The Health Hound Reviews Acai Berry Supplements

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Henry‘s Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

 

As the old song goes, “A kiss is just a kiss – a sigh is just a sigh…” and lately so many folks have been singing the praises of acai berries for weight-loss and anti-aging I thought it was about time that The Health Hound launched his own investigation!

In addition to its use as a natural quick weight loss supplement, Acai has been said to:

  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve the health of skin and hair
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Slow down or reverse the aging process

That seems like a lot of claims for one little berry! So it was time to start sniffing! First up I wondered exactly what the acai berry is and where does it come from? The acai berry is the fruit of the Acai Palm Tree (Euterpe oleracea) that grows mainly in South America. But by all indications it is not an ordinary fruit, but a super fruit, rich in anthocyanins and flavonoids like other darkly colored berries. It is the anthocyanins and flavonoids that give the dark berries — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and related fruits such as tart cherries and red and black grapes – their antioxidant punch.

Your body’s greatest enemy is free-radicals. Free- radicals are the by-products of many cellular processes. But as they build up in the body they cause “oxidative stress”, which leads to everything from a weakened immune system, to the physical breakdown of skin and muscle tone, usually related to aging. Antioxidants such as the anthocyanins in acai berry, act like magnets for free-radicals, scooping them up and eliminating them from the body. You are probably familiar with another oxidative process, rust. Rust is the breakdown of metal via oxidation. So you can think of antioxidants as a kind of “rust proofing” for your body that keeps everything rust free and moving freely!

It is believed that by attacking and destroying free radicals, antioxidants not only improve overall health and improve vitality; they may help reduce the risk of some terrible killers, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

But is there any evidence that acai berries have this power? Well, according to WebMD there have been studies that indicate that acai berries have a very high antioxidant content. Even more than other super-foods well-known for their antioxidant properties such as cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or even blueberries.

So what about weight-loss? Glad you asked. While the many health benefits of super foods rich in antioxidants such as Acai are undeniable, their link to “fat-burning” and weight-loss are a little more questionable. It is not that acai cannot promote healthy weight-loss; it is just that there is nothing unique or miraculous about its ability to do so. An acai supplement taken as part of any diet program can promote healthy weight-loss like any fruit rich in antioxidants. But fans of the Hound know better then to take for granted any claims about “miracle weight loss” and “eat what ever you want without exercising.”

Even Oprah Winfrey, who was largely responsible for the recent acai craze, has more recently distanced herself from claims about its weight-loss properties. Just like the Hound, Oprah does not deny acai’s overall health benefits, but she has posted comments on her website disassociating herself from products that are sold hyping acai strictly as “weight-loss pill.”

The Hound urges anyone purchasing such products to read the labels carefully. Many contain a lot of useless additives, and added calories, and very little actual acai. As with anything – if a claim seems to good to be true, be skeptical!

How to Use Acai Berry

If you really want to get any kind of weight-loss effect from acai berries, you probably are better off eating the actual fruit, for not only its antioxidative power, but its satiety effect. Satiety is your feeling of fullness. Eating a bowl of actual acai berries, much like artichokes or avocados, and other fruits with a high amount of mono-unsaturated fats, can make you feel more full and eat less. However, I could not find any definitive scientific study that acai supplements in pill form have the same satiety effect, though there are numerous claims that they do. More likely such supplements are also filled with additional fiber. Now, there is nothing wrong with that – I am only saying that is probably the source of the satiety, and not the acai extract itself.

However, that is not to say that acai supplements do not have proven health benefits, it is just that the jury is still out on claims strictly about weight-loss. If you are taking acai supplements to improve overall health most products recommend 1- 2 tablets per day. There are dozens and dozens of acai supplements on the market. You should check the label for purity of the extract. Also, go with trusted manufactures, make sure they use only pure acai from South American plants, and check for any consumer complaints against that particular product or supplement.

Who Should Use It?

Anyone who is looking to add a little antioxidant oomph to his or her diet should consider acai. If you are dieting, acai certainly can aid any diet plan, but you should steer clear of of acai, and acai products that make unfounded claims about its weight-loss properties.

The Good

There is a lot of good about acai berries and acai berry supplements; their antioxidant power is indisputable. In addition to its anthocyanins and flavonoids, there are substances in acai berries, which according to WebMD, “may reduce inflammation and could possibly slow the spread of cancer cells.” Acai berries also contain “good fats”, such as oleic acid, which is one of the same oils found in olive oil.

The Bad

Since acai is a natural berry, eaten in their fruit form there is no such thing as “side effects.” Perhaps folks should avoid them with a known allergy to other dark berries or fruits. As far as the supplements go the only “bad” is again to be a bit skeptical about acai supplements that claim to be a “weight-loss” wonder drug.

The Bottom Line

Every day modern scientists are learning more and more about what a lot of ancient peoples seemed to have known all along regarding the power of superfoods, such as acai berries. While there has been little evidence yet discovered to prove acai is the breakthrough weight-loss product that many have touted it to be, there is a whole lot of research that supports the overall benefits of eating a diet rich in, and supplementing with antioxidants. For that reason alone, there is no reason not to take acai berry supplements.

There’s no doubt in this Hound’s mind that acai berries, like all fruits can be a key part of any healthy diet promoting weight loss – but in and of itself, taking acai, without a healthy eating plan and regular exercise will no more help you to loose weight than will a box of milkbones!

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