Acai Berry - Juice vs Powder

by Dr. S on November 15th, 2009

There have been many claims made about the "super food" benefits of acai berry from anti-cancer to weight-loss. These claims are made by savvy marketing gurus trying to sell their products or by multilevel marketing companies attempting to build their fortunes. However, these hyped up claims are not supported by evidenced based scientific research or academic studies. In other words, acai berry does not have magical or super powers, and is not a panacea for all ills including weight-loss. Nevertheless, acai berry does have antioxidant and phytonutrient qualities that merits explanation.

The antioxidant value or potency of acai berry and other foods is determined by assessing their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity known as ORAC value (higher ORAC values have greater antioxidant potency). Various spices, fruits/berries, chocolate (cocoa), herbs, grains/nuts, beans and vegetables have the highest ORAC values testes. The following is a condensed list noting ORAC values per 100 gram servings of each food. A more complete list can be found in my book or the USDA website.

1. Cloves, ground - 314,446 ORAC value
2. Cinnamon, ground - 267,536 ORAC value
3. Oregano, dried - 200,129 ORAC value
4. Turmeric, ground 159,277 ORAC value
5. Acai berry powder (freeze-dried) - 102,700 ORAC value
6. Cocoa, powder (unsweetened) - 80,933 ORAC value
7. Curry, powder - 48,504 ORAC value
8. Sage, fresh - 32,004 ORAC value
9. Yellow Mustard, seed 29,257 ORAC value
10. Ginger, ground 28,811 ORAC value

Acai berry juice (liquid) does not offer as much antioxidant protection as the freeze-dried acai powder. Researchers tested various berry and fruit juices as reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (2008). They noted that (highest to lowest) pomegranate juice > red wine > Concord grape juice > blueberry juice > black cherry juice = acai juice = cranberry juice > orange juice = green tea = white tea = apple juice. They concluded that when in liquid form, acai berry lost some of its antioxidant capacity as compared to other juices with pomegranate having 20% more antioxidant potency. However, in freeze-dried powder form, acai berry had the highest ORAC value of any other fruit or berry per 100 gram serving size as follows.

1. Acai berry powder (freeze-dried) - 102,700 ORAC value
2. Elderberries, raw - 14,697 ORAC value
3. Cranberries, raw - 9584 ORAC value
4. Black plums, with skin - 7581 ORAC value
5. Blueberries, raw - 6552 ORAC value
6. Red plums, with skin - 6259 ORAC value
7. Blackberries, raw - 5347 ORAC value
8. Raspberries, raw - 4882 ORAC value
9. Red apples, with skin - 4275 ORAC value
10. Strawberries, raw - 3577

When considering supplementing with acai berry, choose freeze-dried powder over juice formulations, and incorporate it as part of an overall well-balanced diet including organic whole-foods - and avoid processed foods and beverages. Moreover, remember that there is no magic pill or food, and losing body fat is best achieved when good lifestyle behaviors are followed - change your focus from losing weight to becoming healthy and fit, and body fat will come off as a consequence.

Dr. Sardone


Posted in not categorized    Tagged with acai berry, acai juice, acai powder, antioxidant, ORAC value


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