Can diabetics eat Dates and Figs?

“I am sure that in the story of Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit was a fig and not an apple, pear or anything else. “

Yotam Ottolenghi

Dates and figs are considered to be one of the quick munching food items, especially when you are a busy employee and have least time to take care of your appetite and body health. However, being a diabetic, you can’t excuse your food and body health. Let’s see, how much of dates and figs can a diabetic have…

Dates (including deglet noor and medjool)

Table showing nutritional value of 100g of dates
Calories 280  
GI 42  
Sat. fat 0g  
Cholesterol 0mg  
Carbs 75g 25% of daily value


Glycemic load = 42*75/100 = 31.5 BAD

Let’s reduce the glycemic load by adjusting the serving size.

The serving size of => 32g equivalent to 4 dates will give glycemic load of 10.

Thus the quantity of dates should be limited to less than 4 at a time and should not be clubbed with other high glycemic load fruits.

Dried Figs

At 100g of dried figs:

Table showing nutritional facts of 100g of dried figs
Calories 249  
GI 61  
Sat. fat 0.1g  
Cholesterol 0  
Carbs 63.9g 9% of daily value


Glycemic load = 64 * 61 / 100 = 39 VERY BAD

Since the dried figs are not used as a part of meal, let’s try to reduce the glycemic load by reducing the serving size.

So the ideal serving size should be => 25.6g which is equivalent to 3 figs (glycemic load at this size is 10).

But since you already consume carbohydrates in all the three meals, it is better to restrict to one fig during whole day or during the episodes of hypoglycaemia.

Fresh Figs (including dried figs stewed)

At 100g of fresh figs:

Table showing nutritional value of 100g of fresh figs
Calories 107  
GI Low (let’s say 54)  
Saturated Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 0mg  
Carb 28g  9% of daily value


Since the GI of fresh figs is considered as Low GI and we don’t have the exact value, let’s consider it around 54 (GI < 55 is considerd low GI).

Therefore, Glycemic load of 100g of fresh figs will be = 15 NOT BAD

However, the desirable GL value for diabetics is 10 or below.

So, the ideal serving size would be => 66g equivalent to 1/4th cup of fresh figs (glycemic load at this size is 10).

To conclude:

  • Don’t have high glycemic load foods such as dates and figs more than once a day or even once daily (at the ideal serving size mentioned above).
  • Never club two or more high glycemic load foods (in this case dates and figs).
  • It is very important to correlate the time of consumption of dates/figs with the time of administration of diabetic medications (oral antidiabetic drugs or insulin). For this purpose, take the advice of your physician or diabetologist.

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  • Every individual, diabetic or non-diabetic, has its own bodily mechanism and metabolism. It is always cautioned that food recommendations should be correlated with personal health history and the advice of the doctor.
  • These calculations are based on the daily calorie intake of 2000. Therefore, if your calorie intake exceeds 2000 a day, you can increase the ideal serving size and vice versa. However, the recommended blood glucose level still remains the same.

It is a good practice to have a rough calculation of the nutritional facts of the food items before eating them for the people belonging to all the spectra of health and fitness and not just diabetics.

Do you want me to analyse any other food item? Comment your request below.


Hey there, I'm a final year undergrad medical student at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC), Mauritius.

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