If there’s ever been more hype surrounding a fruit the size of a dime, I’ve yet to see it. Doing research on acai berry using Google is pretty much useless. The moment you hit “search”, you’re bombarded with bogus advertisements for anything and everything acai berry related.
The question remains: is acai legit or the dieting equivalent of fool’s gold?
What is Acai?
First, a little background. Acai berry comes from the acai palm tree located in Central and South America. Natives in those countries, particularly Brazil, have used acai berry for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years and now acai has made its way stateside. We do know that acai berries are bursting with antioxidants that support the immune system and destroy free radicals that can harm the body.
The specific antioxidants in acai berries are called anthocyanins and flavonoids. These antioxidant powerhouses protect the cell membranes in the body even better than cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. These little berries also have essential fatty acids in them that may promote immune system and heart health. Essential fatty acids also support the body’s natural ability to burn fat.
There are a dizzying array of different acai berry supplements to choose from. Some come in pill while others are sold in liquid, and powder forms. Some acai supplements have only acai in them while others are combined with other vitamins and nutrients. Depending on where you look, you’ll see it sold as an immune booster, metabolism booster, to improve blood circulation, and even for cholesterol reduction.
Does it Work?
There is no question that acai berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and fiber, but there is still only anecdotal evidence that shows it can help people lose weight. Although there are claims that acai boosts metabolism or curbs appetite, there’s not a shred of evidence supporting this. Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets when it comes to weight loss, acai berry being no exception.
There are no known side effects when acai berry is taken within reason. If you’re brave or despearet and want to give an acai supplement a shot, it’s probably not going to do you any harm as long as you stick to the directions on the packaging. If you want to see results however, you should make exercise and a healthy diet as the basis of your weight loss plan, and use acai as a way to supplement your efforts.