Question: What’s the skinny on acai bowls? I’ve had about a million of them over the past 6 weeks and am not looking like a runway model yet. Are they really that healthy?
Answer: Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is a Brazilian berry that caught the attention of Americans a few years ago for being the most “antioxidant-packed fruit on earth.” Supplement stores started carrying acai powders and capsules, private companies began selling ultra-expensive acai juices, and smoothie shops all over the country added “Acai bowls” – blended fruit smoothies with acai pulp and honey, topped with sliced bananas and granola – to their menus.
So is Acai really the miracle food people (including Oprah) claim it to be? Well, sure it’s healthy, but so are all berries and other bold-colored fruits and vegetables. The best way to get your antioxidants is by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, not one fruit in particular.
Furthermore, though Acai bowls are tasty, they’re really just enormous-portioned smoothies with high-calorie toppings. Check out a few of the stats:
- Planet Smoothie 18-oz Acai smoothie: 370 calories, 10 grams fat, 43 grams sugar
- Robek’s 14-0z Acai Especial Bowl: 385 calories, 5 grams fat, 69 grams sugar
- Jamba Juice power size Acai Super Antioxidant: 560 calories, 7 grams fat, 92 grams sugar
While an Acai bowl is fine as an occasional treat, it’s certainly not something you want to eat regularly for its antioxidant properties. Instead, eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and if you’re hankering for a smoothie, make one at home so that you can control the ingredients.
*image taken from http://chicagoist.com/2009/01/09/acai_everywhere.php