What do I think of açai­?

I’m often asked about açai, the latest miracle fruit that is supposed to cure whatever ails you.

If this is a miracle, it’s one that must be enjoyed by the company that makes MonaVie brand açai, which sells for about $40 a bottle.  I had heard about açai and was not overly impressed.  But then I got an e-mail from a MonaVie enthsiast who was so convinced of its benefits that he sent me the research…

Here’s one of the studies. It looks formidible but its conclusions are simple.  In translation: MonaVie contains antioxidants.  The antioxidants in MonaVie act like antioxidants in the test tube and in the body, and they work better than potato starch, which has no antioxidants. Why am I not surprised? This is a study sponsored by the manufacturer.

You can read about this study and the rest of fuss over this juice in the March 12 New York Times. It’s in the Style Section (where else?).  The bottom line: all juices have antioxidants and most are a lot cheaper than MonaVie.

As for weight-loss claims: This month’s Nutrition Action Healthletter explains how to analyze Internet advertising, using açai as an example of truth-bending.

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Dr. Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

She is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism and What to Eat.

Her most recent book is Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, published by University of California Press in 2008.

You can read her Food Politics blog here:



Please let us know what you think about this article. All comments will be moderated before being posted publicly.


  1. Anonymous says

    I know that whenever I drink acai juice, I feel better. I have more energy, and feel more balanced overall, which is important for those like me with Type II diabetes.

    Acai juice is quite potent in it’s many forms, and one does not have to pay $40 to get good quality juice. Many supermarkets and natural food store carry lots of delicious blends.

  2. Anonymous says

    When calling for any products from an infomercial watch out for auto shipping and the clubs that come at the end of an order Auto shipping is a scam in and of it’s self I have a friend that works in the industry and he tells me the following

    1. Whether it is internet or a phone sale the auto ship is explained however it is never clear. They are trained to gloss over auto ships and just meet the FCC guidelines that keep them out of court.
    2. This is true only for the 800 number call operators are standing by calls STAY AWAY FROM THE FREE OFFERS AT THE END OF THE CALL (Called Clubs). They are trained to try and lull you in by using a very monotone voice and at the end of the statement saying “OK” real brightly. People they are reading you a CONTRACT and it IS binding The best way to not mess with these is as soon as they start hang up!!


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  3. Anonymous says

    It does not surprise be one bit, the study sponsored by the manufacturer, in conclusion whether Acai works or not is a ? mark, but they sure learned from Big-Pharma when it comes to tests, always saying yey when in actuality is nay, JAM

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