Will Acai Help Me Lose Weight?

Emily Hartman and Langan Denhard

Many sellers of health foods and supplements claim that the acai (AH-sah-EE) berry will help you lose weight. Dieters beware: these claims are false. Ads promising weight loss have been spotted on popular social networking sites and search engines. Before you give out your credit card number, read on!

The acai palm produces a very small berry that is found in South and Central America. It has become popular in the United States over the last few years. While there are plenty of good things about the fruit, make no mistake-there are no special properties that make you suddenly or quickly lose weight. Acai does have antioxidants-a substance our bodies need-but no more than cranberries or cherries, and less than blueberries, pomegranate, and grapes.1

Here are some tips that have been scientifically proven to help you lose weight:

  • Exercise on a regular basis-most days of the week
  • Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals
  • Start each day off with breakfast
  • Get enough sleep (at least 7-9 hours)

It is important to remember that if a product claims fast weight loss, either the product is risky or the claims are false.  Federal regulators from the Federal Trade Commission filed temporary restraining orders in April 2011 against six online marketers who participated in the scam—the accused have all since ceased online advertising. More than simply advertising these false claims, the online marketers created websites that masqueraded as a legitimate news source.

Healthy, safe weight loss consists of losing no more than two pounds per week-that’s 7,000 fewer calories consumed than burned off each week, since one pound equals 3,500 calories.  Weight loss at the rate of .5 to 2 pounds per week is more likely to be permanent.  Several of the marketers promised buyers a weight-loss of 25 pounds in 4 weeks.  That’s the equivalent of 6.25 pounds, or 21,875 calories burned, per week. If acai really were a miracle weight loss product, there would be no obesity epidemic in the United States! So please, use your better judgment next time you are tempted to buy an acai weight loss product.

1. Navindra P. Seeram, Michael Aviram, Yanjun Zhang, Susanne M. Henning, Lydia Feng, Mark Dreher, David Heber. Comparison of Antioxidant Potency of Commonly Consumed Polyphenol-Rich Beverages in the United States. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008 56 (4), 1415-1422.