The glycaemic index of dates and date/yoghurt mixed meals. Are dates 'the candy that grows on trees'?

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;57(3):427-30. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601565.


Objective: To determine the glycaemic index of one variety of date, alone and in mixed meals with plain full-milk yoghurt.

Design: An experimental study involving the measurement of the glycaemic responses of participants to the ingestion of dates, alone and with yoghurt.

Setting: Within the Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University.

Subjects: Healthy male and female volunteers aged 32-67 y.

Intervention: Glycaemic responses to date and date/yoghurt meal ingestion were plotted for each subject. Glycaemic indexes were calculated as the ratios of the incremental areas under these response curves to those for glucose ingestion. Results are presented using means and standard deviations. Glycaemic indexes were compared using paired t-tests.

Results: Mean glycaemic indexes of the dates were 47.2, 45.3, 35.5, 37.3, 28.9 for rutab, traditionally stored, commercial, rutab/yoghurt and commercial tamer/yoghurt preparations, respectively. There was a significant difference between the results for rutab vs commercial tamer dates (P<0.05), but other comparisons failed to reach statistical significance.

Conclusions: Khalas dates, when eaten alone or in mixed meals with plain yoghurt have low glycaemic indexes. The consumption of dates may be of benefit in glycaemic and lipid control of diabetic patients. The consumption of dates in mixed meals with yoghurt appears to have, at most, a minimal effect on the glycaemic index.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Area Under Curve
  • Arecaceae*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Female
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Fruit*
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period
  • Yogurt*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin