Acai Berries: Miracle Fruit or Miracle of Marketing?

by admin on September 26, 2012

What do acai berries have that other fruits don’t? A good marketing strategy may be the answer.

The açaí berry is a round, small, purplish-black fruit that looks like a small purple grape. Açaí fruit skin and pulp and is full of anthocyanins; but, anthocyanins describe only ten percent of the fruit’s antioxidant capacity.  The berries are marketed for carrying 12 acai flavanols, including scoparin, homoorientin, taxifolin, orientin, isovitexin, and deoxyhexose, along with proanthocyanidins, and a small amount resveratrol . The problem is that many studies report that the acai berry contains significantly lower levels of proanthocyanadins, anthocyanins, and other polyphenol compounds when pitted against  blueberries and many additional antioxidant-rich fruits.

Several research studies have been done to determine the antioxidant capacity of other pure fruit juices or fruit pulp in contrast to açaí juice blends. 3 popular juices were contrasted for antioxidant capacity and compared to 6 kinds of 100% fruit juice, tea, red wine, and pomegranate juice. The results were that the acai juice was lower than pomegranate juice, blueberry juice, Concord grape juice, and red wine. In fact it was basically the same as cranberry juice or black cherry juices which are often much cheaper. It was higher in antioxidants than tea, orange juice, and apple juice.

So, while Acai berries have great antioxidant health benefits, they do not appear to have a higher benefit than many other fruits and certainly do not rise to the claims of being a miracle. The only miracle seems to be that marketers have convinced people to pay many times what the fruit is worth for “miracle cure” supplements.

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