A to Z Health Guide

Why You Should Avoid Eating Starfruit

Starfruit (carambola or Averrhoa Starfruit) is a fruit found in tropical areas.  It is originally from Asia. The fruit gets its name because it is shaped like a star when sliced. It can be yellow or greenish and has a taste ranging from bitter to sweet. 

Studies show that eating starfruit can have a harmful (toxic) effect for people who have kidney disease. The substances found in starfruit can affect the brain and cause neurological disorders. This toxic substance is called a neurotoxin. People with healthy, normal kidneys can process and pass this toxin out from their body. However, for those with kidney disease, this is not possible. The toxin stays in the body and causes serious illness.

The symptoms of starfruit poisoning include:

  • Hiccups
  • Mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Death (in serious cases)

If you have kidney disease, it is important to avoid starfruit and speak with your healthcare provider or your dietitian to learn more about the effects of starfruit or any other fruit you may not be sure about. 

Date Reviewed: 
July 19, 2016

The information shared on our websites is information developed solely from internal experts on the subject matter, including medical advisory boards, who have developed guidelines for our patient content. This material does not constitute medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. No one associated with the National Kidney Foundation will answer medical questions via e-mail. Please consult a physician for specific treatment recommendations.