Acai: The Ponzi Berry?

Within the nutraceutical or dietary dietary supplements market, there may be by no means a scarcity of bandwagons. One of many loudest and largest has shaped behind açaí berries.

Harvested from a Brazilian palm, açaí (ah-SAH-ee) berries are a dietary staple in Brazil and have additionally been used medicinally by Amazonian tribes. Açaí juice was launched within the U.S. in 2001, and the export of açaí from Brazil has grown dramatically. Dozens of foods and drinks merchandise containing açaí are available on the market.

As a juice, pulp, powder or capsule, it’s marketed as a magic path to weight reduction, a wrinkle remover, a method to cleanse the physique of “toxins” and only a plain previous miracle remedy. It’s usually mixed with different substances, equivalent to glucosamine, in order that the claims for advantages multiply exponentially. Gives for açaí have flooded the nation’s e-mail bins. On the Web, you’ll discover a bouquet of endorsements from such celebrities as Oprah, Dr. Oz, Nicholas Perricone (the TV “pores and skin physician”) and Rachael Ray (the TV chef), plus statements by these identical celebrities denying any such endorsement, or a minimum of any endorsement of a specific model—besides that Dr. Perricone sells a model of his personal. Additionally, you will discover a disagreement amongst makers of açaí merchandise, each claiming security and effectiveness for its explicit formulation, and warning of scams by others.

Since açaí got here available on the market there have been just a few research pointing to potential advantages, which entrepreneurs usually point out. However many of the research have been executed in check tubes or animals, the outcomes of which can not apply to people. And the few small research in folks haven’t in contrast açaí to a placebo or different fruits. Like many different fruits, açaí berries are excessive in antioxidants (molecules that quell cell-damaging free radicals) and different attention-grabbing compounds. (The time period “antioxidant”, sadly, has turn into a gross sales software.) The Pure Normal, which evaluates analysis on various remedies, provides açaí solely a B grade for its antioxidant ranges.

There isn’t a convincing proof from research in people to assist the usage of açaí for any health-related goal, in accordance the Nationwide Middle for Complementary and Different Medication (a part of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being). As well as, there may be “little dependable details about the security of açaí as a complement,” it mentioned.

Client safety teams such because the Middle for Science within the Public Curiosity (CSPI) and the Higher Enterprise Bureau (BBB) have come out towards açaí entrepreneurs. “If Bernard Madoff had been within the meals enterprise,” mentioned a CSPI nutritionist, “he’d offer ‘free’ trials of açaí-based weight-loss merchandise.”

On-line adverts frequently promise a free trial, saying that every one it’s important to pay is delivery and dealing with. The catch is that you need to provide your bank card quantity, and also you’ll mechanically be signed up for $50 month-to-month shipments that doubtless will show onerous to cancel.

We urge you to not give your bank card quantity to anyone promoting açaí merchandise. A whole lot of complaints have been registered, and you might by no means get your a refund. Beware of internet sites warning you of açaí scams—removed from serving to you get your a refund, most grow to be simply gross sales pitches for extra açaí.

There isn’t a magic berry for weight reduction or good well being. Açaí berries are little question a great meals, like different berries, however why pay a fortune for them or dietary supplements containing them?

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