Acai berries are incredibly popular nowadays, with claims of significant weight loss being possible. Not just that, the berries themselves are supposedly the healthiest on the planet. While the claims of weight loss are perhaps the most famous, some suggest they also have a range of other benefits, including anti-aging properties. But is there any truth in these claims, particularly with regards to weight loss?
The Research on Acai Berries
There has been a significant amount of research in acai berries, and they have produced some interesting results.
Some studies show that acai fruit pulp is even richer in antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
What this means is that these berries could provide the body with protection from free radical damage, which can cause a wealth of diseases, including cancer and heart disease. However, to date, there is no evidence to suggest that there is actually a link between between weight loss and acai berries.
One of the reasons why acai berries quickly became so popular as a tool for weight loss, is because marketers made claims that celebrities endorsed the product, including Dr. Oz. The reasoning, for many, was that if acai berries have strong anti-oxidant properties, they will also be able to combat various inflammations and diseases that make it more difficult to lose weight. However, since then, it has become clear that these claims have not been supported by celebrities at all. In fact, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz himself, have even started a lawsuit to reflect this.
The companies that are using my name to hawk these products are duping the public. I do not endorse any of these products. By falsely presenting products as ‘scientifically proven’ and endorsed by well-known figures, these companies do a gross disservice to the public health and could even pose a danger to those who believe their false and unproven claims.
Acai Berry and Weight Loss Claims
Since the Harpo and Dr. Oz lawsuit, weight loss claims with regards to acai berry have started to diminish, although they have not disappeared completely. This is mainly because, celebrity endorsed or not, there are certain health benefits to the berry, and being of good health makes it easier to lose weight as well.
Since it’s natural and works without causing “diet pill” side effects, it’s also very gentle and beneficial to the body. Therefore, it is a more holistic option than over-the-counter or prescription-strength diet formulas. If you want holistic care and secondary health benefits, such as access to powerful antioxidants that slow down cell damage, you may find that choosing an Acai Berry supplement makes lots of sense.
That being said, those who now market acai berry as a holistic product, with a potential added benefit of being able to help with weight loss, now tend to recommend Garcinia cambogia for weight loss instead. This is, in fact, to date, the only natural product that has proven weight loss benefits, albeit small ones.
The evidence from RCTs suggests that Garcinia extracts/HCA generate weight loss on the short term. However, the magnitude of this effect is small, is no longer statistically significant when only rigorous RCTs are considered, and its clinical relevance seems questionable.
Acai Berry Side Effects
A new concern has recently been raised with regards to acai berry. Because there has been such a hype surrounding it for a long time, many people are not aware of the fact that it has now been proven that it has no direct weight loss benefits. As a result, they continue to take the supplements. Perhaps equally worrying is that the supplement market is not regulated, which means people have no clarity on what they are actually taking, and whether the levels of natural acai berry are high enough to produce any health benefits at all.
What has now been scientifically proven is that taking acai berry supplements (not the natural product) can actually produce some serious side effects.
Extracts of acai berry supplements may decrease blood sugar and interact with blood sugar-lowering medication. Keep this in mind if you’re prone to bouts of low blood sugar or if you’re prescribed medication to control your blood glucose. In addition, acai berry is particularly high in potassium. Avoid taking it if you’re following a low-potassium diet for reasons such as kidney problems.
Furthermore, many users have reported a wealth of gastrointestinal problems, including loose stool, nausea, bloating, and gas. Furthermore, when people take supplements, their products also contain other ingredients, with caffeine and herbs being very common. These ingredients also have potential side effects. It is very important, therefore, to only purchase acai berry from trusted sources, consult with a physician before taking it, and have realistic expectations of what the results could be.
So will acai berry harm you? If taken naturally, absolutely not. The fact that it is healthy is undeniable, although many other berries contain similar, if not greater, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is certainly a healthy berry, as are many other berries, that will help your body heal in a holistic way. In so doing, it may also assist weight loss to a certain degree, because your body improves its overall digestion. However, acai berry is certainly not a miracle weight loss product and will not have any effects unless you also commit to a healthy lifestyle, which includes a calorie controlled diet and regular physical exercise.
Unfortunately, because people continue to try and find the cheapest deals, and added to the fact that supplements are unregulated, the vast majority of acai berry supplements do not have any health benefits at all. They tend to be cheaply made in Asian countries and mass-marketed in this country. The ingredients are questionable at best, and there is also no information on how the ingredients have been obtained, and whether the product has been created in an ethical way. The overall verdict, therefore, is to only consume natural acai berries for your overall health, and to look elsewhere for weight loss.