Acai is healthy, right?
Acai has been all the rage the last few years because of its anti-oxidant properties so this Acai product is good for you, right? Products like the one pictured line the shelves of nearly every store taking advantage of consumers interest in being healthy and getting anti-oxidants. So, its good for you, right? Think again! Look at the label of this product, it shows beautiful, ripe berries and the label touts “Dark Chocolate ACAI Blueberry”. Sounds wonderful, healthy Acai berries covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate … or is that what we are buying here?
Most people would buy this product without reading any further but they would be fooled! Note that the title also has the word “Blueberry” in it although its not as big. Lets keep reading. Note the small print at the bottom of the label, it says “Dark chocolate surrounding a sweetened real fruit juice piece”. Holy cow! Not only is it not an Acai berry that the chocolate surrounds but its sweetened fruit juice. Note, its not even sweetened Acai juice but “fruit juice” and its sweetened, as if the chocolate didnt already add enough sugar. Now at this point, the smart shopper is thinking to themselves, how much Acai is actually in this product. Acai is in bold on the label and its the Acai berry’s antioxidant properities I am interested in so how much Acai is actually in this?
Acai Berries, healthy? Read the nutritional label!!! By US law, ingredients have to be listed percentage order with the dominant ingredient first and the trace ingredients last. The first thing you notice from this list of ingredients is how hard it is to read. Some ingredients are broken down into sub ingredients listed in parenthesis which makes it read like a novel. At first pass, lets skip the parenthesis. Here are the ingredients of the “Dark Chocolate ACAI Blueberry”:
- Dark Chocolate
- Fruit juice from concentrate
- Cane sugar
- Corn syrup
- Apple syrup
Little trick here. Note that chocolate is the most prominent ingredient but fruit juice is the second, its not THAT bad, right? Think again! Note ingredients 3, 4, 5, and 6 – they are all sugars. Why do you suppose they added four kinds of sugar rather than just one? Easy! Because if they just had one kind of sugar it would be the most prominent ingredient in the product and it would have to be listed first! Who would but a “health product” whose first ingredient was SUGAR? You gotta be a dectective!
Now back to the question at hand. How much Acai is there actually in this product? Well, the only place it can be is in the fruit juice which is the second ingredient. Lets look at what is in the parenthesis behind the “Fruit juice”:
- Acai juice concentrate
- Blueberry juice concentrate
- Raspberry juice concentrate
- Pomegranate juice concentrate
- Apple juice concentrate
- Cranberry juice concentrate
- Elderberry juice concentrate
- Lemon juice concentrate
So thats quite a list of juices, why do you suppose there are so many? For their exquisite flavors? Hardly! Remember that by law you have to put the most prominent ingredient first but Acai is really expensive so how can you put Acai as the first ingredient in the juices without having to put in very much? You guessed it! Add lots of other juices. As long as their is more Acai juice than the other seven juices listed they can put Acai as the first in the list even though only slightly more than 1/8 of the juice is from Acai! Quite devious isnt it??
So lets take an educated guess at how much Acai is really in this product. Chocolate is the number 1 ingredient, lets say 40% of the product is chocolate. The sugars (ingredients 3,4,5,6) are probably another 40% of the product. That leaves about 20% for the juices. Of the juices, about 1/8 is from Acai. So 1/8 of 20% of this product is Acai, or about 2.5%.
So there is your answer. This wonderful healthy product named “Dark Chocolate ACAI Blueberry” has only 2.5% Acai in it!!! How many people are chowing down these sugar bombs, getting fat while thinking they are doing something good for their health???
You MUST learn to read nutritional labels carefully!!!!