The Wonderful Lychee Fruit Gets Hijacked


Lychee fruit by SUJA on flickr

Oh, no.  Here we go again.  Lychee fruits may be the new Acai.  This exotic fruit from China and Southeast Asia has became increasingly popular in the last few years — showing up in juices and energy drinks, on restaurant menus and mixed in martinis.  In fact, the Lychee martini craze is still going strong.

2408184831_698b1c08d4Lychee-Lemongrass Martini by Colin Purrington on flickr
lychee salsa on oystersLychee salsa on oysters by Augustus Gloop on flickr 


Lychee Clafoutis by Appetite for China on flickr

Soon lychee gained status as a superfruit — fueled by a Journal of Nutrition study that found lychees contained the second highest amounts of polyphenols of all the fruits tested.  Lychees were found to have 15% more heart-healthy polyphenols compared to grapes.

It was only a matter of time before the next step in the cycle (following in acai’s myth-riddled path):  a lychee supplement.  That’s exactly what we have now with the launch of  the Lichi Super Fruit Diet.  Here’s a press release from the New York-based company Bainbridge & Knight that saw an opportunity to jump on the lychee bandwagon.  I first learned about these new herbal supplements last week when I heard an ad on the radio here in Chicago and wanted to learn more.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing — lose weight, boost metabolism, melt fat and detox.  

Here’s a link to where you can learn more about the $29.99 supplements that contain lychee fruit extract, acai, resveratrol and green tea extracts.  The products just launched in November and the company plans to support with a national ad campaign, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about the Lichi Super Fruit Diet if you haven’t already.lichi super fruitWhy can’t we just enjoy the fruit?  Why must every trendy food get turned into a dietary supplement?  You simply cannot capture all of the benefits of a whole food into a pill.  I don’t care that these supplements contain 17 different ingredients designed to burn fat.  Eat real fruit, drink a cup of  real green tea. 

Products like this always try to align with research so you’ll believe the products are science-based and the claims credible.  Typically there’s some link to research that gets the ball rolling.  But just because a food may be worthy of praise, doesn’t mean a pill filled with an extract of that food has any merit (and there’s likely little actual lychee inside). 

There’s a Japanese company that sells a lychee dietary supplement and it funded a study that seems to be the foundation of the burn fat. claim: lychee extract may trim waist fat.  However, this is not sufficient evidence to me that lychee supplements are worth spending money on. 

I like the idea of a lychee super fruit lifestyle — but only a lifestyle that includes real lychee fruits and other whole fruits and vegetables.  Products like this are only a distraction.  

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