Objective: Dates are consumed worldwide and are a dietary staple for many Arabic people. The prevalence of type-2 diabetes mellitus is high in many developing communities, including many Arabic communities. The consumption of low glycemic index diets has been shown to have benefits for glycemic and lipid control. The purpose of this study was to determine and compare the glycemic indexes of 3 varieties of commercially available dates.
Methods: The available carbohydrate content of the dates was determined by standard laboratory methods. Normal volunteer subjects were fed the commercially processed khalas, barhi, and bo ma'an dates. Glycemic indexes were calculated by standard methods. Results were calculated using means and standard deviations. Glycemic responses were compared by using paired t-tests. The study was performed at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, between March 2000 and August 2001.
Results: The mean glycemic indexes of the dates were 35.5 for khalas, 49.7 for barhi and 30.5 for bo ma'an. There was a significant difference between the results for bo ma'an and for the other 2 varieties.
Conclusion: Dates can be classified as low glycemic index food items. There appears to be significant and unexplained differences in glycemic index between some date varieties. Nonetheless, the consumption of the 3 varieties of dates tested in this study may be of benefit in glycemic and lipid control of diabetic patients.