Eat Acai berries and you’ll be thin, have energy, be cancer-free, see and sleep well and have one heck of an immune system.
Those claims had Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wondering.
So, in keeping with what he has done with other miracle-claiming stuff you swallow (like the Airborne cold busting pill), he’s investigating to pair out questionable science.
“There is no competent scientific research that demonstrates any of the claimed effects of Acai berry, including weight loss, detoxification and increased energy and vitality,” Blumenthal said.
He also claims that some companies selling Acai berry products have improperly charged consumer credit cards. After promising 14-day “free trials” of Acai berry products, the companies often make it virtually impossible for consumers to cancel the trial, resulting in charges to consumer credit cards ranging anywhere from $59 to $89, he said.
“There are no magical berries from the Brazilian rainforest that cure obesity -- only painfully real credit card charges and empty weight loss promises,” Blumenthal said. “Aggressive Acai berry pitches on the Internet entice countless consumers into free trials promising weight loss, energy and detoxification. These claims are based on folklore, traditional remedies and outright fabrications -- unproven by real scientific evidence.”
David Schardt, senior nutritionist for Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, “If Bernard Madoff were in the food business, he’d be offering ‘free’ trials of Açai-based weight-loss products. Law enforcement has yet to catch up to these rogue operators. Until they do, consumers have to protect themselves.”
Acai is often advertised as having up to 30 times the anthocyanin content of red wine, or 10 times the antioxidant content found in red grapes, the Times Picayune reports. These numbers are for the freeze-dried acai berry, though, which can skew antioxidant test results.
When a freeze-dried fruit is compared to a fresh one, concentrated powder will always yield a higher antioxidant score, because it doesn't have much water to dilute the antioxidant content, the newspaper reports.