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Date Syrup: Nutrition Facts & Calories

Date Syrup

Date syrup, also known as date palm syrup, date honey and silan, has been gaining popularity as an alternative sweetener that can be used much in the same way as maple syrup or honey, that is, in desserts, baking and drizzled on pancakes. In this article, we analyze the nutritional value of date syrup in order to better evaluate whether date syrup is a healthy sugar substitute or just another sugar bomb full of empty calories.

Nutrition Facts for Date Syrup (aka Date Honey or Silan)

Whole dates are a good source of fiber and minerals like potassium, magnesium, selenium and copper, and they contain some B vitamins, too [1, 2]. Commercially-produced date syrup is typically made by extracting the thick, sticky juice from cooked dates, which means the health-promoting fiber is left behind. Also some of the other nutrients that are abundant in whole dates are lost when the dates are cooked and the syrup is extracted.

The good news is that commercially produced date syrup still contains more minerals, particularly potassium and calcium, than many other sweeteners. A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that the tested date syrup contained 217 milligrams of potassium and 38 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams [3], and Date Lady, a US-based company that sells its date syrup on Amazon here, has reported even higher values. To put these numbers into perspective, 217 milligrams corresponds to 6 percent of the daily value (DV) for potassium, and 38 milligrams is equal to 4 percent of the DV for calcium.

Calories in Date Syrup

The amount of calories in date syrup has been reported to range from around 250 calories to 320 calories, depending on brand [4]. That means date syrup is a high-calorie sweetener, so you should use it sparingly. The downside is that when you use date syrup only in small amounts, your intake of nutrients like potassium, iron and calcium from date syrup will be very low.

So, what's the solution? If you like the idea of using the natural sugars found in dates to sweeten baked goods and smoothies, why not use whole Medjool dates, which are one of the sweetest date varieties? You can turn soaked pitted Medjools into date paste by processing them in a food processor, adding the soaking water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dates turn into a smooth, thick paste. If you want a sweetener with a more syrup-like consistency, simply add more water.

Another nutritious alternative to date syrup you might want to consider is date sugar. If you decide to buy date sugar instead of making it yourself, carefully study the Nutrition Facts label on the package so you know you are getting—some commercially produced date sugars contain fillers such as oat flour.

1. J. Vinson et al. (2005). Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(1):44-50. PubMed
2. M. Al-Farsi and C. Lee (2008). Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48(10):877-87. PubMed
3. M. Mohamed and A. Ahmed (1981). Libyan Date Syrup (Rub Al-Tamr). Journal of Food Science, July 1981.
4. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28, released September 2015, slightly revised May 2016). USDA Database

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