It’s hard to surf the web these days without seeing advertisements screaming the weight loss virtues of a new crop of ‘super berries.’ Acai and goji berries are just two of a recent wave of super fruits guaranteeing to do everything from preventing Alzheimer’s and cancer to treating heart disease and depression. But the claim you’re probably most interested in is their touted ability to help you lose weight. So, let’s look at the research: Do super fruits like acai and goji work?
One reason berries like acai and goji became so famous is their ‘ORAC’ value. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, which is a measurement of the antioxidant content of a given food. As you probably know, antioxidants are important disease-fighting compounds found predominantly in fruits and vegetables. Acai and goji berries are both touted as having very high ORAC values—much higher than traditional fruits. While it’s true that their ORAC levels are high, common fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and grapes also have very high ORAC levels.
What’s more, the ORAC value generally represents a measurement of the raw fruit, but the process of converting it into juices, powders, and capsules may impact the antioxidant content. In fact, a Men’s Journal study last year reported that one famous (and expensive) acai-containing juice scored lower than apple juice (which got a paltry score) on key antioxidants like anthocyanins and phenolics. (Welch’s grape juice and Tropicana orange juice scored far higher.)
Can ‘Super Berries’ Affect Your Weight?
So what about claims of weight loss? Along with their antioxidant content, these berries are said to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. However, there are no studies supporting weight loss claims, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has warned against bogus marketing claims and scams involving these super berries.
While increasing your dietary levels of antioxidants may be a good idea for your overall health, spending several dollars a bottle for a special or exotic juice or other supplement simply isn’t necessary, and likely won’t help you lose weight. Rely instead on eating more of a wide variety of the fresh fruits and vegetables you see at your local supermarket or farmer’s market.
A Better Weight-Loss Solution
The irony is that weight loss plans involving acai and goji nearly always involve ‘sensible eating and exercise.’ It’s no surprise, because this is the way to lose weight and keep it off. Ditch the berries, follow your Center for Medical Weight Loss plan, and stay active. Not an exotic solution—but one designed to work for you.
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