Açaí berries: From the sexy diacritical marks and uncertain pronunciation to the Amazonian rainforest provenance to the claims that açaí will make you skinny, beautiful, healthy, and basically immortal, it's hard to believe that the shiny purple fruit wasn't actually dreamt up by a major corporation's PR team in order to exploit our gullibility as consumers. More than $106 million was spent on açaí last year, Nicholas Perricone sells an açaí supplement, Mehmet Oz endorses açaí, and Oprah, Sumner Redstone, and Rachael Ray have all been reported to be fans at one time or another. Is it any surprise to learn that there's scarcely any scientific evidence for the multitudinous benefits that have been touted?
One Harvard nutritionist, looking at the results of one small study where açaí triggered an increase in "blood antioxidant capacity," pointed out that this only revealed "the immediate effects of consuming açaí pulp and juice," but "did not demonstrate that consuming açaí pulp lead to any health outcomes, let alone weight loss." Come to think of it, we probably could have ascertained that just by considering Oprah's current weight.
"There is currently no scientific research to support a weight loss claim for açaí fruit," said another professor of food chemistry, who believed that companies selling açaí products are "doing nothing more than playing on consumer ignorance." Which, in a marketplace where advertisers wouldn't dream of making up impressively biological sounding words, concocting pseudosciency visuals, or purporting to discover a miracle substance in the molecules of a rare algae at the bottom of a lake in a place you've never heard of, is nothing short of disgraceful.