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Acai berries have been all the rage lately and making headlines everywhere for everything from curing cancer to losing weight. Can they really cure cancer and, even more importantly, can they help you lose weight?
What is the basis for all of the buzz? The basis of the claims seem to center around the high anti-oxidant levels found in the acai berry. One of the natural by-products of digestion and metabolism is the production of what are called "free radicals". These are incomplete molecules that are missing an electron and roam around trying to find another molecule they can get one from. Free radicals are "free" because they float around until they get another molecule, and they're called "radical" because there are a wide variety of molecules that they can take an electron from. This is reputed to cause many health problems from diseases to old age itself. Anti-oxidants are good because they repair the damage caused by these free radicals.
There are many common foods that contain these anti-oxidants in abundant supply. Berries, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic and red grapes are all rich sources. With so many easily attainable foods that provide anti-oxidants why suddenly all the hype about an exotic, relatively unknown source like acai berries? The common themes that seem to run through most of the claims are that acai berries help to burn fat faster while cutting down on feelings of hunger, torquing up your metabolism and flushing your body of all the toxins that are preventing your body from being young and beautiful.
Acai berry supplements are over-the-counter supplements that don't have to pass the rigorous testing and clinical trials that prescription drugs and medications do. In the United States, there is far less regulation for these kinds of supplements and manufacturers and marketers have a lot more leeway in making claims that may or may not be supported by evidence.
Monounsaturated fat or MUFA is found in acai berries and is a healthy alternative to polyunsaturated fat or trans fat. MUFA can help make you feel fuller and is known to lessen inflammation, cholesterol and breast cancer. MUFA is also found in olives, sunflower oil and dark chocolate which are all cheaper than acai berries.
One thing to be wary of are the many web sites that offer free trials of acai berry weight loss products. In 2009 the Center for Science in the Public Interest published a report warning consumers not to fall for supposedly free trials of diet supplements made with acai berries. According to CSPI, "There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that acai pills will help shed pounds, flatten tummies, cleanse colons, enhance sexual desire, or perform any of the other commonly advertised functions. And thousands of consumers have had trouble stopping recurrent charges on their credit cards when they cancel their free trials".
Take a look at HealthyLiving411.com for more articles on anti inflammation foods, secrets of nutrition and super-charging your diet with omega 3 fish oil supplements.