Acai is healthy, right?

Acai is healthy, right?

Acai Berries, wonder food?

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?

Acai Berries, healthy or not?

Is this Acai product good for you? Read the fine print!!!

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?

Chocolate covered acai ingredients list

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”:

  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. Fruit juice from concentrate
  3. Cane sugar
  4. Corn syrup
  5. Apple syrup
  6. Maltodextrin
  7. Pectin

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”:

Fruit Juice:

  • water
  • 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!!!!

28 thoughts on “Acai is healthy, right?”

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  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally,
    it seems as though you relied on the video to make your
    point. You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us
    something informative to read?

  3. I am extremely sorry to have to post something unrelated to the topic of this post, but I have no idea how to get in contact with you otherwise. In a 2010 video, you appear to have had a shoulder injury requiring surgery. Yet, two weeks later your were out of your sling and back to training. I happen to have rotator cuff pain, and most forums stated that if rehab is required that would make me unable to workout for several months. I can’t personally, I would be depressed if I didn’t workout. Could you tell me how your rehab went? How did you live that period? What problem did you have? I’m really sad right now, I can’t imagine myself away from the gym more than three days. Thank you for your time.

    1. On the left side bar there’s a menu that says “medical problems” click on that and it’ll say “injuries”

      If I could take a stab at what scooby would say, it would be “do whatever you can except workout that shoulder as not working out the shoulder for 3 months isn’t nearly as bad as never using it again”

  4. I bought these damn things too, and felt ripped off when instead of a berry in the center I found goo. I read labels normally, but was dupped. Amazing how well advertisers and product designers can manipulate us.

  5. Alright scooby, I have 17% body fat at 76kg, my fitness is just below average, and this is to day 1 of beginning my new nutrition/exercise regime. 10% calorie reduction, and I hope to bulk up a little whilst losing my belly fat. I promise you that I will return with results, even if it takes years. If you have any starting advice for me that would be great

  6. I would never bother looking at a product like that, but what really annoys me here in the UK is all the ‘Fruit & Fibre’ type cereals, which lots of people eat thinking they are really healthy when there is actually quite a lot of sugar in them. And then there are all the granola cereals, which have a horrendous sugar content, far more than some of the ‘unhealthy’ cereals aimed at children.

    Anyway, thanks for the post Scoobs, I end up checking your homepage multiple times a day hoping for something interesting to read or watch ^_^

    1. Sounds like you have been watching BBC programs. Yes most cereals are loaded with sugar. Even bran flakes. Muesli etc. I hate the nutritional values because the advertisers work it out for a 30 gram portion. We all know what theyre up to. 30 gram portion cant even feed a cat never mind a human. So we have to allways add up the actual cals ourselves. Damn companies make you think stuff is healthy when it is not.

    1. Of course! The whole point of this post was to show people that simply having “Acai” in the name does NOT make the product healthy! The product discussed here is really CANDY with a touch of Acai for flavor.

    1. I would love that! Currently, our labels have to show the percent of calories from fat but I would love to see them add a requirement that they show the percent of calories from sugars (all sources)

  7. Scooby, this is one of your best. It is educational and informative.

    It is a timely reminder that we should look carefully at the food labels to know what it is we are purchasing for ourselves and families.

    Thank you for making time in your day to post it.

  8. I never read ingredient labels until I discovered I had celiac disease. What an eye opener. I couldn’t even pronounce some of the ingredients I saw in processed foods. Eating mostly non-processed foods is easier and better for you in the long run. It’s all proper nutrition…what you eat AND what you absorb. Thanks for another great article, Scooby. You rock, man.

    1. My detailed label reading also started when my wife was diagnosed with coeliac disease. It takes alot longer to do a shop but you do get to learn alot more about what companies actually put in food. Sometimes you wonder why the stuff is in there in the first place.

  9. True story. When I find it hard to read the labels or just can’t find them I leave the product behind. By the way, what do you think of Sunwarrior’s proteins? I can’t find no info. You are the best Scooby, thank you so much for doing what the educational system failed to do – educate.

    1. The açai that most people are talking about is a berry that comes from the açai palm, a plant that originates in Central and South America. Regarding whether or not it’s healthy, I can say that there is a lot of misunderstanding out there. Most of the claims that it has powerful antioxidant properties are just anecdotal. I don’t know of any controlled scientific studies that have shown açai to have any specific health benefits beyond what you would find from other fruits.

      That isn’t to say it’s BAD for you by any means… it’s just similar to a lot of other, more “conventional” fruits you see on the market. In fact, blueberries have a higher raw antioxidant content than açai berries do.

      In terms of powerful antioxidants/anti-inflammatories, I would suggest researching some things like turmeric/curcumin (as it has at least had more promising results from scientific study), etc. Sorry for not being Scoob, by the way, but I felt the need to respond with what understanding I do have. Cheers!

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