Does Eating an Entire Orange—Peel and All—Really Help You Instantly Poop? Here's What a Dietitian Has to Say

We dug into the science to see if this trend was worth trying.

Dealing with constipation is not pleasant. Between the bloating, straining and overall discomfort, it makes sense why people may turn to any remedy that offers the promise of fast relief. To help people who are struggling, Bethany Ugarte-Cameron (@lilsipper on Instagram), offered a unique remedy for helping people "instantly poop."

In an Instagram reel, Ugarte-Cameron shared her constipation remedy, which involves washing an orange under warm water, slicing into wedges, then generously coating each wedge in cinnamon and cayenne pepper before eating the whole thing—peel and all.

According to Ugarte-Cameron, "This works every time, in about 5 minutes."

Plenty of social trends have been less-than-impressive, and in some cases, completely unsafe (we're looking at you, Nyquil-marinated chicken). So we have to ask the question: is trying this strategy worth it, or is it just another trend that's best left on the screen, rather than in our bellies?

I'm a Dietitian And Here's What I Think About Eating an Entire Orange—Skin and All—to Help You Instantly Poop
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Does eating a whole orange doused in cinnamon and cayenne pepper really offer constipation relief?

Ugarde-Cameron gave a brief explanation as to why this spicy-citrus combo works for her.

Oranges contain the compound, naringenin, which she explains is "a flavonoid shown to help with constipation in general," and that "naringenin can also have a laxative effect." She even references studies to confirm these statements.

But, the two studies the creator references in her caption are based on animal studies—one on mice and the other on rats. While animal studies can give us a glimpse into the effects certain nutrients may have, unless we have human studies to back these claims, we can't make assumptions that the same effect will be seen in a human body, as it did in a rodent body.

Ugarte-Cameron goes on to explain, "Cayenne pepper and cinnamon contain capsaicin, which trigger your TRVP1 receptors (located in your mouth and also throughout your body and GI tract) and stimulate your GI tract—making things move through quite fast!"

The TRPV1 receptor Ugarde-Cameron refers to is in fact activated by the capsaicin molecule, as well as heat and low pH. The receptor's purpose is to help your body detect heat and pain. And while there may be a link between triggering these receptors and stimulating the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, until we have well-designed clinical studies to back that claim, that connection can't be assumed.

Should you try this trend?

Eating this snack will likely not cause harm and it may offer some benefit, although results can vary from person to person. So if you like the taste, don't let these details discourage you from enjoying this snack.

The orange flesh and rind both contain fiber, a key nutrient that helps maintain regular bowel movements. A whole, unpeeled orange delivers 7.65 grams of fiber, which is roughly one-third of the daily recommended goal. Plus, juicy oranges can help you stay hydrated—another important factor when looking for constipation relief.

Orange rinds often contain pesticide residue, but eating one whole orange every now and again likely won't hurt. (Research shows it's exposure to pesticides in large quantities that can increase your risk for negative health outcomes.) And washing your orange under warm water prior to eating helps remove some of that residue.

The capsaicin molecule found in both cayenne and cinnamon has been shown to have a positive effect on the gut microbiota. Data shows, the healthier your gut bacteria, the fewer GI issues you may encounter. Additionally, some research suggests capsaicin may help keep your intestine moving properly—an important factor for passing a bowel movement successfully.

Just keep in mind that for some people, eating capsaicin-containing ingredients in large quantities may bring on uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn, diarrhea and cramping.

Bottom Line

Between the fiber from the whole, unpeeled orange, the hydration support that comes from eating the juicy fruit and the potential gut-friendly benefits the spices may offer, eating this snack will likely not cause harm, and it may even help.

But if you aren't keen on eating a whole, spice-covered orange, there are certainly other options that can help keep things moving.

A fiber-rich snack, like chia-seed pudding, paired with water may help. Or try our quick-to-make Healthy Gut Tonic with Chia for even faster relief. Chia seeds pack in 7 grams of fiber in two tablespoons, so it's easy to get plenty of fiber from a small serving. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to help that fiber do it's job effectively. Or something like our Apple Pie Energy Balls, with 6 grams of fiber per serving, is another tasty option.

Research has also shown that eating prunes every day can improve stool consistency and frequency, as can kiwifruit.

These foods may help if you're experiencing occasional constipation. But if you're experiencing chronic constipation, you're better off discussing solutions with your health care provider than leaning on social media for remedies.

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