Durians - Get the nutritional facts right from Changi General Hospital's Dietetics and Food Services department.
Singaporeans always get whipped up into a frenzy when during durian season, but is there such a thing as TOO MUCH durian? And is durian and alcohol a lethal combination? Our experts from Changi General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth group, shares more on the myths and facts about durians.
Contrary to popular belief, you will not have a big spike in your cholesterol level after eating a durian. In fact, this king of fruits has good monounsaturated fats that can actually lower your harmful cholesterol levels and moderate your high blood pressure.
But feasting on this highly nutritious fruit will certainly not benefit your waistline. A durian can have anywhere from 885 calories to 1,500 calories depending on its size. Durians may be a very good source of nutrients, but they are also high in calories and carbohydrates and thus must be consumed with moderation.
1. Fact - Durian can cause weight gain
With an average 1 kg sized durian having close to 1,350 calories, eating one durian can rack up as much as 68 per cent per cent of the daily 2,000 calories recommended for an average adult! One seed durian (about 40 g) has 54 calories.
2. fact - Durian is rich in nutrients
Durian is naturally rich in potassium, dietary fibre, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex. The king of fruits is thus excellent for improving muscle strength and blood pressure, bowel movements and skin health. It also supports the nervous and immune systems, and enhances red blood cell formation.
| Nutritional composition of one small durian (602g)
|32.1g (mostly monounsaturated fats)
● That’s nearly 50% of the daily nutritional requirement.
● That’s over 50% of the daily nutritional requirement.
● Good. That’s 92% of the daily nutritional requirement.
|Percentage of daily nutritional requirements
3. fact - People with diabetes must limit their durian intake
If you have diabetes and must count your carbs, you cannot feast on durians because of the fruit’s high sugar content. Durians contain simple sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose.
4. fact - Durian is an instant energiser
Because of their high carbohydrate content, durians can help replenish low energy levels quickly (in healthy individuals). The fruit’s high potassium content can also help reduce fatigue and relieve mental stress and anxiety.
5. myth - Durian is loaded with cholesterol
Not true. Durians have zero cholesterol. Cholesterol is found in foods containing saturated fats such as red meats, seafood and dairy products. Durians have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which help to lower your levels of bad LDL cholesterol.
6. myth - Mangosteen must be eaten with durian to reduce heatiness
According to conventional Chinese wisdom, a mangosteen, being a cooling fruit, will reduce the heatiness associated with durians. However, there is no scientific research to support this. The habit of eating durians and mangosteens together probably stems from the fact that the two fruits are harvested at about the same time.
7. myth - Eating durian and drinking beer at the same time may kill you
There is no scientific evidence to show that this is a lethal combination. It is more likely to cause bloating, indigestion and discomfort as your liver has to work extra hard to metabolise both fats and sugars in the durians and the alcohol, especially if you have consumed both in excessive amounts.
8. myth - Eating durian can boost your libido
The heatiness in the durian may cause your body temperature to rise, but this does not make the fruit an aphrodisiac.
Despite the myths associated with the durian, it remains a highly prized fruit.
Final message from our dietitians:
The durian is a highly nutritious fruit which, when eaten in moderation, will provide the body with many minerals, vitamins and good fats. Eating two to three seeds of durian at one sitting is sufficient, but because durians can become so addictive, people tend to eat more than they should.