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Sweetening with Date Syrup: One of Secontaste Granolas’ Secret Weapons

Dates are not only delicious dried but also pureed and used as syrup, making them a great alternative to refined sugars. Their advantage lies in their ability to raise blood sugar levels less drastically, although unlimited consumption is still not advisable. Their versatility makes them a perfect addition to Brewer's Granola. Let's take a closer look!


date palm, or in other name plum palm

Quick Facts About Dates

Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, also known as the Egyptian plum or plum palm 😊 They are mainly found in dried or dehydrated form in Hungary: available as whole dates, bulk, pressed, strung on sticks, or even left on their stems. These little brown gems are incredibly versatile nutrient powerhouses. But why?


Through dehydration, dates have a higher energy content than fresh fruit, which is also where most of their benefits come from. Most of the energy content of both dried and fresh dates comes from carbohydrates. The rest comes from a small amount of protein, although obviously, this is not the main reason we consume them. The significant amount of fiber found in dates should also be highlighted, as well as the vitamins (B3, B5, B6) and minerals (such as potassium, copper, magnesium, and manganese).


lots of dried dates

It's worth highlighting the fiber in dates because it can play a useful role in regulating blood sugar levels after consuming the fruit and boosting digestion. One well-known advantage of dietary fiber is that it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, helping to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too suddenly and too high after eating. This is why dates have a low glycemic index (GI), ranging from 31-62 depending on the variety, according to other data 44-53. The glycemic load (GL) value is 14-22, which is at the medium to high end. We've already discussed the glycemic index in one of our previous articles.


Among the various types, Medjool (king date) and Deglet Noor dates are better known. Their size also varies, with the former averaging 24g without the pit, while the latter is about 7.1g. That's a significant difference. The main nutrient content of these and table dates and date syrup is shown in the table below (don't worry, you don't need to memorize it):

 

date, Medjool

date, Deglet noor

dried date

datesyrup in Secontaste Brewer's Granolas

Energy

277 kcal / 100 g

282 kcal / 100 g

308 kcal / 100 g

269 kcal / 100 g

Carbs

75 g / 100 g

75 g / 100 g

72,5 g / 100 g

65 g / 100 g

Sugar

66,5 g / 100 g

63,4 g / 100 g

68 g / 100 g

58 g / 100 g

Protein

1,81 g / 100 g

2,45 g / 100 g

1,9 g / 100 g

1,5 g / 100 g

Fat

0,15 g / 100 g

0,39 g / 100 g

0,5 g / 100 g

<0,1 g / 100 g

Fiber

6,7 g / 100 g

8 g / 100 g

9,2 g / 100 g

6,1 g / 100 g

Source:

Product Specification


Dates also contain fructose among other simple carbohydrates, which is a natural sugar found in fruits, hence the name fruit sugar. Where might this name be familiar from? For example, you may have seen it on soft drinks or processed food products labels, as fructose is used as a sweetener in these products. Natural, unprocessed fructose, consumed with the fruit's fiber, does not cause the unexpected health effects associated with high-fructose corn syrup, which is extracted from cornstarch (known as high-fructose corn syrup). We can't eat enough dates or table dates at once and for an extended period that would be directly liver-damaging.


What Are Dates Good For?

Besides many other benefits, dates have become increasingly popular because they can effectively substitute refined sugar in various dishes, whether fresh, dried, or pureed. They pair well with both sweet and savory dishes, meats, side dishes, and salads if not offered with almonds or other flavorings.

Date paste or cream is easily made at home: fresh or soaked dried dates need to be mixed in a blender with water. This pulp, puree can replace granulated or powdered sugar or even honey in many sweets and desserts. If you heat and strain this, you'll get to date syrup. Of course, a few more steps are required for this, but this is the essence of making date syrup.


❗❗❗Important - For helathy, but especially for people with diabetes❗❗❗

Naturally, although dates contain a lot of fiber and other beneficial nutrients mentioned above, and even antioxidants, we can't ignore their significant energy and carbohydrate content, along with the points raised earlier. It cannot be eaten from this without consequences. This is why it should be consumed in moderation - just like other dried fruits (raisins, figs, plums, apricots...). Because it sweetens intensively, less may be enough to achieve the same taste experience, which somewhat restricts its overuse.


Is Date Syrup Better Than Sugar?

Date syrup has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, which means it causes less sudden and significant increases in blood sugar and insulin levels. This can be useful for diabetics and those looking to stabilize their blood sugar levels. Essentially, this applies to everyone.

Date syrup, like dates in other forms, can be used in many foods and drinks, such as pastries, granolas, mueslis, smoothies, and sauces. And here comes a little repetition: although the glycemic index and glycemic load of date syrup are more favorable compared to sugar, it is still not a negligible source of energy and carbohydrates, and like any other natural sweetener, syrup, should be consumed in moderation.


date syrup dripping from a spoon to a slice of toasted bread in the background dates

What Makes Brewer's Granola Sweet?

After all this, it's not hard to figure out that In the upcycled Brewer's Granola, made from spent grains, date syrup serves as the sweetener instead of sugar. The fiber content of the spent grains further slows down the blood sugar-raising effect of the granola, making it safer to consume than a muesli blend sweetened with sugar or glucose-fructose syrup. This effect is also aided by the olive oil that ensures the crispiness of the granola, as well as the addition of oily seeds (such as almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds) depending on the flavor. Because oil is fat, which reduces the glycemic index. But you already know this because you've read the previous parts of the blog series. If you haven't yet, it's time to catch up 😉


Keep following the Secontaste blog as we move on to another nutrient and explore what you need to know about proteins!

 

Judit Schmidt dietitian, health educator, workplace well-being program manager. Engaged in prevention, education, and background work related to health, well-being, and nutrition. Provides assistance in conveying knowledge on nutrition, health, and well-being through article writing, blogging, editing, proofreading, and creating professional texts on these topics. Also conducts informative presentations for companies and schools. Her main focus is on disease prevention and creating a balanced and sustainable diet. Her motto: the sunny side of food. Dietitian Judit Schmidt presents her profession and works in a personal, occasionally humorous style on various social media platforms under the name Youteefool.

 

You can find Judit on her website:

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And on Instagram: Youteefool

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