The Truth Behind Acai Claims

Excerpt from Hanna Kroeger

What if we told you we found one ingredient that could provide you with amazing weight loss results, cure back pain, increase your energy level instantly, heal your arthritis, combat premature aging, promote cardiovascular and digestive health, regenerate muscle growth, cure chronic illness and inflammation all while providing more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries and with the safe kick of coffee? Would you line up at the door to get a sample?

That’s what has been, and is happening, with the trend of the little “superfruit” known as Acai (ah-sigh-ee). Unless you haven’t watched TV, listened to the radio, been on the web, or around the general public for that matter, you have heard about acai. Virtually unknown outside of Brazil until about 10 years ago, acai has made a major wave in the industry recently with enticing claims of cures and benefits while riding on the coat tails of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Taking advantage of this wave of popularity are a number of companies providing acai in pill form, powder, freeze-dried, juice and even a frozen pulp smoothie blend. Free trials are offered on the internet and commercials to provide consumers with the “best” choice within the crowded acai market.

We thought we would dig around, now that the hype of the introduction of the superfruit is dying down, and were surprised at what we found. Beyond the miracle drug claims being made by companies about their particular brand of acai, what we found interesting was the indecisiveness of companies manufacturing products containing the fruit. One website claims you must ingest the roots while another stated that any product containing root of the acai plant was bogus. Some say the formula you ingest must be frozen to attain the benefits of the fruit while others say that isn’t the case at all, benefits can be attained through a small dose of acai powder. Who is right here?

Acai saw its most prominent soar in popularity sometime around 2006 when health claims beyond our wildest imaginations were being made. Oprah spoke with Dr. Mehmet Oz on her television show about the superfruit and almost overnight, a star was born. Good Morning America aired a segment called “Then vs. Now: The Next Big Thing for 2006” where they compared the immediate popularity of pomegranate with what was expected of acai. The fruit gained momentum and the attention of companies who used the curiosity of consumers to make a fast buck. Sadly, many consumers fell for it.

While acai no doubt has health benefits, it cannot hold up to the claims that lured so many into purchasing it. Last month The American Herbal Products Association used Oprah as an example of the branding of acai in their recent article “Strange Fruit-The Rise and Fall of Acai.” The article revealed the strange coupling of this superfruit with shady marketing claims. Beyond the confusion of companies recommending the fruit in powder/puree/pill/juice/freeze-dried/with or without roots, there is confusion as to who exactly is backing these claims anymore. Suits were filed against major manufacturers of acai productsby Oprah and Dr. Oz; apparently those 2 no longer wish to be associated with the downward spiral acai has experienced lately.  Even the New Yorker, who once touted the potential benefits of the superfruit, soon changed their tune from super to “strangefruit.”

Through our research on claims versus truths of acai, we found the spin placed on side effects associated with some of the products available online to be very interesting. One website went so far as to say that even though the side effects may feel negative, you have to consider them as positive instead.  For example: Don’t think of the edgy feeling and increased heart rate as bad! Use it as motivation to work out harder and burn more calories! Don’t be alarmed at the sudden decrease in appetite! The product is so high in fiber, you won’t need to eat and you’ll lose weight even faster!

It is not my intention to portray acai as a money stealing devil, I’m sure there are many people worldwide enjoying the antioxidant benefits of it. Acai as a fruit has done nothing wrong; it’s the marketing of the berry that’s to blame here.  My intention with this post is to outline the dangers that come along with hopping on a “band wagon” for a miracle drug from companies making false claims. Some manufacturers use unadulterated, pure formulas to provide the best product possible but may not be shouting from the rooftops like those attempting to hook you with a free trail and empty promises. Too often consumers don’t take the time to consider the truths behind enticing claims and become a part of a scam in hopes of finding some relief from their pains and ills. Trust is such an important issue in relationships and consumer to business relationships are no different. Trust is earned and we understand that. We are happy to be purveyors of products that we truly believe in, to stock our shelves with companies we truly trust and to offer you the very best in natural health.

Above all remember these things: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If it claims to cure everything under the sun, odds are it can’t. Be wary of deception and know what you are putting in your body.  There are no miracle drugs or instant fixes, just good decisions on your part and help from companies who are trustworthy.