Ask Amelia Nutrition

Acai Bowls: Keeping You Fit or Making You Fat?

acai bowl 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? How many calories are in an acai bowl?

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.

*image taken from http://chicagoist.com/2009/01/09/acai_everywhere.php

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Alan Skyrme
    March 28, 2017 at 8:39 am

    What is sold outside of the Amazon Region as Acai is, as you say, more of an energetic smoothie. Having been freeze dried for export it is then processed with additives, including sugar, and thus loses its health benefits. The juice from these palm-based berries does not have a shelf life outside the point of origin, but as a staple food of the Amazon Region it does have significant benefits when freshly produced.

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