Are All Acai Supplements Created Equal?
In our last article we learned the good news - Acai can be freeze dried into a powder that
retains all the nutrients of fresh Acai. That powder can then be put into capsules to give you a convenient
freeze dried superfood in a capsule. Does that mean that all the Acai supplements on the market
are equal? Of course not - nothing is ever that easy. Let's learn why…
Freeze Dried Acai - simply the best
There are cheaper ways to make Acai powder. There are quicker and easier ways to make Acai powder. However, the
best way to make Acai powder is to freeze dry. The freeze dried process which Earthfruits uses
is low heat, introduces no carry agents and retains all the nutrients of the Acai berry.
As we stated in the last article, 1 gram of Earthfruit freeze dried power
is equal to about 7 grams of fresh Acai berry. 100 grams of fresh Acai has an impressive antioxidant
rating of 5,500 ORAC score but 100 grams of freeze dried Earthfruits Acai powder has an amazing ORAC score of over 70,000!
What about Spray Dried Acai supplements?
There is a much cheaper way to process Acai and make Acai supplements - it
is called spray dried Acai. The Spray Dried process involves heating the Acai to high temperatures to remove the
water and spraying the Acai with carries such as maltodextrin.
To put it bluntly - spray dried Acai is a terrible idea!
The first problem with the spray dried process is that it requires heating the Acai
to very high temperatures. The problem is that the high temperatures kill off many of the
nutrients in the Acai. The second problem is that the spray dried process involves
using a carrier agents such as maltodextrin to dry the Acai. In the end, 40% of
the "Acai powder" is actually maltodextrin. So, if you see a spray dried Acai supplement that claims to
have 500mg of Acai per capsule - it probably only has 300mg of actual Acai per capsule.
Spray dried Acai powders, while cheap to buy, are vastly inferior to freeze dried Acai powders.
Can I just look for Maltodextrin on the label of Acai products?
You can look - but you will never find it! Since Maltodextrin is added during the manufacturing process, it
technically does not need to be listed as an ingredient on the label. It is just a loophole in the
FDA labeling laws, but since Maltodextrin is a product of the manufacturing process and not
an "added ingredient" - it does NOT need to be listed on the label.
If a Acai supplement does not say "Freeze Dried Acai" on the label - we would not recommend it.
What about Acai Extracts - like 4:1 Acai Extract?
With herbal supplements, extracts involve isolating one element of the plant and extracting it. For example,
with the coffee bean plant you may want to create a caffeine extract. This would involve isolating
the caffeine in the coffee berry and extracting.
When it comes to Acai - extracts make no sense. The health value of the Acai berry comes
from the whole fruit. As we discussed in the Nutritional Value of Acai article, there
are many positive nutrients in the Acai berry. So, what exactly do you want to extract from
the Acai berry? In truth, you want the whole Acai berry - not just an extract.
The other issue with extracts is that almost all are made from spray dried Acai. The only thing
worse than spray dried Acai is an extract of spray dried Acai. It should then come as no
surprise that the ORAC value of Freeze Dried Acai has tested
50 times as high as that of spray dried Acai extracts.
Don't let phrases like "4:1" and "super concentrated extract" fool you. You want all
the nutrients of the whole Acai berry, and you can only get this
in freeze dried Acai powder.
When does an extract equal a concentrate?
Extracts and concentrates SHOULD be two different things, but in the world of supplements the two terms
are sometimes mistakenly interchanged. Some Acai companies say that their 4:1 Extract means that 4 grams of Acai
pulp are used to make 1 gram of Acai powder. The correct term for this would be a concentrate - not extract.
Even assuming that a company that advertises Acai 4:1 Extract means Acai 4:1 Concentrate - this is still not very impressive.
Perfect Acai, the brand we recommend uses a 7 to 1 concentrate of Acai pulp
to powder. Gram per gram, 50% more Acai is used to make Perfect Acai than 4:1 Acai powders.
When does Acai lose 90% of its Nutritional Content?
When a company uses the Acai Seed in their Acai product!
The Acai berry is 90% seed, with only 10% of the berry edible. In the Amazon Rainforest, they eat the skin and pulp
of the Acai berry and discard the seed. All the research and nutritional information we discuss is based on just
the Acai berry skin and pulp. When you hear Dr. Perricone, Dr. Oz and every other expert discuss the amazing nutritional profile
of the Acai berry - they are talking about just the skin and pulp.
Companies that make legitimate Acai products use only the Acai skin and pulp (of course the
Perfect Acai uses only the skin and pulp).
These companies have come up with
creative uses for the Acai seed - they make Acai necklaces and even burn the seeds as a renewable energy source. The one thing
that no legitimate Acai supplier would ever do is crush the Acai seeds and sell them as juice or supplement.
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a number of companies are selling Acai products that contain the Acai seed. These
products therefore contain 90% less Acai (as defined by the edible portion) than Acai products that use only the skin and pulp. An Acai
juice that has 30 grams of Acai, BUT uses the whole berry (including seed) - by definition would only have 3 grams of Acai pulp and skin.
that ingest Acai seed products are consuming a product that has been the subject of very little research and in no way reflects how the
indigenous people of the Amazon Rainforest have enjoyed Acai for thousands of years.
Our recommendation - steer clear of any product that is made with the Acai seed!
Does it matter which company makes the Acai powder?
Yes, yes and YES! As we have discussed, Acai is highly perishable, so you want to make sure
the company making the Acai powder is using fresh Acai berries. After all, the best freeze
drying techniques really don't mean much if you start with spoiled Acai berries! You also want a
company with strong relations with the indigenous people of the Amazon who will
be picking the Acai berries.
When it comes to pure Acai, there is one company which we believe offers the best quality freeze dried Acai powder today - Earthfruits.
In our next article we will discuss why Earthfruits is a world leader in quality Acai.
It is clear that not all Acai supplements are created equal. The highest quality Acai supplements
will be made with Earthfruits freeze dried acai. Spray dried and "extract" Acai supplements should be avoided at all costs.
What makes Earthfruits a world leader in quality Acai? We take a look at this in our next article…