leigh

How are dates different?

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Hello whole 30ers!

 

So I'm on day 4 of my 4th whole 30 (spread out over a few years) and i have a question that has been plaguing me a bit. I totally get how refined sugars are unhealthy and that we have way too much sugar in our diets. Plus hugely addictive.  Ok so we cut sugars. Luckily I'm not a sugar craver- I'm more of a eat-a-whole-bag-of-chips-in-one-sitting type of girl. Anyhow.  I see that we can use dates and fruit juices in cooking sparingly and judiciously.  Ok cool. Now as many of you have seen , a tonne of Paleo recipes call for honey or maple syrup which are whole 30 no nos.  But (as long as it's not some paleofied dessert or baked good) I could used dates here instead (ie in pasta sauces or Chillis or whatever). My question is why.  How is my body processing the natural date sugar differently than it would maple syrup or honey? Or is it actually the same thing but people have a harder time regulating honey and maple syrup use? Just looking for the thinking behind this so I can explain to my hubby. ;)

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It's not a no-sugar program.  It's a no-added-sugars (or artificial sweeteners) program.  I'm not a bio-chemist, but the date isn't just plain sugar, it's wrapped up in a whole package with some fiber and, say, phytonutrients as well, which added sugar would have none of, so they're not really comparable as far as products in your body and how they're getting digested.  It's also totally optional, I've never used a date in any of my recipes in my life.

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Also note, @leigh - that you could not use "Date sugar" which is the sugar that is processed from dates. You may have just been referring to using dates and the naturally occurring sugars, but I wanted to clarify. Although "date sugar" may be made from just dates, it would not be permitted.

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Hello! I am on Day 2 of my first Whole 30 (weirdly excited about this entire process!) and can't quite grasp this concept with dates.

For example... I went to Whole Foods today to pick up some Rx Bars and Epic Bars as emergency foods (I have some travel coming up), and I also picked up some Whole 30 approved sauces to try. Tessamae's BBQ sauce is approved and contains date puree (I'm assuming to give it that sweet BBQ taste). Their Honey Mustard sounded delicious but is not approved (compliant except for the honey). I don't understand the difference. Rx Bars all have dates, but I stayed away from the maple flavor even though that sounded tasty because I didn't think it was compliant. 

I am going to stick to the program and stay away from maple syrup and honey for 30 days, but I still don't understand the concept that dates are OK as sweeteners but these items are not. I would never eat a date because I want to eat a date, however, I do genuinely enjoy the taste of honey and maple. Maybe that's the point?

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Dates are a fruit, and as @slc_melissa said, come packaged with fibre and whatnot like other fruits do. So, think of them like you would an apple, a fruit that is sweet, rather than as a pure sweetener like honey or maple syrup. Can your body tell the difference? I don't think so, but you're less likely to use dates to prop up old habits than you are honey, which is much more convenient (but again, that's why date syrup and date sugar are out, even though they're made from dates, and why date and nut bars are highly discouraged).

I personally love fresh dates and would choose them over maple syrup every time! Ramadan is the best when dates are so cheap! 

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I totally agree with @GoJo09. Having to actually process the dates yourself makes it less convenient to make certain dressings, which I think would inherently limit your consumption of them. Personally I find it difficult to get pureed dates to a good consistency when I do it myself so I don't bother. And for processed foods, even if the sugar content is similar, the selection of foods using compliant date puree is much more limited than the foods that use honey, which also sort of limits the intake of those foods which could otherwise be an overconsumption issue. And even dates can become an issue. Hence why larabars and the like have a "proceed with caution" warning in the program. I think it's also a good exercise in realizing how much stuff has added sugar, even if it's "healthy" honey or something. 

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