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Does acaihelp withweight loss?

Asked by Joy Han, New York

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I have heard and read very much about acai berry and still am very skeptical of its effects and the success stories. I would like to know whether you would recommend it to your patients who are interested in weight loss.

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Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis Physician Nutrition Specialist

Expert answer

Hi Joy. I have received this question several times and although I answered it briefly last year, I think it is worth addressing again. The acai berry has received a great deal of press for being a superfruit and the latest tool in the battle against obesity.

Unfortunately, while the acai berry is a very good antioxidant and contains disease-fighting phytonutrients, including the powerful anthocyanins, which are also present in red wine, there is no evidence linking the acai berry to weight loss. In fact, many of the juice products that contain acai are also loaded with sugar, which could impair weight loss if consumed in excess.

Acai supplements, as with all other supplements, are not well regulated, so there is no guarantee of potency or strength as far as nutritional benefits go either. The only role that antioxidants like acai may play in obesity is in helping combat the low-grade inflammation that is often associated with obesity, but they will not help you lose weight and any antioxidant rich, nutrient-dense food will do the same. If you want to try acai as an antioxidant, there is no downside, except perhaps to your pocketbook, but you will probably get the same benefits from eating any berry on a regular basis or simply eating a diet rich in deeply colored fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

For more information on the scams associated with this berry, see this previous article on CNNHealth.

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