Acai berry and weight loss are two subjects that are often linked together nowadays. However, there are statements that disprove Acai berries’ role in helping people shed off unwanted weight. How true are those claims? More importantly, why do those statements exist? Let’s find out.
Acai Berries Defined
Acai, pronounced as ah-sigh-ee, is a purple berry that is a native of Brazil. It is enjoyed by many because it tastes like wild berries and unsweetened chocolates combined.
This berry is known to have a potent antioxidant called anthocyanin. Apart from giving the berry its purple hue, said component has anti-inflammatory properties, can fight off cancer and other diseases such as diabetes, neurological disorders, bacterial infection, and even aging.
According to research, four ounces of pure Acai berries have approximately 100 calories with vitamin A, fiber, iron, calcium, plus 6 grams of fat.
However, those berries have a short shelf life so they are difficult to transport. Add the fact that only 5% of the Acai berry is used to create Acai products. For this reason, food, beverages, and other forms made from Acai berries are painfully expensive.
Acai Berry and Weight Loss: Can I Really Lose Weight with Them?
Everywhere you go, you will see shops that offer their own version of the delightful Acai bowls. These shops claim that their concoction can help you lose weight since they are filled with Acai berries.
So, is that true? Can you really lose weight by eating Acai bowls or products? Honestly, the answer is a resounding MAYBE.
Wait, hold up. Don’t protest just yet and hear me out. Let us dissect and check the ingredients of different Acai bowls.
The classic Acai bowls in Brazil contain pureed Acai, granola, and sliced banana. You get roughly 355 calories with 50 grams of carbs (18 grams of which is sugar) in it. This is just the original version. What about the American’s take of the famous healthy bowl?
In Acai places in America, the purees contain sugar to improve the taste. They also add agave, honey, and more fruits, to sweeten the bowl – which is a lot of sugar.
Here’s an example. A sample 12-ounce Acai bowl has pureed Acai, strawberry juice, Guarana, and real blueberries, and strawberries. All in all, you will get 60 grams of sugar, 66 grams of carbohydrates, and 340 calories.
What if you add more toppings to the mix? This means you get to add more sugar and carbohydrates into the already high count. I even hear about Acai bowls exceeding 90 grams of sugar… SUGAR ALONE. Wow, just wow.
Now, do you understand why my answer is a big MAYBE? Your weight loss will depend on how much you used to eat, and what else you eat every day of your life.
Just because you are taking a superfruit does not make you immune to the effects of all the sugar and carbohydrates you are adding into your bowl (or system).
What I am saying is that you also need to watch your intake. Think about the calorie count, sugar, and carbohydrates before eating a spoonful or regret it later (then blame all the weight gain on Acai berries – which is totally wrong).
Acai Berry Benefits
Now that we know the truth about Acai berries and weight loss, let us know the berries a little better.
1. They can lower bad cholesterol levels.
Conducted animal studies have shown that Acai can decrease bad cholesterol levels. There is a possibility that it can have the same outcome in humans.
Aside from anthocyanins, the plant sterols in the berries are known to keep the body from absorbing cholesterol. More research is necessary to fully back up this claim though.
2. They can protect you from brain damage.
In lab tests, it has shown that Acai extracts helped the brain stay healthy by removing cells that are no longer functioning. It also indicated that the extracts helped the formation of new nerves to improve the connection between brain cells. This whole process is important, especially when you are older.
Various animal studies also concluded that Acai can shield your brain from incurring damage as you grow older. Another study even showed memory improvement in old rats.
3. They are packed with nutrients.
A Venezuelan study reported that Acai berries have chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
As mentioned earlier, they also have anthocyanins. This component can also be found in black beans, blueberries, and other black and purple foods.
4. They are filled with antioxidants.
Free radicals are detrimental to your health as they destroy cells and cause diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. Fortunately, food with antioxidants such as Acai berries can battle and neutralize those free radicals.
In a study in 2008, 12 fasting volunteers were given as juice, Acai pulp, and applesauce at four varying times. Their blood was tested to find if there are traces of antioxidants in them.
Participants who consumed applesauce and Acai pulp are found to have high antioxidant levels. This shows that Acai pulp is a better provider of antioxidants compared to Acai juice. It also indicates that antioxidant components of Acai are better absorbed in the gut.
5. They have cancer-fighting properties.
In one study on mice, acid has been found to lessen the occurrence of bladder and colon cancer. However, it did not have the same effect for stomach cancer in another mice study.
Based on research and studies, Acai berries have potential in preventing or treating cancer in the future. More research needs to be done though to strengthen the claims.
Acai Berry for Weight Loss: The Berry in Different Forms
There are controversial issues revolving around Acai berry and weight loss. Some may say that they are just hyped up, while many others proclaim that it boosts energy while suppressing appetite. If you do decide on taking Acai berry, take note of its different forms:
- Fresh – this is probably the hardest form to get. As already mentioned, the berry easily perishes, so you cannot see it just anywhere. However, this is the most ideal form to take as you are sure that you are getting the best quality.
- Dried or frozen – good version if you can’t find the fresh ones. And they last longer too.
- Juice or concentrates – these are very expensive because you can drink them anytime, anywhere. What I also don’t like about them is that they are added with sweeteners so you are not sure how much of the Acai berries you are actually ingesting.
- Powder and pills – for me, this is the best form as they have a long shelf-life. Since they are in the condensed form, you are getting more value as you are able to get larger qualities of Acai in a little pill minus the extra calories. Add the fact that they are portable so consuming them as supplements is made easier. And, they are a bit less expensive compared to the other forms.
What can you do with Acai berries? You can add them to your desserts, meals, and recipes, or make smoothies. The possibilities are endless as long as you let your creative juices flow.
Acai Berry and Weight Loss: Conclusion
Acai berry and weight loss can go hand in hand provided that you are well-informed of your choices. In the examples above, I have shown the calorie count, and sugar and carbohydrate content of different Acai bowls.
The Acai berry might be a superfruit but if you don’t learn to control yourself, you might end up getting fatter than you used to. Also, choose supplements over other forms if you need higher Acai content to boost your weight loss plan while taking care of your health.
If you are really determined to lose weight, add exercise, and healthy lifestyle to your daily dose of Acai berries.