This appears to be the most relevant site to post my question about the sugar content of foods. For the various sugar products that I have come across recently, it appears that typically one teaspoon contains 4 grams of sugar. I use this relationship to gauge how much sugar is added to commercial products.

But I'm also curious about natural products. So for instance I currently have a bag of dates (the only ingredient) and the label says that 5 dates contain 29 grams of sugar, so about 6 grams per date. Using the above relationship, that implies that each date is equivalent to consuming about one and a half teaspoons of sugar. So having a few dates is equivalent to consuming several teaspoons of sugar? Is this a correct way to think about it?

  • There is a lesson here about how you think about food: you can equally say that consuming a few teaspoons of sugar is like eating a few dates. Neither way of thinking is especially helpful. Instead of thinking in terms of 'dates are fruit, fruit is healthy' or 'sugar is unhealthy', you should think about your overall diet and how it meets your needs.
    – dbmag9
    May 9, 2021 at 19:35
  • I am thinking about how much sugar is consumed in my overall diet. I'm just trying to understand if, as far as digestion of sugar is concerned, the body distinguishes between eating 1.5 teaspoons of sugar vs. eating one date. May 9, 2021 at 19:42
  • At least in the US, food labeling includes a distinction between total sugar content and “added sugars” - sugar added that is not naturally a part of some other ingredient. This is because the nutritional impact of added sugars is different from naturally occurring sugars. You could go to the physical fitness stack and ask about the differences between natural and added sugars when it comes to nutrition, or do a web search. May 10, 2021 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


That is actually correct - depending on the fruit you may be looking at different sugar component ratios (fructose/glucose), but ultimately, fruit is sweet because it contains sugar.

If you looking at dried fruit, the loss of water means a lot of concentrated sugar remains - and if you remember how sugar is made, it’s to be expected.

  • So I would not think of gulping down three teaspoons of sugar in one sitting, yet that is what I am doing if I have just two dates. Is there any difference between those two scenarios as far as how the sugars are digested? Can you comment on the fructose/glucose ratio and what impact that might have. Thanks. May 9, 2021 at 19:14
  • I’m afraid I can’t say anything about the physiological effects of different fructose:glucose ratios (and it would be clearly off topic). But some fruits will have more of the former, others of the latter. You can find for example a table here at Wikipedia.
    – Stephie
    May 9, 2021 at 19:21
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    @Not_Einstein do not forget that when you eat the dates you also consume water, fiber, etc contained in the fruit, all of which have an effect on the speed the sugar is absorbed. So it's not exactly the same as chugging a teaspoon of pure sugar.
    – Luciano
    May 10, 2021 at 12:56
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    @Luciano That is what I have read in further researching this subject. So eating a large apple would correspond to chugging about 6 teaspoons of sugar just based on the sugar content, but there is an obvious difference in those two scenarios. May 10, 2021 at 13:55

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