Wonder Berry?

You see the ads everywhere: Acai berry supplement! Amazing weight loss aid, as seen on “Oprah”! The commercials say the berry will help you lose weight faster and give you more energy. So what’s the real scoop on this “super food”?

ABC’s Susan Donaldson James reported on her experiences (she didn’t experience any special weight loss benefits) with diet powders made from the berry, a dark purple fruit that grows on acai (pronounced a-sigh-e) palm trees, last December. When she interviewed Dr. Mehmet Oz, he told her: “Listen, acai seems to be as good as any other (good food), not better.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a national organization that seeks to educate the public on nutrition, food safety, health and other issues, recently advised consumers to avoid acai berry weight-loss supplements. According to the center, the antioxidant levels present in acai juice are pretty average. Acai berry juice has lower antioxidant levels than Concord grape, blueberry and black cherry juices, but more than cranberry, orange and apple juices.

Maria Spicer, a registered dietician who teaches classes on nutrition at Florida State University, further warns: “There hasn’t been a recommendation for an effective dose. Also, since there’s no regulation, the contents that are in the different supplements that are sold are not the same.”

In a nutshell, while the acai berry is a nutritious food, it’s no miracle worker.

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