The acai berry is a fruit native to Brazil, where it has been consumed for centuries. In fact, in some Brazilian populations, the acai fruit makes up the majority of their caloric intake (over 40% of their calories).
In Brazil, it is consumed in everything from a smoothie drink to a pudding-like food called cuias. It started to gain acceptance as a “super-food”, as do many exotic fruits, after a multi-level marketing supplement company began marketing the juice in a product called MonaVie (acai juice blended with other fruits).
Although the acai berry was slowly gaining in popularity in the supplement market, it exploded in popularity when Dr. Perricone called acai berry his number one anti-aging fruit and a potential weight loss aid. Instantly, it became one of the most searched nutritional remedies on the internet and people scrambled to order it by the droves…
In this article, we explore the acai berry to figure out just how helpful it may be for weight loss…
What Is A Super-Fruit?
Throughout the world you will find different foods that are touted to be “tonic foods”; fruits, vegetables, and herbs that have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes as well as to promote longevity and vitality.
In Tibet the cultural super-fruit is the Goji berry. In Tahiti the super-fruit is the Noni fruit. In China it’s green tea. In America the super-fruit is…well…I’ll tell you in a minute.
In a nutshell, a super-fruit is a raw food that seems to be “super-concentrated” in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and phytochemcial, which are reported to convey powerful health-promoting qualities.
Depending on the fruit, there may be different health qualities reported. When you see reports about the health-promoting qualities of these super-fruits, they can be fairly broad and can include improved longevity, mood, libido, and have even been labeled as a treatment for serious conditions like cancer and heart disease.
What’s So Special About the Acai Berry?
Most super-fruits grow in somewhat extreme environments, from extra-hot to super-cold climates.
Throughout the centuries of exposure to these harsh environments, the plant evolves to withstand these challenges by kicking up production of certain protective plant compounds called phytochemicals. In the case of the acai berry, it has evolved to contain a group of dark, purple pigments called proanthocyanadins, which act as antioxidants.
In addition, most of these exotic fruits reside in mineral-rich soils, which allows them to grow with higher-than-average concentrations of vitamins and minerals.
It is true that acai berry is a good antioxidant, however, so are many other fruits…
The question that remains is, “Does acai provide higher concentrations of high potency antioxidants and nutrients than other fruits?”
The answer: Not really.
In fact, the American super-fruit that I will tell you about is more highly concentrated than acai in one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. In addition, this American super-fruit has far more published research, is far less expensive, and much easier to find.
Does Acai Berry Promote Weight Loss?
Acai is a wonderful fruit full of fantastic nutrients and phytochemicals. Like other super-fruits, it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals and can be used as a supplement for general health.
Does it promote weight loss?
Unlikely. In fact, no single fruit, vegetable, herb, vitamin, mineral, or drug can trigger weight loss in humans…at least not permanent weight loss. In fact, I can not find a single study that suggests that acai fruit promotes weight loss in humans and I have only heard rumor of one study in rats that suggested acai could be beneficial.
Is it possible? Yes. Based on the available research, however, we simply can’t say for sure. Based on interactions with thousands of patients, some of which have used acai, I have heard no amazing reports of weight loss that would have me changing my opinion.
What About The Claims?
Unfortunately, most of the acai companies are guilty of total fraud. They are convincing people to try the product for a small shipping charge, once they have your credit card number they send a bottle every month for a ridiculously exaggerated price and then when you try to cancel it’s impossible to get hold of a real person. The Better Business Bureau has logged tons of complaints against many acai companies regarding these auto-ordering scams.
The American Super-Fruit That Beats The Acai Fruit!
As I mentioned, each culture has its own “super-foods”. In America, the super-fruit with high levels of antioxidants, powerful anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, and a slew of research that suggests disease-fighting potential is the incredible, edible, blueberry.
Blueberries are an amazing super-fruit and, in my opinion, may be a more powerful super-food than the acai berry. That…and it doesn’t cost $60 a bottle!
I add frozen, organic blueberries to my morning meal replacement shake every time that I make one. The phytochemicals in blueberries have been shown to offer a powerful source of antioxidants and may help to ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s. Will it promote weight loss, well, that is yet to be seen. I will go out on a limb and say that any food that helps to control inflammation in the body can make weight loss easier, and blueberries are potent anti-inflammatory fruits!
Apply What You Learned
Based on these findings, I feel that you should save your money on costly acai berry supplements and divert the funds towards the inexpensive frozen blueberries found in most supermarkets. With that said, if you have an opportunity to enjoy the acai berry, or any other exotic super-fruit, then don’t push it away. I am a fan of consuming a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and the more variety in color, the healthier you will be!
- Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, et al. (Feb 2008). “Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States”. J Agric Food Chem. 56 (4): 1415–22.
- Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, Ou B, Patel D, Huang D, Kababick JP (2006). “Phytochemical and nutrient composition of the freeze-dried amazonian palmberry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (acai)”. J Agric Food Chem 54 (22): 8598–603.