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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beware of Acai berry scams!

Do you know this woman? Oh sure, she's that girl who lost all of that weight on the Acai berry diet, right? WRONG. According to Nutrition Action newsletter (see Nutrition Action's Press Release ), she is a beautiful young German model named Julia. This is the original picture that was digitally altered in order to create those amazing "after" pictures where she looks so thin.

Don't take my (or their) word for it. Her portfolio is available online here, and if you look through it, you'll find the original versions of all the pictures you may have seen on ads and even as the supposed author of over 70 fake blogs touting Acai berry products, each calling her by a different name and giving her a different history.

Well, wait a second, what about Oprah, and Dr. Oz, and Rachel Ray, and others? Didn't they recommend Acai berry products? Not at all! Dr. Oz mentioned Acai berry in a long list of healthy foods (such as tomatoes, blueberries, and broccoli) in an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show. Rachael Ray never discussed Acai at all. In fact, it was a guest on her show who mentioned an Acai berry drink. All three have made public statements condemning the unauthorized use of their images and names.

We had a discussion about Acai berry on Gyminee last month and one of the "Pro" members shared the following response:

I’ve had this fruit quite alot since a large part of my friends and extended family are brasilian (and i just came back from there earlier this year, hehehe). I’ve never heard them touting the weight loss benefits of it, mostly it’s eaten like a treat and said to have a sort of boost in energy effect.

Also, Brasilians don’t eat it in a processed juice or packaged. The most common and best way I’ve had it is “açai na tigela.” where they freeze the fruit and sprinkle banana slices and granola on top.

If you’re really interested in the fruit, I bet açai na tigela is probably less calories and healthier for you. At worst, they add a bit of chocolate syrup on top and serve it as a desert mmmmmmmmm!

Interesting perspective, for sure!

If you're still curious about Acai berry, I highly suggest you buy pills or juice (or frozen berries) from a reputable local store. (My sister decided to try it out and picked up some pills for a reasonable price at our local GNC.) But in my opinion, you should stop looking for your weight loss answer in a miracle pill or a single super food, because none of them will help you be healthier, happier, and more fit over the long-term. You'll be better off saving your money and sticking to a well-balanced diet of whole foods.


  1. Every day I google 'acai berry' on the google blog search, yours is the first I have found actually giving a realistic view on it!

    It is such a shame that the market and blog touts pushing this berry as a weight loss supplement are giving it such a bad name, there are many nutritional benefits when it is coupled with a great diet but that will all fade in to insignificance thanks to people exploiting it on the dieting market.

  2. Laura, I agree! Acai certainly seem like they are at least as healthy as blueberries, and potentially much more, but all of the false marketing will certainly turn people off. Frozen acai berries sound like a wonderful and tasty treat, don't they? Glad to put out something honest for the google bots to pick up on!