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Weight Loss with Acai Berry – Reality Check

Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | Article Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Nov 02, 2016
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Weight Loss with Acai Berry – Reality Check

Hollywood celebrities and a number of shopping platforms are advertising acai berry as ‘the secret to weight loss’. However, these claims are not backed by positive results from genuine users. There is lack of credible scientific evidence to show that acai berry does indeed fight obesity. The played-up hype over acai as manna for weight loss bamboozled many a weight watcher to spend their money only to find out that they have been misled by the ads. The hype reached such a proportion that the Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) had to issue a warning stating, ‘There’s no evidence whatsoever to suggest that acai pills will help shed pounds, flatten tummies, cleanse colon, enhance sexual desire, or perform any of the other commonly advertised functions’.

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But, there is no doubt that a diet rich in anti-oxidants promotes good health and acai berry is a great anti-oxidant rich food. Although it does not directly help with weight loss, it does provide the body with nutritional support during the fat burning process. For example:

  • Losing weight entails not only shedding excess weight, but losing some valuable nutrients in the body. Acai berry rich in nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, helps maintain good health by replenishing the lost nutrients.
  • When exercising as a part of a healthy weight loss program, the body produces toxic by-products (see Section 2). Anti-oxidants in acai berry help with free radical removal and reduce stress on the body, thus increasing energy levels.
  • A study from the National Institute of Food and Nutrition, Poland, revealed that overweight and obese women had significantly lower serum anti-oxidant vitamin levels (vitamin C, vitamin E, retinol or vitamin A and carotenoids) and an overall vitamin deficiency. Interestingly, acai berry contains all of these vitamins and more. Here again, they are associated, albeit indirectly, with weight loss.
  • Similarly, the high dietary fiber content of acai berry helps in suppressing appetite, thereby decreasing food intake. Together with amino acids and vitamins, these fibers boost metabolic rates thus burning more calories even in a sedentary state.
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On the whole, acai berry supplements or acai berry diet are not a quick fix to rapid weight loss but consuming acai berry as a part of healthy diet in the form of juice or fresh fruit can help boost metabolism and increase activity levels, which in turn can aid in the process of weight loss.

References:

  1. Pacheco-Palencia LA, Mertens-Talcott S, Talcott ST., ‘Chemical composition, antioxidant properties, and thermal stability of a phytochemical enriched oil from Acai’ (Euterpe oleracea Mart.). J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 25;56(12):4631-6. Epub 2008 Jun 4.
  2. Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications (17 October 2008). Brazilian Acai Berry Antioxidants Absorbed by Human Body, Research Shows. Science Daily.
  3. Brazilian Acai Berry Antioxidants Absorbed By Human Body, Research Shows - (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006112053.htm)
  4. Alcohol, Oxidative Stress, and Free Radical Damage - (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm)
  5. Aging Not Slowed By Antioxidants, Study Rejects 50 Year Old Theory - (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/131363.php)
  6. Moor de Burgos A, Wartanowicz M, Ziemlañski S. Blood vitamin and lipid levels in overweight and obese women. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;46(11):803-8.
  7. Schauss AG, Wu X, Prior RL, Ou B, Huang D, Owens J, Agarwal A, Jensen GS, Hart AN, Shanbrom E. ‘Antioxidant capacity and other bioactivities of the freeze-dried Amazonian palm berry’, Euterpe oleraceae mart. (acai). J Agric Food Chem. 1 November 2006; 54(22):8604-10.
  8. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, Harnack L, Hong CP, Nettleton JA, Jacobs DR Jr., ‘Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: A prospective study in postmenopausal women’. Am J Clin Nutr. March 2007;85(3):895-909.
  9. Erlund I, Koli R, Alfthan G, Marniemi J, Puukka P, Mustonen P, Mattila P, Jula A. ‘Favorable effects of berry consumption on platelet function, blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol’. Am J Clin Nutr. February 2008; 87(2):323-31.
  10. Ovensa Z, Vachalkova A, Horvathova K. ‘Taraxasterol and beta-sitosterol: New naturally compounds with chemoprotective / chemopreventative effects’. Neoplasma. 2004; 51(6): 407-414.

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