Sales of acai products catapulted to $13.5 million last year, up from $435,000 two years previously. An acai craze has been fueled by discussions on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” where at least two of her experts — dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone and heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz — have mentioned the so-called superfood.
With a flavor that faintly resembles raspberries and chocolate, the fruit has 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times more than the artery-protective flavonoids of red wine. It also seems to inhibit key enzymes in your body, perhaps reducing inflammation.
But acai comes at a cost.
One 60-capsule supply runs about $19.95 for a two-week dose. And while there is some merit to the antioxidant content of exotic fruits such as acai, consumers also get antioxidants from array of other foods, such as oranges, tomatoes and blueberries. There is also little evidence that it is useful as a weight-loss aid, although it has sometimes been marketed as one.