasons is discussed separately. 

1. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Constipation? 

Dates contain a high amount of fiber which makes them ideal for individuals who are suffering from constipation and eating several of them daily will help alleviate this—how many dates to eat per day for constipation? Eating 7 dates will vastly improve the frequency of bowel movements and increase occurrences of passing stool thus preventing constipation.6

Eating this high number of dates will not be ideal for those searching on how to lose inches off waist overnight as excluding fiber for a few days from the diet will alleviate bloating—but this should only serve as a temporary measure since fiber is critical to healthy diet. 

2. How Many Dates Should I Eat per Day for Fiber? 

Consuming 4 dates daily contributes just over 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake yielding approximately 6.5 grams of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient for the healthy function of the digestive system and the recommendation is to consume 14 grams of fiber based on a 1000 kcal (up to 28 grams for a 2000 kcal) diet.7 Fiber has added benefits to the body such as helping manage weight and also helps control blood sugar levels.

3. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Diabetics? 

For diabetics, 2-3 servings of dates is recommended to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.8 Diabetics would be pleased to know that dates have a low glycemic index which means eating them does not cause a sugar spike making them ideal.

The fiber, natural sugar and antioxidants in dates all contribute to maintaining sugar levels in the blood providing overall benefits for those living with this depilating disease.

Are Dates Keto-Friendly? 

Dates can be keto friendly, although they may not be suitable for everybody on a keto diet. Fruits are frowned upon by experts in keto as they may provide high sugar and lack any fat content. Those looking to ensure that carbs stay at an absolute minimum should keep dates at bay. 

A girl with a pink hood and black shirt grabs a dates fruit in a white container.

One date contains about 17 grams of net carbs, therefore eating 1 as the only source of carbs for the day ensures someone can remain in keto. Are dates keto? In essence, dates are no keto because if they are consumed excessively, they vastly increase carb content in the diet. Rather than look to dates as an option for a keto diet, it is a good idea to look into Tropical smoothie keto options to get low carb delicious snacks.

4. Sugar Wise, How Many Dates Per Day Can I Eat?

The glycemic index (GI) of dates from data garnered from research stands at 42 making them a low GI food and they contain an average of 15 grams of sugar—to maintain healthy sugar levels it is ideal to consume 2 dates. How is this number determined? 

Glycemic load (GL) is the measure of a serving of food (portion) in relation to its effects on blood sugar—it is computed by multiplying the GI and the amount of carbohydrates and dividing the result by a 100. Two pitted dates typically contain 36 grams of carbs, therefore the resulting GL would be 15, considered a medium GL load.

5. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Hair Growth?

Dates have a positive impact on hair growth due the presence of vitamin B and iron which prevents hair loss prevalent in society—eating 3 dates daily will have a positive effect on growing hair.  Hair requires nutrients and the increased presence of iron allows the roots of the hair to be nourished and as a result, hair increases in both strength and elasticity. 

6. How Many Dates to Eat per Day During Pregnancy?

Eating dates provides a myriad of benefits for someone in pregnancy during and towards the end of the pregnancy; so how many dates to eat per day during pregnancy? Eating a maximum of 6 dates would provide ideal gains to pregnant women. 

Pregnancy creates the need for energy in women and the high natural sugars (fructose and glucose) contained in dates is a convenient energy source for pregnant women without the negative drawback of raising sugar (glucose) levels. 

They are also nutritious, providing antioxidants, minerals such as potassium, magnesium, vitamins B, C, K, and fiber.9 Fiber ensures that constipation is kept at bay thus minimizing any complications. After birth, babies usually have low levels of vitamin K which help in bone development and blood clotting—eating dates alleviates this.

7. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Labor?

During labor, labor dates can help induce labor and make labor a much easier process for the woman and similarly to the consumption during pregnancy, 6 dates should be eaten daily during the last 4 weeks of labor to reap the benefits of this tasty treat.

Upon the termination of pregnancy, dates may help reduce the time that a woman spends in labor as this fruit helps in the ripening of the cervix and as a result they do not need to ingest oxytocin to speed up labor.10 The high sugars provide abundant energy required for giving birth and will ease the labor and decrease the risk of postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding that can occur after childbirth).11

8. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Anemia?

These delicious fruits as stated earlier are packed with iron and are an abundant source of the metal critical for preventing anemia; how many dates to eat per day for anemia? Eating 5-7 dates daily for 16 weeks will provide a good base to combat this condition.12 Iron is important in the manufacture of red blood cells which carry oxygen and hence eating dates will restore energy levels. Iron is also key in the creation of hormones.

9. How Many Dates to Eat per Day for Weight Gain?

Dates provide a double edged sword for managing weight, not only can they help someone lose weight but they are a great option for those looking to put on weight, eating 5-8 dates daily can set someone on the path to packing on pounds.

As dates contain a significant amount of carbs and calories, eating them in larger numbers than those recommended for weight loss will result in a calorie surplus which results in weight gain. Dates have no cholesterol (high levels of this compound in the bloodstream can increase risk for heart disease), and there is therefore no danger of eating too many that can send cholesterol levels through the roof.

10. How Many Dates Are Healthy to Eat Per Day? 

With all things considered and to help maintain a healthy diet full of nutrition and health benefits, eating 3-6 dates would be an ideal number that will result in maintaining optimal weight without the risk of packing on too many calories. This range would also ensure the sufficient quantities of fiber are being consumed, maintaining healthy hair and ensuring smooth pregnancy and delivery in expecting women. 

When contemplating including this tasty fruit into their diet, someone may wonder how many dates to eat per day to lose weight and 10 other reasons that strengthen the case to add this Middle Eastern snack to their daily meal plan.


References

1Medicine, N. L. (2020, January 15). Effects of Daily Low-Dose Date Consumption on Glycemic Control, Lipid Profile, and Quality of Life in Adults with Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Retrieved 2020, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31952131/>

2Medicine, N. L. (2010, November 23). What is an inflammation? Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/>

3Medicine, N. L. (2016, March 31). Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/>

4Affairs, U. D. (2019, July 25). Eating to Reduce Inflammation. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/veteran-handouts/docs/EatReduceInflam__Final508__07-25-2019.pdf>

5Agriculture, U. D. (2019, April). Dates, medjool. Retrieved 2022, from <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html>

6Medicine, N. L. (2018, November 28). Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315720/>

7Agriculture, U. D. (2019, July 17). How much (dietary) fiber should I eat? Retrieved 2022, from <https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-much-dietary-fiber-should-I-eat>

8Medicine, N. L. (2021, July). Dates fruits effects on blood glucose among patients with diabetes mellitus: A review and meta-analysis. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8281151/>

9Medicine, N. L. (2008, November). Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review. Retrieved 2022, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18949591/>

10Medicine, N. L. (2017, September). Effect of Dates in Late Pregnancy on the Duration of Labor in Nulliparous Women. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637148/>

11Medicine, N. L. (2011). The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery. Retrieved 2022, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21280989/>

12Metwally, P. A. (2020, February 17). Dates a Food Treasure in Alleviating Anemia. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04271865>

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.