By now we’ve all seen the ads while we’re shopping for shoes online or walking into the grocery store for acai (ah-sigh-ee) berries and their health benefits. From cancer to baldness to exceptional weight loss, these tiny purplish berries have held several marketing titles that seemed to draw a craze for several years. Although some scientists claim the berries do have some interesting components, there is very little proof that the diet actually does what it says. Some are still researching and others, since the fad has simmered down, have moved on to other crazy claims and pills.

With glaring exclamation points and flavorful wording to help drive the buy-me-now point across, but does the acai berry actually stand up to all the hype? Are cleanses really helping your digestive tract? Do the supplements actually contain as many antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids as they claim? Is your health truly improving?

What is that little drupe? 


To examine the acai berry more in-depth, we’ll have to travel back to where the fruit falls. This berry drops from the acai palm, which is indigenous to Trinidadian and South American swamps and floodplains a.k.a. the Amazon Rainforest. The palm creates the acai berry in batches of 500 to 900 fruits. The blackish-purple or green drupe (a fancy name for a stone fruit where the outside is fleshy and the inside contains a pit) are produced two times per year and made into frozen pulp, juices, dietary supplements, hats, mats, brooms, roofs, baskets, and the palm heart is considered a delicacy. An acai berry also contains oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, amino acids, and low sugar.


Potential Health Benefits


Acai Berry Health Benefits

There have been quite a lot of claims over the years that acai berries cure cancer, help you lose excess pounds, regain hair growth therefore defeating baldness, and return your body to optimal health. Very few studies published actually have legitimate information and many have been sued for false health claims. Several of the companies have an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and there are tons of scams that take your credit card and charge you even if you try to cancel shipments of the supplement, which you may never receive in the first place. 

A few places including Texas A&M and the University of Florida are referenced as important investigations of the acai’s health benefits but they lack back-up and further research. The boastful claims of exceptional ingredients within the berry and extreme weight loss haven’t been seen in any clinical studies whatsoever. If anything, the acai berry should be eaten in moderation, like all other fruits and veggies, to maintain a good diet.

The acai berry is a great addition to a healthy diet or to help you get back on track with the right amounts of good foods, but as far as extreme health claims, it’s difficult to find ground to stand on. Picking up a cleanse may decrease light build up but you don’t go from a size 10 to a size 2 within a matter of a few days.


Weight Loss

acai berry diet

Example Acai Berry supplement

Juices, powders, pulps, and capsules dominate the weight loss market for this tiny fruit. Even though the diet started about 10 years ago, there are still acai products lining the shelves of every grocery store you visit and claim they can help you flush excess materials from your digestive system. Some of the acai products still proclaim they include an antioxidant formula, which is true; acai berries are rich in antioxidants like other dark colored fruits, e.g. grapes. However, there is no proof that those antioxidants cure cancer or will save you in the future.

When it comes to weight loss, the fruit substances tend to exaggerate their claims of getting rid of “puffiness and bloating.” The weight loss is more of a slim down, if anything. Eating large quantities of supplements or powders to help increase the effects won’t help much either. Just like any other excess vitamins or minerals, you’re basically paying for expensive water you’re flushing down the toilet.

Also important to note, the acai berry products are not FDA-approved. No claims or benefits for extreme weight loss or cancer treatments have been officially evaluated. The berry itself is already considered to be a great food to add to your diet but eating a ton of them won’t magically alleviate any symptoms or issues.


What We Learned

acai berry cleanse

Although the acai berry is extremely delicious and looks great on packaging, it, like many other diets, doesn’t exactly stand up to the claims. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, veggies, fruits, fiber, and all the other good stuff I could name is how you keep your weight low and your energy up. The berry does have a high count of antioxidants, which is great for your system, but it isn’t a miracle fruit. A cleanse may help assist in blockage or bloating but you’ll be essentially the same weight after. 

An important warning about the acai berry advertisements though, the scams are still very real and will charge your card repeatedly. There are several reports that can be found herehere, and here about the marketing and credit card scams. Mostly, it works like this: you click the ad, think you’re getting a free sample, pay “shipping and handling,” and end up with $80-90 per month of charges that are extremely hard to get rid of. Don’t fall for the scam. If you’re going to try a new diet, go out to your local store first and if you must buy online, buy from a reputable store. 

As always, remember that losing weight is never a quick-fix solution and diet pills are, many times, geared toward easy money rather than fast results. Healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle of exercise and getting off the couch keep your body in tiptop shape. The old standby is what works and adding the acai berry will help, but you won’t see any fascinating results or extraordinary weight loss. 

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I am in deep-fried love with food and travel. With Italian roots, I have a weakness for bread, marinara, and mozzarella. I’ll try anything once and am constantly searching for intriguing places to visit. When I'm not savoring the last bite or organizing my next trip, I'm indulging my inner bookworm and writing about my adventures. If you turn on college football and give me a local craft beer, you’ll see the happiest Hokie on the West coast.

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