There comes a certain point in some people’s weight loss journey where they start to get frustrated and desperate. They may turn to options other than diet and exercise to kick start results and if it’s something quick and easy, they’ll take it. One of those options most frequently includes diet pills and supplements. One particular little fruit has become increasingly popular for fast and easy weight loss: the acai berry. But, does it live up to the hype?
Acai berry came onto the American market when it was promoted as a superfood for age-defying beauty by Dr. Nicholas Perricone on the Oprah Winfrey show. The fruit is grown in Brazil and tastes like a cross between wild berries and chocolate. Acai in berry form contains significant amounts of healthy fats and fiber and the juice contains antioxidants making it a smart addition to any diet.
Anthocyanin, which is also found in red wine, is responsible for acai’s dark hue and also plays a role in protecting the body’s cells. Anthocyanins and flavonoids can neutralize free radicals and help slow down the aging process, although currently, few studies can prove acai’s fountain of youth potential.
Commercially, I see a lot of products marketed promoting the fantastic effects of acai, however many contain other effective ingredients used in other weight loss products, like green tea extract.
While acai could be used safely in the fight against wrinkles and aging, as far as for weight loss, there is no significant data to support its use. I would advise any of my patients on maintenance medication for diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol to not include acai in their regimen or use it as a substitute. Acai has only been marketed in the United for about 7 years so we really do not have any idea how this supplement could affect other medications.
Let your pharmacist and doctor know any supplements you are taking. Your health care team can then better monitor you to avoid harmful drug interactions and side effects. Eating a diet that is high in fruits in vegetables may very well provide the same about of protection as taking this particular supplement would.
September 4th, 2011