The latest health trend to take over the internet has people, well, running to the bathroom. And it’s all thanks to a fruit.
Yellow dragon fruit has been around for years, but it’s been making rounds online for its poop — aka natural laxative — properties.
The hashtag #yellowdragonfruit has racked up over 110 million views on TikTok, with users claiming it works wonders on their internal plumbing.
One user shared her experience trying yellow dragon fruit in a TikTok with over 300,000 views and a caption reading, “Yellow dragon fruit should come with a warning.”
“The minute that you eat these, it’s the point of no return,” she says. “I must have been in the bathroom at least seven times within two hours. And when I tell you I sprinted to the bathroom and barely made it the second time… yeah, it was intense.”
But despite this unpleasant description, she raves about the results, claiming that the yellow dragon fruit “empties anything that’s trapped in your small or large intestine.”
What do experts say? TODAY.com spoke with two registered dietitians to see if there’s any truth to this latest TikTok health claim.
What is yellow dragon fruit?
Yellow dragon fruit, or Selenicereus megalanthus, is a tropical fruit from the cactus family that is native to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, according to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Its exterior is bright yellow with smooth spines. The interior has translucent white flesh and small edible black seeds. Some TikTok users have reported it tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear, with others saying it tastes more like a mix of pear and pineapple.
It’s similar to other dragon fruit varieties, such as the red and white kind, but it’s slightly sweeter, Frances Largeman-Roth, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “Eating In Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family,” tells TODAY .com.
Yellow dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, like vitamin C, which helps “fight free radical damage,” she says. According to the Mayo Clinic, free radicals are “molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation from the sun, X-rays or other sources. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.”
This fruit also contains protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron and magnesium, according to WebMD.
Is yellow dragon fruit a laxative? Benefits for your bowels
Yellow dragon fruit is high in fiber, making it a natural laxative.
It specifically contains a lot of soluble fiber, Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian nutritionist, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” tells TODAY.com.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and other body fluids. As it passes through the body, it takes on a gel-like consistency and feeds the good bacteria in your gut. More healthy bacteria in the gut means reduced inflammation and better digestion. Soluble fiber is also linked to a reduced ability to store fat, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and reduce heart disease risk, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in the body. Instead, “it absorbs (fluids) and sticks to other materials to form stools. This process leads to softer, bulkier — and more regular — stools,” per the Cleveland Clinic.
Both types of fiber help keep your bowels regular and boost colorectal health.
Can yellow dragon fruit give me diarrhea?
For people who already get a lot of fiber in their diet, eating a yellow dragon fruit won’t offer much benefit for the bowels or digestion, Taub-Dix says. But for those who have a diet that is low in fiber, you may feel the effects of the yellow dragon fruit more quickly — for example, diarrhea.
“A lot depends upon where your starting point is,” Taub-Dix adds.
When you’re increasing your fiber intake, whether by eating yellow dragon fruit or other foods, it’s critical to pair the fiber with fluids, she explains: “Fiber (by itself) can not only give you gastrointestinal issues, but sometimes it can clog you up, if you don’t have enough fluid to move the fibrous food out of you.”
Largeman-Roth echoes this sentiment: “If you’re someone who doesn’t usually get 8 grams of fiber in one sitting, you might be having more or bigger bowel movements than usual” after eating yellow dragon fruit, he says.
Per the Mayo Clinic, it’s recommended that women and men under 50 years old get 25 and 38 grams of fiber a day respectively. For women and men older than 51, it’s suggested to get 21 grams and 30 grams of fiber per day.
One cup of yellow dragon fruit provides 4 grams of fiber, Largeman-Roth says.
Does yellow dragon fruit clean your stomach?
Yellow dragon fruit isn’t a cleanse or a detox. It’s simply a fruit, and its effects on the bowels are a sign it’s “just doing its job as a fiber-filled fruit,” Largeman-Roth points out.
That said, the fruit does help to move things along in your digestive tract, especially if you’re drinking fluids, Taub-Dix says. “If there were things in your (internal) pipe and you wanted them to move out, you might push them through with fluid,” she explains.
For added impact, you can try combining other high-fiber foods, such as chia seeds, with the yellow dragon fruit, Largeman-Roth says.
“That will certainly help clean you out,” she adds.
Does yellow dragon fruit have side effects?
Yellow dragon fruit shouldn’t cause bloating, cramping or diarrhea, Largeman-Roth says. But Taub-Dix still recommends consuming it in moderation, especially if you don’t get enough fiber most days.
If you’ve never tasted a yellow dragon fruit before, Taub-Dix says, “Why not try it?” She suggests making a fruit salad with some pieces of yellow dragon fruit as a start.
But you don’t need to eat expensive tropical fruit to get fiber in your diet, Largeman-Roth points out.
“You can get just as much fiber from apples, pears, oranges and berries,” she says. “Eating a variety of fruit (fresh and frozen) is smart for overall health. There is no need to buy into TikTok’s trend of the moment.”
To prevent consuming any bacteria that could be on the skin of the dragon fruit, Largeman-Roth notes that you should always wash fresh fruit under running water before slicing into it.
“The skin of the dragon fruit isn’t edible — just the fruit inside,” she clarifies.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com