Is it possible in this age of weight loss miracles to remain unschooled in the fabled Acai Berry? Probably not.
The diminutive fruit has become a rash all over the internet, including the litany of benefits claimed by the promoters of Acai berry products. Most of us are, by now, familiar with such headlines as “How I Lost 30 Pounds in Under 30 Days Using The Acai Berry” [pure nonsense].
How much truth lies behind these remarkable diet claims [pronounced ah sigh ee]? Very little indeed. Notwithstanding the craze this tropical fruit spawned a decade ago – a craze that led an inevitable profit stampede – there is no evidence that Acai berry is anything more than a healthy, natural food.
Fact and reason, however, rarely count for much against something that is ‘in’, or better still.. ‘cool’.
In fact Acai berry is Super Cool. It lives in the tops of palm trees that are found only in the depths of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, and is widely believed to be chock-full of magical health benefits.
Nowadays anything Amazon is, at least, cool. Popular culture has awed us with its mysteries, and taught us to revere its treasures of health and medical secrets. What could resonate more strongly in the popular mind than an overweight/health quick-fix from nature’s own dispensary.. especially one with the wholehearted endorsement of celebrities. Such miracles are not to be dismissed out of hand.. or are they!
In retrospect the ‘superfood’ status was assured for Acai when word of its exotic heritage spread in the 1990s, quickly building to critical mass, then igniting an explosion that still echos across the fad diet world.
It would take Herculean effort to enumerate the Acai berry lies, nonsense, bogus sites, and ripoffs that now pollute the internet. One particularly irksome example is a story by “health and diet writer Julia Miller of the News 7 team”, whom, we are told, undertook to “test” the fabled fruit, and then claimed to lose 30 lbs in 28 days. Her particular fix was “acai + colon cleanse + liquiboost = weight loss”.
This same story appears, in different flavors, on several phony health news sites. A few examples: news6health.com, news7health.com, news8health.com, news5reports.com, weeklyhealthusa.org, healthnews5.net, news6reports.co.uk, dailyhealthalerts.com. Some of these sites have similar names and appearance, and ascribe to “Julia Miller” stock images that clearly depict different women.
Other sites attribute a similar story to phantom female reporters with various names and faces.
This alone should be a clear warning to consumers that these sites are fraudulent.
Not surprisingly, I could find no evidence that “Julia Miller” exists. It is probably safe to say that she, like the others, is an invented personality, a marketing tool used to gull people with phony reports of Acai berry health benefits. The scenario is disturbingly familiar.
What, then, can truthfully be said about Acai berry diet mania?
1. No scientific study backs Acai berry diet testimonials, or any of the health claims of promoters.
2. Most independent experts agree that no credible evidence suggests extraordinary health or weight loss benefits from use of any Acai berry product.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI], a respected consumer advocacy group, notes the following: “there is no evidence, whatsoever, that Acai berry can promote weight loss, flatten tummies, cleanse colons, enhance libido, or perform any of the commonly claimed functions”.
For me an ongoing concern is how to alert consumers to these diet/weight loss frauds, and to the predators who profit from them