Durian may be considered our national fruit, since plenty of people seem to obsess about it. While overseas visitors often comment about how it smells foul, we tend to find it nowhere near as disgusting. But whether you love it or hate it, durians are said to be fattening, high in cholesterol and “heaty” – how much of it is true? Here are some myths:
1. Durian is high in cholesterol
Actually, durians have zero cholesterol (it’s only found in red meats, seafood and dairy products). Instead, durians have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which help to lower your levels of bad LDL cholesterol, and has a lot of fibre. However, as with any fruit, it comes with sugars (sucrose, fructose and glucose) and therefore calories. An average 1kg sized durian can have up to 1,350 calories, and one seed (about 40 g) has 54 calories.
Durian can be a healthy fruit if eaten in moderation, as it’s rich in potassium, dietary fibre, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex.
2. Durian is “heaty” so drink salt water or eat mangosteen to counteract it
Durians are long believed to be a “heaty” food, and according to TCM, overindulgence in durians can induce a phlegmy cough, sore throat and constipation. While conventional medicine says that your body temperature can get higher, it’s probably due to the metabolic process of digesting the fruit.
According to TCM, you can counteract the durian’s “heatiness” by drinking salt water or eating a mangosteen (which is a “cooling” fruit). While no scientific research supports the latter, drinking salt water is believed to moderate the undesirable effects and help reduce toxins.
3. Eating durian and drinking alcohol at the same time may kill you
While there is no scientific evidence to prove this lethal combination, what is more likely to happen is that you’ll experience bloating, indigestion and discomfort. This is because your liver has to work extra hard to metabolise both fats and sugars in the durians and the alcohol, especially if you have binged on both.
4. Eating durian can boost your libido
As with all silly libido-related myths, this is not true. It may cause your body temperature to rise, but so will exercising – which is proven to be a better libido booster than gorging on durians.
However, durians are a great instant energiser because of their high carbohydrate content, so they can replenish low energy levels quickly (in healthy people) while its high potassium content can help reduce fatigue.
So there you have it – some of the most persistent myths about our King of Fruits. If you’re thinking of having some, bear in mind that while it technically is a healthy fruit, health experts recommend eating no more than 2-3 seeds a day.