Acai Bowls: Keeping You Fit or Making You Fat?

acai calories

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:

  1. Planet Smoothie 18-oz Acai smoothie: 370 calories, 10 grams fat, 43 grams sugar
  2. Robek’s 14-0z Acai Especial Bowl: 385 calories, 5 grams fat, 69 grams sugar
  3. 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.

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