This exotic, Brazilian-grown berry has been touted as a weight-loss wonder by some and called pure hype by others. Separate the facts from fiction with these medical truths.
Step 1: Understand antioxidants Understand that acai is rich in antioxidants, like many other fruits. Antioxidants may help protect you against diseases, like cancer and heart disease, but research is lacking that they aid in weight loss.
TIP: Acai contains 10 to 30 times more antioxidants than red wine.
Step 2: Know it's unique Know the acai berry, along with avocados, is unique from other fruits in that it contains monounsaturated fats or MUFAS. MUFAS may work to keep you feeling satisfied within a calorie-controlled diet. However, you would need to consume such a large quantity of acai berries to get enough MUFAS, that you would actually be consuming extra calories.
Step 3: Get amino acid benefits Get the benefits of acai's almost-perfect amino acid complex, along with trace minerals, that aid in proper muscle regeneration and contraction.
TIP: The oleic acid in acai helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate cells and protects against aging inflammation.
Step 4: Use stats Use these nutrition statistics when considering using acai for weight loss. A 4-ounce serving of pure acai has about 100 calories, calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin A, and 6 grams of fat.
TIP: Expect to pay a hefty price. The berries don't transport well, leaving a less usable product.
Step 5: Be warned Be warned that a food and nutrition watchdog group has issued a warning against many companies offering free trials of acai diet products. These companies have asked customers for credit card information to pay for the shipping costs of their free sample, but then hit some cards with $80 to $90 in monthly charges.
Step 6: Look at labels Look at the labels of acai products, which come in a number of forms including juice, smoothies, pulp, powder, and capsules. Most products only contain a small amount of pure acai. Watch out for added sugar and pay attention to the calorie counts.
Step 7: Use in a healthy plan Use super-healthy acai as part of a long-term, weight-loss program that includes a variety of nutritious foods in a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise.
FACT: The acai berry is 95 percent seed. The remaining five percent is skin, which is the part used to make acai products.