Medjool dates have been cultivated for thousands of years and are known as a high-quality date. Dates originated in the Middle East, and Middle Eastern cuisine reflects this history, as dates feature prominently in many dishes. More cuisines are incorporating dates, which have a luxuriously sweet taste. Dates are also used to make date sugar, an ingredient that you can find in some natural foods.
Medjool dates are a fairly dense source of calories, as one 24 g date -- a little less than 1 oz. -- contains 66 calories. When dates are stuffed with high-fat ingredients such as cream cheese, the calorie count goes up. When eating dates as appetizers, many people eat more than one. Nibbling on four dates will cost you 264 calories -- more than many candy bars.
If you are watching your fat intake, you don't have to worry that Medjool dates will add to it, as Medjools are fat-free, and they do not contain cholesterol. Although Medjool dates do not contain fat, you'll need to keep in mind that they contain enough calories to derail most any diet.
Dates are rich in carbohydrates, and Medjools are no exception. One date contains 18 g of carbohydrate. Most of the carbohydrate is in the form of sugars. Medjool dates contain 8 g of glucose, 7.7 g of fructose and a negligible amount of sucrose. Not surprisingly, dates are frequently consumed as dessert. If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, you will want to consume Medjool dates judiciously.
Fiber and Protein
Medjool dates each have approximately 1.6 g of fiber. A serving of two or more dates is considered to be a good source of fiber by government food labeling standards. Dates contain 0.4 g of protein, an insignificant amount for your diet.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dates have small amounts of several vitamins and minerals. A serving of four dates will provide 60 mg of calcium, 88 mg of iron, 668 mg of potassium and 53 mg of magnesium, among other minerals. The same serving size contains 144 IU of vitamin A, 84 mcg of beta-carotene and 1.5 mg of niacin. Keep in mind that four dates will also provide a whopping 64 g of sugars, so the nutritional trade-off may not be worth it.
Try chopping up dates and sprinkling them on hot breakfast cereal in lieu of refined sweeteners. You can also place whole almonds in the cavity where the seed has been removed and serve as an appetizer. If you are not watching calories or fat, you can wrap the date in bacon and place it under a broiler for 10 minutes. Wrap it in prosciutto for a similar flavor with less fat. Spreads, cookies, puddings and chutneys are just a few more dishes to which you can add dates for a bit of sweetness.