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what is all the fuss over Acai?

I do not understand why everyone and their mother is wanting to buy and sell Acai drinks. It seems a popular scam online as well.

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  • over 1 year ago
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This is an interesting read:

'On August 19, 2009, Harpo, Inc., producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr. Oz Show, along with Dr. Mehmet Oz, filed a trademark infringement complaint against 40 Internet marketers of dietary supplements, including acai berry products among others. Neither Ms. Winfrey nor Dr. Oz has ever sponsored or endorsed any acai berry, resveratrol, colon cleanse or dietary supplement product.

'Harpo, Inc. has filed this lawsuit to let consumers know that these internet marketers are willfully using the names of well-known figures to deceive the public. Neither Ms. Winfrey nor Dr. Oz has ever sponsored or endorsed any acai, resveratrol or dietary supplement product and cannot vouch for their safety or effectiveness. It is our intention to put an end to these companies’ false claims and increasingly deceptive practices.

'"The companies that are using my name to hawk these products are duping the public. I do not endorse any of these products. By falsely presenting products as ‘scientifically proven’ and endorsed by well-known figures, these companies do a gross disservice to the public health and could even pose a danger to those who believe their false and unproven claims. I am taking this step in the interest of public safety. I feel compelled to stand up against these companies and their deceitful practices." -Dr. Mehmet Oz'

via Oprah.com

But also and confusingly at Oprah.com,

"Dr. Perricone's No. 1 Superfood: Açaí:

" A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging ... "

So, no unproven scientific claims there, then. But what did that first doctor say? Oh yeah:

"By falsely presenting products as ‘scientifically proven’ ... companies do a gross disservice to the public health and could even pose a danger to those who believe their false and unproven claims."

Meanwhile, in an article in Medical News Today in December 2008:

"No clear evidence that dietary antioxidants can slow or prevent ageing. There is even less evidence to support the claims of most anti-ageing products"

And in an earlier BBC TV Horizon episode, Professor Lesley Regan also concluded that the benefits of superfoods were unproven and that what may be beneficial to one person could be harmful to another.

No legal copy of the Horizon TV programme is available, but I watched it and you'll have to take my word for that.

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Thanks Chris, very useful. I found that all dark berries have the following information from webmd:

Anthocyanins and flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help defend the body against life's stressors. They also play a role in the body's cell protection system. Free radicals are harmful byproducts produced by the body. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants may interfere with aging and the disease process by neutralizing free radicals.

I believe the main point was that it does not matter if it is acai or blueberries or red grapes, they are all the same. I have read other articles saying that Acai was made popular by Monavie scam. Acai is rare and so it is easier to market than blueberries.

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You're welcome. And you got me interested in a subject I hadn't looked at before, so I thought I'd write something about it, and then as usual I wrote too much. Too much for here anyway, so I posted it over at my blog, http://neofile.posterous.com/. I found that although you're on the right track, it actually does matter, and these products are not at all the same; the science that's quoted too, isn't really science. But pop by and have a read if you like, see what you think. I enjoyed the couple of hours I spent reading up on it, anyway.

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Updated: http://neofile.posterous.com/the-acai-bandwagon-rolls-onward

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It is odd how Acai became a "weight loss" scam, but it appears many people just jump on that bandwagon if it makes money. Nice article Chris, it was shocking and disturbing how many companies you found use acai as a diet pill. It is hard to say what the "true" health benefits (if any) of Acai really are just yet, but there has been research done by legitimate universities on the subject. From the University of Florida comes a study showing that Acai berries can destroy cancer cells in the lab.
The researcher at the University of Florida was quoted saying...

“A lot of claims are being made, but most of them haven’t been tested scientifically,” Talcott said. “We are just beginning to understand the complexity of the acai berry and its health-promoting effects.”

By the way, I tasted Acai juice and it was BLEH...for me.

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I know the study you're referencing. I read it, or at least as much of it as a poor peasant such as myself is permitted to read without having to stump up thirty bucks for the privilege of reading the rest. Açaí salesmen don't like to draw attention to the fact that it took place way back in 2005. Not that the passing of time necessarily weakens a scientific experiment; as long as it was conducted to professional standards, which I'm sure it was, the result should be repeatable today. But if it had been of great beneficial value to humanity, you might have expected the world to be beating a path to Florida for something more than the sunshine during the last four years.

Such is not the case, as the study had nothing to offer other than the observation that a whole food system has to be studied in order to evaluate the effects of any one compound. It was not a test on humans nor was it intended to be and it did not demonstrate a cure for cancer. The study did not discover any human health benefits from drinking açaí juice or rubbing in açaí oil. It has become a milestone only because it suits the marketers of açaí drinks to make it one.

In a news report from WSAV-TV News, April 29, 2009, Dr. Stephen Talcott, who conducted this experiment and subsequent ones along with his wife, Susanne Talcott, a researcher at Texas A&M University, was asked for a statement with regard to açaí fruit drinks and his findings to date:

"Talcott cautions the study was not intended to show whether compounds found in the berries could prevent leukemia. But that study is one MonaVie [health drink] distributors talk a lot about. In a phone conversation -- and this is also on his webpage -- Dr. Talcott told us his study has nothing to do with MonaVie. In fact he's tried to fight them legally. Talcott goes on to say the question is how much acai is really in that juice blend of 19 different fruits. Other than what's printed on the nutrition label, there's nothing in this bottle that tells us how much acai berry or pomegranate or any other ingredients Mona Vie has. We asked Mona Vie to find out exactly how much acai berry juice ends up in each bottle - and we were told that Mona Vie's formula is a company secret."

On the web page of Acai Farms, and quoted elsewhere online and, apparently, at one time on Dr. Talcott's website:

"Dr. Talcott does not conduct research for (and never has), endorse, or otherwise make recommendations about Mona Vie products."

So you might be surprised to discover that Dr. Talcott, now claimed to be the world's leading authority on the health-giving benefits of açaí, joined the MonaVie "Scientific Advisory Board" at the end of August of this year. He gave the following statement:

""I am impressed with the level of science and research that MonaVie puts behind its product portfolio and product development efforts. This level of commitment to food and nutritional quality sets MonaVie apart, and I am happy to be a part of an organization that has these factors as part of its core values."

In 2007, Dr. Talcott and Texas A&M University had applied for a provisional patent on an açaí oil. In 2009, this oil was exclusively licensed from Texas A&M for commercial applications into food, dietary supplement, and cosmetic applications.

The earlier statement about his lack of a relationship with MonaVie was (unsurprisingly) no longer on his website when I visited this week.

http://nfscfaculty.tamu.edu/talcott/Commodities/A%C3%A7ai.htm (Dr. Talcott's web page)
http://www.scientificblogging.com/variety_tap/acai_berries_super_food_or_hype (with photos of the scientists)

Other useful pages:

Other less useful pages:
http://www.american-cancer-center.org/cancer-news/publish/fignting-cancer-with-acai-berry.shtml (sales pitch published as scientific fact)

Information on antioxidant polyphenols:

And finally from a VERY interesting bunch of comments (53 pages of them!) at Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/id/150499/output/comments

"Posted By: Jack O Lantern @ 09/28/2009 5:39:44 PM

"I have been drinking this juice for 2 months and now I have more hair, I'm taller, I seem to be aging in reverse, I make more money and I travel a lot more.

"All of the above is 100% true!! 2 months ago I shaved all my hair off, I bought some boots, I took up walking backwards, got a new job and it is much farther away."

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will help to prevent the mental symptoms of aging, too. Doctors are even recommending the benefits of acai berry supplements to their patients to get and stay

“Experience is the best teacher, but a fool will learn from no other.”
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If your doctor tells her patients that acai berry supplements prevent the mental symptoms of the aging process, then she is expressing an unprofessional opinion based on no scientific evidence. Since the recommendation of a doctor carries weight with her patients, to recommend an unproven and unapproved product is at the very least ill-judged and at worst, professional misconduct. If she's encouraging them to spend $2000 a year on the most popular brand at the moment, which is how much it costs, then someone should be checking to see who she's being paid by.

But I'd like to hear from Rod G. again, he's a doctor after all and must have a better take on this than we do.

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It is a scam -- I think what ma be missing from this study is that those "wandering" the plains of wherever, are also chewing some other stimulate at the same time --

And what about this money back guarantee - only to find out before your "trial" period has ended they've billed you for a 3 month supply at what $200 or so

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Very interesting Chris found out that Dr. Talcott joined the MonaVie company...

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Strange, isn't it? I'd expect a published scientist to be concerned about his professional reputation above all things. While one doesn't have to be independent to be credible, it must surely harm his credibility to be sponsored by the company which has the most to gain from his co-operation. Even if he is able to demonstrate that some future research helps promote the product, will anyone take him seriously?

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I think the Acai Berry results of doing anything are to be seen in the future...however what I do not like is the scam that accompanies the product...it is itself is giving it a bad name....it is advertised a trial offer which some has recieved and some not but it is the $83.00 aprox dollars each, billed for three months form the card given for shipping charges...and if you buy the colon cleanse also then the same applies to it only the charge is $73.00 aprox..each for three months...one source has given the impression that the site is a health site and a News6 journalist volunteers to take both products for a month and she writes a journal...the site is not a health site nor is this person a journalist...also a women from Portland, Oregon also puts herself on a site and the same exact results are on her site only she is the one who took the product..and kept the journal....I think this makes the true interest of the Acai Berry seem it is connected to such scam...Please get this word out....Yvonne

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I was in the supermarket the other day (yes, I admit it, to my shame) and saw that you can now buy V8 Fusion (an American vegetable/fruit juice product) containing acai berries. For about $35 a bottle less than another bottle of mixed fruit juice containing acai berries. Mind, it says it contains only "the flavor of acai berries" as opposed to a big dose of acai juice. And you'll know if you read the research that the acai berries have to be processed quickly because the nutritional benefits that may exist disappear rapidly. So we don't know whether this is potentially medical-grade acai juice or just, as they say, "the flavor of acai". Still, we don't know anything about that other product either. I wonder if V8 fusion also has a secret recipe?

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I've mailed them to find out, I'll get back to you on that one.

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I am well aware of the internet scams involving Acai berry weight loss and such. But Acai berry supplements mixed with a colon clensing supplement has shown to help people loose weight; experts say that you have years worth of junk in your colon, and taking the colon supplement will clean it out, improve your energy, and make you feel less sluggish, and because you don't have anything, um, unsavory in your colon, the acai berry supplement is better absorbed. Acai berry was found in the Amazon, and has proved that it helps loose weight. :)

Though, because of that and the reasearch done by Chris, it's very easy for people to totally fake the supplements and juices. If anyone ever considers trying Acai berry, you should find the supplement/juices in links from well-known, trusted sites. (Yahoo, WebMD, such) SEPERATE(cannot be stressed enough) colon-cleansing items work well. The acai berry supplements that come with colon cleansing supplements are most likely scams. :(

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More ...

Jonny Bowden, PhD, C.N.S. is a TV celebrity and author of a number of colorful books about nutrition and health care including "The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth" and "The Most Effective Natural Cures On Earth". On his website he promotes and sells nutritional supplements as well as his books, audio books and e-books. You might reasonably expect a person in his position to be rushing out a book on losing weight with acai, however, he is quoted by CNN as saying:

"Virtually every berry - blueberry, strawberry, goji, acai - are anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants ... This particular one is exotic. It's found in Brazil. It's been marketed to have more of a magic ingredient. It's been over-hyped and marketed to death. There are claims to curing cancer, curing baldness that is all over the place ... there is not a drop of research that supports marketing claims that it prevents weight gain ... The expensive acai berry is triumph of marketing over science, that's the bottom line. It's not useless, but it's not anything that people are claiming it is."

In a press release, The Center for Science in the Public Interest stated "There's no evidence whatsoever to suggest that acai pills will help shed pounds, flatten tummies, cleanse colon, enhance sexual desire, or perform any of the other commonly advertised functions,"

Companies making unproven claims for acai are among the worst-rated by the Better Business Bureau and several may be facing lawsuits, according to CNN.

Professor Talcott, in a public statement earlier this year and prior to his employment by MonaVie, said: “There is currently no scientific research to support a weight loss claim for açai fruit ...Some companies are capitalizing on the fact that the açai berry is still mostly unknown to the broader public, and is sold as a miracle curative fruit from the deep, dark Amazonian jungle. It is doing nothing more than playing on consumer ignorance.”

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is investigating the possibility of law suits against companies making health claims for acai products, stated: "There is no competent scientific research that demonstrates any of the claimed effects of Acai berry, including weight loss, detoxification and increased energy and vitality"

The natives of the Amazon who have been using acai as a staple part of their diet for a couple of centuries have never used the juice as a treatment for weight-loss, if they live to incredibly old age we've yet to hear of it, and in fact the juice, which is promoted in the USA, is one of the few parts of the tree that they don't use for medicinal or environmental purposes.

Doubtless the acai berry has potential and some of that is as yet unexplored, the speed of properly controlled and verifiable scientific research being what it is. But the chemical constituents of the berry are known, and the broad nutritional value is known. It does not cause you to lose weight or live longer, according to what is known by modern science at this time.

However, it's not bad for you as far as anyone can tell. It's probably as good for you as a number of other ingredients when used as a supplements. And if you maintain a very healthy diet and you exercise and eat your greens, you will lose weight and acai will not harm that process. In fact it's possible that its antioxidant properties will help to buffer the most dramatic effects of weight loss. But so will other antioxidant fruits and vegetables.

Please, let's not keep supporting the fake tales about acai, even by implication. To do so, especially at this time, is to play into the hands of some very unscrupulous companies who are already under suspicion for widespread fraud as it is. If anyone has proof that acai helps anyone lose weight, rather than speculation or tales gathered from non-scientific sources, let's see it.

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Personally, I think acai is probably good for you just like eating many other healthy fruits or veggies like blueberries, pomegranate, or chard, and would be a great part of a balanced diet. However, I think any additional claims of weight loss still have not been justified by any real science. One day we may learn acai is a miracle berry, but I think until the science proves that out it's still a little bit of wishful thinking. And don't get me wrong, I need a miracle weight-loss berry as much as anyone else =)

Here is a recent article written on WedMD (a reputable source for health) that summarizes what is known (and not yet known) about Acai: http://www.webmd.com/diet/acai-berries-and-acai-berry-juice-what-are-the-health-benefits

Just like there is no easy money online, I don't think there is any easy way to lose weight =)


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Thanks Sophie. As it happens I've already written elsewhere (at some length, sorry!) about this exact WebMD article. And I'm sorry for another thing too, which is that the assumption that WebMD is always a reputable source is not correct.

The list of scientific references that originally appeared in the article have apparently been removed now, which is probably just as well as they didn't support the text of the article itself and suggested the writer hadn't actually read the texts.

It confuses theory with fact and makes fantastic claims such as "people eat acai berries to address various health conditions". They do? but acai berries are inedible until processed, and what are these "various health conditions" that these unidentified people are going around chewing acai berries for? The berries are 99% seed, people don't eat them, for that reason and because they taste horrid, and there is no evidence that the natives in the jungle where the berries grow use the juice for medicinal purposes.

It uses the term "the jury is still out" when we do have the information, and it claims that there have been studies testing the benefit of acai in weight loss but does not name or date them nor cite them nor provide any links or indeed any proof that such studies have ever taken place.

It returns to using the phrase "the jury's still out" to mean "there is no evidence at all", and if read carefully as a whole it ends up saying nothing at all other than maybe acai is useful and maybe not.

We have no idea who the anonymous writer was but I think we can be sure it wasn't either a scientist or a doctor, both of whom would have made a much greater effort to get their facts right and not be so sloppy. As the article was reviewed by the chief medical editor at WebMD I can only assume he was distracted at the time.

It goes to show just how hard it is to know what's proven and what's not. How many people have time to analyze an article, or to research the references quoted? They trust what they read at the surface level provided by magazine articles and consumer-oriented web sites, and for this subject, that's sometimes just not enough. It ought to be, but it's not. And if it's not enough for this subject, how do we know anything we read at this level is trustworthy?


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Have you guys tried Acai berry drinks? I actually started taking Acai berry juice I bought from whole foods the day I started this thread and I do feel more energy and better overall. Yeah, maybe placebo effect and it is hard to say what exactly is going on, but honestly I do feel different....more energy, better sleep...more awake during the day and I have lost 2 lbs.

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I ordered a "free trial" online and never rec'd the product although I was billed a total of 6 times for 2 different products. They have continued to try to bill me after I cancelled and reported them to my bank. It's still up in the air whether or not my bank will actually give me the credit. The company says they have proof I rec'd the product although I did not sign for it. Just be careful where you get it. Go to a local store and buy a little at a time.

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Yeah, I'm not convinced buying acai in pill form or online is really any different than buying at my grocery store. That sounds terrible Betty...it does seem like there are quite a few acai scams out there.

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SO are there cheap places online that are NOT a scam that sells Acai juice or in pill form for weight loss? I just want to try it for cheap and not sign up for a subscription.

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I wouldn't buy *any* acai product online at all. Buy it from a reputable high street store, Trader Joe's or as Todd mentions, Whole Foods, ask at your local health food store or drug store for reputable products. I've yet to find a site I can honestly say I feel confident about. As has been noted elsewhere, even sites warning you about scams are scams. You may find yourself subscribed without your knowledge or permission. It's really not worth the very high risk. Much as I advocate the web, stay off it for this one time!

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I have wrote one of the reports on the site " News6 " which is suppose to look like a news site....a journalist has written a journal on her progress of four weeks taking Acai and a Colon Cleanse product....all of the reports on SiteJabber have good information on this scam....in case some do not know of RipoffReport.com it is a good site to check on scams and to report scams...anyone who knows of this scam please write a report on this site also...we need somehow to stop these people...this site is linked to many good sites that we should help them know that this link is not only a scam but linking them to the scam...I think a lot of them will get rid of it when they know of the scam...I have not read of one person getting the "trial" product for 30 days trial....keep the information going so these people will not hurt more people...when I think of all the people who got taken from this scam it makes me feel sick and I cannot change anything for them...this scam site has legal rights as it does tell in very small letters at the bottom that they will take these amounts out to the card given for the shipping charge...so we also need to learn to be more informed on web sites and how to check all things out and read all things on each site....Yvonne
.hopefully we can change it for the ones reading in the future.

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Yeah, I read your review Yvonne....healthnews6 is screwing over probably thousands of people. I did a search and they get a massive amount of traffic to their website.

Good thing you posted that review, maybe now people will stop getting scammed. If you google search on "healthnews6" your review is like the number one entry but most people don't know to do a google search first. I didn't until I learned all of these things.

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Todd, thanks for inviting me to join the conversation about the ACAI CRAZE. When I wrote a review regarding COLOCURE USA, back on September 26th, I was trying to reach as many people as possible to the SCAMS that are currently flooding the internet. The COLOCURE/ACAI BERRY RAT PACK are raping consumers faster than high speed internet can make a new paypal. Their ads are insidious, they are on hundreds of websites...even Google runs them all over their web pages, and Google Mail tries to alert customers of scams and phishing! Well, I guess there's irony in everything.

Health news websites such as Dr. Mercola, and the like, are sounding the alarm on these unscrupulous marketers...but even OPRAH hasn't been able to put out the fire. As Yvonne stated, they are within their legal rights, and we do need to be more careful. They have very cleverly designed the websites with superfine details way down at the bottom describing the mess you have gotten yourself into AFTER you have given them your credit card. I take pleasure in knowing that sooner or later, they WILL go down...they all do, eventually.

That said, ACAI, in and of itself, is a good food. Health authorities call it a super-food because it contains complex antioxidants and amino acids, as well as, healthy fat and fiber...but those attributes can be said of a lot of foods. Why has ACAI become the flavor of the month?...who knows, one day it's Chlorella and super greens powders, the next day it's Whey Protein Shakes, or Kombucha. Take any nutrient dense food that's high in fiber, give it a little hype, and you have the breeding ground for unscrupulous marketers to make unsubstantiated claims from weight loss to cancer cures. Even KELLOGGS CEREAL (in response to the H1N1 pandemic) jumped on the profiteering marketing train making claims to parents, "Boost your child's immunity", because they added antioxidants to their highly processed Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies...thank GOD they were derailed.

When I bought my FREE TRIAL of Acai Berry/Colocure, I wasn't so much interested in weight loss as I was in seeking an herbal whole foods approach to detoxification...and the Channel 4,6,8 NEWS endorsements plus the (what do I have to lose) FREE products was more of a whim, because I am usually very careful about what and where I get my supplements from, and always do a lot of research before starting any medicinal regime. Because of my immediacy and persistence, my ordeal with the company only cost me $2.95 for the shipping...and I threw the products in the garbage as soon as they arrived.

I have had little personal experience with ACAI other than enjoying it as a wholesome food. Back around 2000, 2001, I was a chef at a cafe and juice bar frequented by body builders, dancers, and health enthusiasts. The area was being heavily marketed to by a Brazilian company and U.S. distributor, called SAMBAZON, touting ACAI as a high energy beverage. I bought the unsweetened acai pulp being sold in individual frozen packets and came up with a recipe for a smoothie which was well received. Acai was just beginning to come into the American consciousness. Even at that time, we had a small following of people that came in continuously for ACAI saying that it gave them sustained energy. Does ACAI really work for some people?...maybe. Do we feel good when we eat certain foods because we know that they are good for you?...for sure. I think we often feel a boost or shift in our energy levels when some vitamin, mineral, salt, or sugar deficiency is being alleviated. Most health authorities seem to agree that it is the unsweetened acai pulp that has the most benefit.

Thanks for all the comments and good information, here.


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Oh, one more thought. I meant to address Kristi's question regarding where to find inexpensive Acai products that are not part of any subscription or internet scams, and where one can simply try it on for size. Not all on-line purchasing is unscrupulous when it comes to supplements and health products. There are some very reputable companies that are as reliable as purchasing products from say a Whole Foods or local health food store...and a whole lot less expensive. I personally have been ordering my health products from Vitacost.com for quite some time. They distribute an enormous variety of legitimate, top brand, supplements, health foods, formulas, and beauty aids at a fraction of the retail cost.

As I said earlier, I have not used any acai supplements other than the frozen pulp from SAMBAZON...but I have noticed that SAMBAZON makes a freeze dried powder and capsules. From what I have read, it's important to use acai in it's whole form, including skin and pulp, and freeze dried rather than spray dried. There are also bottled juices that utilize the whole fruit. I would do a little research, figure out how you would best like to take it, then have a look at the Vitacost website, the companies making acai products, and what suits your needs and budget. However, I do believe that one needs to give themselves a fair amount of time, at least 30 - 60 days, to measure the benefits.

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A little footnote:

"That said, ACAI, in and of itself, is a good food. Health authorities call it a super-food because it contains complex antioxidants and amino acids, as well as, healthy fat and fiber."

I don't know which health authorities use the term "superfood", but FYI a law has already been passed in the European Community banning anyone from describing a product that way. The law will come into effect I think next year sometime, after which anyone wanting to use the term "superfood" is going to be required to prove it. I think it's expected that the word is going to go out of circulation really quickly, but it will be interesting to see if anyone steps up to the challenge.

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THANK YOU LISA!!!! I am thinking I will try the capsules that they sell as I will actually take the pills. Drinking acai every day is a little more difficult and I am likely to not be as compliant. I think a combination of the frozen pulp in shakes and pills will work for me. Thanks again for sending me to that site. I had heard of sambazon before on the internet, but forgot about that site.

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The media likes to create buzz names for things. That way they can roll it off their tongues and everyone is using their terminology. I saw an interview with a scientist and the reporter (I don't remember who) said, so you could call this a Superfood since it has all those benefits?

Chris, you are correct, those scientists that attempt to remain neutral don't tend to jump on those kind of bandwagons. Still several very published scientists have made errors in judgment. Einstein once wasted 2 years due to a mistake in a calculation. He also spent the last years of his life working on a Unified Field Theory that to many was a waste of his talents. Because of his foundation, they are so much closed to that than they would be. Sometimes you are viewed as a pioneer, other times a quack. Royal Rife was viewed as a quack in the 1930's and his reputation was ruined back then because he went against conventional thinking. Now someone else using his work introduces it on 60 Minutes and it is revolutionary.

From some of the pictures accompanying the profiles in this discussion, I can't imagine why someone like Kristi would take this for weight loss for instance. I think people need to look at themselves objectively otherwise they could be a candidate for "Body dysmorphic disorder". People jump up on their scales and let it tell them that they need to lose "weight" when it could be that they are in great shape. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. While that syndrome happens more in women than men, it can. And ladies, please remember, you are supposed to have curves. My coworker to the right of me just got implants because she lost so much weight that some of those curves disappeared.

Measure yourself and if you really need improvement in an area, exercise can help just the area that needs improvement. There are plenty of isolation exercises for specific areas.

Another thing you can do is get your Body Mass Index measured. That will give you a more accurate assessment of where you really stand.

There are several diets that if someone is unable to exercise to lose weight due to their weight that can be used. Two of my best friends used the South Beach diet in which you eliminate the processed foods and turn to complex carbs when you eat them. Both were very large men. One, 6'5" and he lost 105 lbs. The other 6' and lost 85 lbs. Now that are both are down that much they can exercise to tone the remaining.

I know that Acai can help boost metabolism, however it is not a wonder pill. It can be used as part of a juice fast (same as those 24 hour Hollywood diets...great for cleaning you out and kick starting a new diet...which you can do for cheaper and get to pick your favorite juices). When I do those, I pick a weekend when I am not going to be doing anything OR if I get a cold. Those really will kill a cold fast and I lose about 15 lbs doing it. Not good on your body to do all the time, 1 to 2 times a year though does not hurt.

This is just another fad like Chromium (discovered by the Dept. of Agriculture of all places) helps boost your metabolism. The body does grow accustomed to something, it stops being effective. Thus the idea of the P90 system (he did not come up with the idea, it used to be called Circuit Training where you vary your workouts). Same thing with giving someone low doses of snake venom so that their body builds up an immunity to it. Vary your diet as you should your workouts and you will lose weight or tone up if that is your desire.

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You're welcome Kristi. I don't believe that the frozen pulp is available...it was, or maybe still is, available at the wholesale level, and delivered frozen, directly to restaurants and retailers. But Sambazon makes a freeze dried powder that can be added to shakes. Let me know how your Acai regimen works out for you.

Wow Chris, getting into the use of 'food terminology' as it applies to law, European or otherwise, seems to be a real slippery slope.

When I was referring to 'health authorities', I wasn't quoting the policies of public health officials, or government agencies, or what is up for legislation. Superfood, as described in the Cambridge Dictionary, is a food which is very good for your health. Leading 'authorities' in the world of health, diet, and nutrition, such as: Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Dr. Linda Page, and Brenda Watson c.n.c, seem to agree that there are some foods with superior nutritional attributes...and these experts reference the term 'superfood' along with foods such as: Acai, green superfoods like chlorella and wheat grass, and fermented soy products, to name just a few. I think Micheal van Straten, writer and food consultant, likes to take credit for coining the term 'superfood', in the '90's...though I do not know much about his work, or to what foods he was attributing the word to.

I, personally, like this word, and think that it boils down to semantics...though I would like to see the term relegated to a more distinct group of organic and medicinal/therapeutic foods, and not bandied about for everything nutritious from salmon to sunflower seeds. I take offense to terminology that hypes certain foods as 'miracle foods', and 'miracle cures' with unsubstantiated claims, and there are hundreds of words, terms, phrases, seals of approval, etc. that are bogus, and merely placed on labels and packages for the sake of manipulating the consumer. Some of my favorites are: light, lite, natural, natural flavoring, food flavoring...why does my box of Sun Maid Raisins have a 'healthy food fitness award' label on it? Why is Newman's Own Marinara Sauce called 'industrial strength'? Why are some foods referred to as 'tasty', or 'fresh', when they are clearly NOT? Lower fat, reduced fat...are these claims made to entice the consumer or maybe even turn some of us away? While Public Health Food Advocates have put the fear of fat in the national food consciousness, there is another school of thought that the Weston A. Price Foundation has been advocating for decades.

Mary G. Enig, PhD writes, "there is no conclusive evidence from epidemiologic studies that dietary fat intake promotes the development of obesity independently of total energy intake."2 The recognition by some researcher that it is the energy content of the diet that is important matches the understanding of clinicians half a century ago. Nevertheless the common recommendation continues to be a "lowfat" diet for treating obesity in spite of the numerous research papers reporting better results with the low-carbohydrate diet.3,4

And don't even get me started on why polyunsaturated oils with trans fats were being tauted,and approved of, as healthy oils for decades.

I rarely walk down the aisles of supermarkets, anymore, but when I do, and I see the hundreds of ultra pasteurized, highly processed, additive laden, quote, unquote, FOOD that is on the shelves, food that the Food and Drug Administration, our own governing body of food legislation, has deemed safe for the consumer...it's difficult for me to applaud some of their efforts at legislating or banning what may be 'healthier' products.
Superfoods, 'natural' products, herbs, dietary supplements....regulation, deregulation...these are very complicated and very confusing issues.

Do I think that the new EU legislation banning the term 'superfood' ("unless it is accompanied by a specific authorised health claim that explains to consumers why the product is good for their health") is a good thing?

Well, putting manufacturers to the task of doing independent research sounds good...but that will also mean, ("foods that are high in more than one nutrient will not be allowed to make a nutrition claim about another of its ingredients")...and that could be very confusing to the consumer. Take a food like, ACAI, and a manufacturer can make a nutrition claim about (only) the antioxidants supporting the immune system - without being able to express the value of it's fat, fiber, AND phytosterol content...hardly tells the story that together, all three components play a 'synergistic' role in combating premature aging. It's my belief that whole food, super or otherwise, has the most benefit as a whole structure, and not just as isolated components.

Even Kevin Hawkins of the British Retail Consortium said, in the BBC News article from June 2007: "Our concern is not about the principle of this legislation. It is right that claims such as 'reduced fat' or 'good for your heart' are supported by science but customers must not be denied nutrition and health messages they find valuable.

He goes on to say, "The regulation still risks unintended consequences. It could thwart national health campaigns and compromise innovation of healthier products. We will need to keep the impact of this regulation under review."

This is, indeed, a convoluted issue. And in the final analysis, will this really force food manufacturers to tell the truth.

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Great research there, thanks for doing that and taking the time to post it here!

"customers must not be denied nutrition and health messages they find valuable ... the regulation still risks unintended consequences." Who appointed this patronizing idiot to represent my rights? If we don't allow these false claims, we'll all come out in boils and be beset by plagues of frogs and locusts? I don't think so, Kevin, so please don't let me detain you any longer.

A question, out of idle curiosity: if you suspend whatever you believe in right now and instead, pretend you believe that everything, yes, *everything that *any manufacturer of allegedly health-giving products has told you is a flat-out *lie, do you feel:

a) Angry (how dare they?)
b) Disbelieving (they wouldn't ... what would be the point?)
c) Vindicated (I always said so but nobody would listen)
d) Frightened (I've lost control of my own decision-making)
e) Embarrassed / Gullible (I didn't think ... I feel so stupid)
f) Remorseful / self-pitying (I wasted so much money)
g) Accepting (OK, I got fooled, but you can't blame them for trying)
h) Surprised / astonished (Nah ... really?)
i) Tolerant (They have to pay people's wages and all their costs, otherwise they'd be out of business)
j) Disinterested (What? What's a health product?)

If they were obliged to take all these products away, do you think you'd feel:

a) Happier (I feel better without them)
b) More secure (I'm OK, you're OK)
c) Stronger (I was weak before)
d) Abandoned (now what do I do?)
e) Ill-fated (the End suddenly seems so much closer)
f) Weaker / less popular / less attractive
g) unconcerned (I never used them anyway)

If they were allowed to keep selling all their products, but to withdraw unproven claims, do you think you would:

a) Go on using the same product(s) anyway
b) Be willing to test a new product if they asked you to
c) Go on using the same product(s) only if they were cheaper
d) Believe in the claims made about a newly-introduced product
e) Search for your health products elsewhere
f) Explore alternative medicine
g) Demand changes in the law to prevent this happening again
h) Realize you didn't need the products anyway
i) Continue to believe, because the products seemed to work for you
j) Be more inclined to use them now they were being marketed honestly

Of course you may choose "other" anywhere you please, and there's not even a requirement to answer anything. There are no right or wrong answers, it's just an exercise in thinking about our relationship to, and perceptions of, manufacturers and their motives. But comments would be most welcome!

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You raise some really provocative questions, here, that I will clearly need to take some time to think about. I'll get back to you as soon as I have a bit of time.


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I don't understand your comment regarding Kevin???

" Who appointed this patronizing idiot to represent my rights? If we don't allow these false claims, we'll all come out in boils and be beset by plagues of frogs and locusts? I don't think so, Kevin, so please don't let me detain you any longer."

Kevin represents The British Retail Consortium.
To make life easier for our members by:
- Campaigning to promote and defend retailers' interests
- Advising retailers of threats and opportunities to their business
- Improving the perceptions of retailing in the UK
- Offering members a range of services and products which add value to their business

And why shouldn't everyone have the right to question EU legislation from their 'authority', The Food Standards Agency. If their practices reflect the same pandering to lobbyists and BIG BUSINESS as our very own Food and Drug Administration does...and I am going to make that assumption based on the processed, and potentially dangerous, foods that are on European market shelves, as well...why shouldn't consumer advocacy AND OR retail advocacy groups hold these agencies responsible to enforcing legislation that actually makes 'good sense' and really tests products responsibly. Who appoints THESE idiots to represent MY rights?

These are the folks that let manufacturers add 'food flavoring' to their mandatory labeling list of ingredients...anybody have any idea what 'food flavoring' is?!?

Any one want to know:
Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good?
Take a look at:
Excerpt From Eric Schlosser's book
'Fast Food Nation' (Houghton-Mifflin, 2001)
From The Atlantic Monthly

Here's just a snippet:

"The flavor industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavor compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputations of beloved brands. The fast-food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavors of the food they sell somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms. A McDonald's french fry is one of countless foods whose flavor is just a component in a complex manufacturing process. The look and the taste of what we eat now are frequently deceiving -- by design."

Or how about the plastic bottling industry. The FDA would like you to believe most of these bottles are safe, and will quote numerous studies supporting this claim, but there are countless studies and articles that tell us otherwise. Here's a snippet from a comment from:

The Murky Truth About Leaching Plastic Bottles
By Christopher Wanjek, LiveScience's Bad Medicine Columnist
posted: 02 June 2009 01:37 pm ET

You are correct in the statement "No study has convincingly shown adverse effects from BPA (bisphenol) on human health." Hundreds of studies, however, have shown adverse effects in animals at low doses, and the main study cited by industry and the US FDA as proving BPA's safety has now been thoroughly discredited by a commentary published in the April issue of EHP co-authored by 36 of the world's leading BPA researchers. (link to commentary: http://cli.gs/AuE8YM )

And this goes for canned foods, too. Some of our 'healthiest foods', these days, like organic beans and tomatoes, come in cans that are lined with an epoxy containing BPA's.

Of course the majority of canned products (BPA aside) include salty soups and sugary soft drinks...'foods that I wish my governing agencies would fuss over, rather than damn the manufacturer's of 'health products' for using the term SUPERFOOD.

Which brings me to your questionnaire regarding 'health giving products'......

If I am to believe:
*everything that *any manufacturer of allegedly health-giving products has told you (ME) is a flat-out *lie"...
I would have to say that I am most definitely ACCEPTING.

And this feeling is based on a lifetime of living in a culture where we praise advertising, in general, for being a brilliant manipulative game, first, and then test the merits of the contents, later. This would be to a greater degree, how I believe the average consumer responds. We are all being asked to identify with the guy in the ad who gets the girl because he's wearing a certain aftershave...or the gal in the ad that feels fresh and sassy because her panty hose reinforces that 'she's got LEGS, and knows how to use them'! No one really believes it, but we all nod, nod, wink, wink, as long as these products are safe, and wont harm us.

Well, perhaps, 'health giving products', needs to inform us a little more (like pharmaceuticals) of what is generally recognized as safe, and what the benefits/risks may be...and even if we think they are lying about promising us the fountain of youth, at best, or lying about the safety of the product, at worst, we are all programed to be skeptical and ACCEPTING at the same time.

Of course, when it comes to 'health giving products', I NEVER look to the manufacturer to make any claims. I look to independent studies and trusted health experts for my information. The only thing I want from any manufacturer is to put exactly what they are claiming is in the bottle or package to be accurate...and aside from buying trusted brands that have been around long enough to have been monitored by some third party looking over their shoulder, I will never really know for sure what's true or whose protecting who. And that's where trust, trial and error, and acceptance comes back into play.

And if all these products went away tomorrow, I 'd feel nothing more than the same contempt I already have for the governing authorities that are here to 'protect us'.

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I wouldn't want a representative of the retailers, whose job it is to protect their interests, not mine, to advocate for me, thanks. "Messages that customers find valuable" is not the same as "valuable messages", it's careful wording that places the onus on the customer to evaluate a message, rather than on the manufacturer or retailer to make sure the message is trustworthy. Mr. Hawkins has the opportunity here to say that retailers are absolutely behind any legislation that forces manufacturers to be honest. But he doesn't. What he wants is to leave the customer, who everyone hopes can be kept ill-informed, to evaluate claims which she is entirely unqualified to evaluate. A "message that customers find valuable" does not have to be valuable or even truthful. It just has to convince the customers that it's valuable.

And as for the alleged dire consequences, what were they again? Do I see anything demonstrable to back up the message that innovation will be compromised and national health campaigns thwarted? Or is this, in itself, a message lacking in any basis in fact that he hopes "customers will find valuable"?

Sorry but I have no doubt that the industry doesn't want more freedom of information and honest reporting. If they did, if they were taking such a high moral stand already, why are they now so nervous about impending legislation? And when the spokesman for the retail industry uses the word "we" in a context which he hopes people will read as "we the people", I am quite sure that the real meaning is "we in the retail industry". The two are not necessarily one and the same.

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I don't think that representatives of retail associations can separate advocating for their own interests without involving their customers...there wouldn't be any retail businesses without returning customers...and there wont be any customers returning to our stores by 'keeping them ill informed'.

As someone who makes my living in the retail industry, and is a member of a downtown business association, we have nothing to gain and stand everything to lose if the messages we send out to our customers are anything but truthful. A number of our downtown businesses sell health related products. Their client base is made up of educated consumers who are entirely qualified to evaluate claims. As an organization we are always looking at how, yes, we can increase sales and profits, but by keeping our customers ill informed?...I don't think so.

Who are you referring to that is so nervous about this impending legislation? Some of our little downtown stores have been serving the community for more than 25 years, others didn't make it through the financial fall out. We're made up of hard working people who have relied on retail to put food on our tables by offering valuable services. If we've been nervous about anything, it's how to weather the harsh times, we have no fears of 'freedom of information and honest reporting'.

Perhaps YOU don't see anything demonstrable to back up the message that innovation in the health related products industry could be compromised... but this is an industry that has been thwarted time and again by big business pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, and lobbyists more than willing to keep a hungry public interest WITHOUT adequate studies and information...until, of course, they ended deregulation when pharma figured out how they could market some of these herbs and supplements and score big profits. If there's anything to be nervous about, now, it's that freedom of information and honest reporting be kept fair and balanced.

Chris, I have no vested interest in Kevin Hawkins or the BRC, but if you're looking for the real meaning behind his statements, perhaps you should ask him to explain himself before you leap to your own conclusions.

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Thank you for declaring your professional interest, Lisa.

I have no vested interest. I am just a consumer, expressing an opinion. Having looked again at the information that's available openly on the web so far, I'm not at all clear about what Mr. Hawkins did or did not say in full as it seems that what we're seeing is an extract which may have been reproduced out of context. I am more than willing to withdraw any unfair criticism I have given based on having been presented with an out of context statement or part of one. However I assume that since this is old news, Mr Hawkins will by now be well aware of the extent of the quotation and the context in which it was printed, and would have made some public comment if he thought he had been misrepresented.

I remain a buyer and consumer, not a seller, and would prefer that sellers, who have a clear financial interest, don't represent me as a consumer. That is a personal opinion. I see that the retailers have apparently been invited by the government to take part in shaping the regulations, or at least that's the impression given by the claim that the retail industry has been involved in the development of the regulations all the way along. I did not see anything indicating that any consumer organization had been invited to take part in shaping these new laws. Since the retail trade depends entirely on consumers for its income, and since the purpose of these laws is supposed to be greater protection for those consumers, I would have thought that the government would have turned to consumers to find out what they want to see, rather than to businesses who have a less well-defined motivation. But that again is my personal opinion.

We've gone way off topic here, which is largely my fault. Sorry about that, people. I would prefer this thread to go back to providing a venue for the conversation about acai and the way that's being marketed.

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Yes, we have certainly gone off track here, Chris.

But I do want to thank you for taking the time to express your point of view. There may actually be a few things that we can agree on, but I reckon it is through a worthy opponent that we think and learn and even discover a deeper passion and new meaning to our already established belief systems.

I will just conclude by adding one more thing that does tie in with the conversation about ACAI. I agree that 'consumers have a less well-defined motivation', yet it seems to me that government rarely turns to consumers and consumers best chance at making an impact is by joining grass-roots organizations that can best represent them.

It took massive grass-roots action to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), passed in 1994. The Natural Solutions Foundation, a grass-roots organization founded in 2004, that takes action to protect our health freedom here in the U.S., states, 'the DSHEA is our most powerful legal tool for health freedom.'

Right at this very moment in time we have a MAJOR THREAT to any HEALTH FREEDOM we have garnered, thus far.

CODEX is a global health freedom THREAT that goes into global effect on December 31, 2009. The Natural Solutions Foundation goes on to say,

"Codex will go into global effect on December 31, 2009, unless we, the People, take action and avert it. Right now, we are like a frog boiled slowly, the heat raised gradually so we won’t jump out of the water. The media is used to make us believe that Codex is about “consumer protection”. Part of the media strategy is to tarnish the image of natural health options, through for-hire studies."

Congressional Effort Underway to Undermine DSHEA

"The pharmaceutical industry works through irresponsible/corrupt politicians to do their bidding. The path to institute Codex in America is to “influence” Congress to pass laws friendly to drugs and unfriendly to nutritional supplements, so that slowly everyone comes to believe that nutrients are “dangerous”, and drugs are “proper medicine”. Susan Davis (D, CA) and other politicians are helping Big Pharma by supporting bills designed to destroy DSHEA."

At the risk of taking up any more space on this threads watch, I will suffice it to say that any conversation about ACAI, or the way it's being marketed, is threatened to become a moot point, if we don't urge Congress to reprimand the U.S. Codex Office and the FDA.

There's a lot of good information on the web explaining the Codex issue for anyone looking to understand it better.

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One of the big reasons Acai became so popular was that Oprah and Dr. Oz talked about Acai on TV which was of course seen by millions. Then companies started using Oprah's name and misleading consumers stating that she said acai was good for weight loss. Now Oprah and Dr. Oz are suing 40 companies for illegally misrepresenting what they said.


But the bottom line was that Dr. Oz did think acai was beneficial for people just maybe not so gung ho on it as other people claim. I'm still buying my acai :)

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You're right, Kristi, Dr. Oz and other health professionals do find that Acai is beneficial for people--just not the Holy Grail that charlatans make it out to be...which leads to misrepresentation of celebrities and their statements, lawsuits, and distortion of the facts regarding the product.

When Dr. Oz says, in the ABC News article, that he'd 'be surprised if Acai in and of itself could help with weight loss', that is probably true...but as a nutritious high fiber food, and part of a high fiber diet (which has been proven to encourage weight loss), it certainly couldn't hurt to include it in your diet.

The article also quotes the CSPI (the Center for Science in the Public Interest) as saying, ' there is no evidence Acai actually helps you lose weight'. The media loves to quote the CSPI, which has been around since 1971 and has become one of the most powerful influences on public opinion and public policies. And although it is an independent science-based organization (and, admittedly, has made accomplishments for some very worthy diet/health legislation) It has also been responsible for stifling products, which in my opinion, have enormous food value, by quoting studies without the use of clinical trials or peer-reviewed journals. I don't believe it is 100% impartial or in the public interest (as in "we the people"). CSPI is more of a link between government, industry, and the public. In 2007, the FDA Commissioner awarded CSPI the agency’s highest honor, the Harvey W. Wiley Special Citation. Also, the CSPI is considered the authority on nutrition to many politicians.

So when ABC News quotes the CSPI, I can't help but think that it's yet another tactic to put a negative slant on a nutritious food, that could ultimately prevent the consumer from the availability of quality acai products from reputable companies. The CSPI had an opportunity to reflect the positive attributes, as well. Not all Acai winds up in the hands of companies making false products and false claims, so why throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater.

On the other hand, the article shares that CocaCola, Pepsico, and Anheuser-Busch are adding the acai fruit to their beverages. Funny how the CSPI makes no mention that adding acai to carbonated beverages that contain something like twelve tablespoons of sugar may mislead the public to believe that soda is now a healthy food!

Oh what a twisted world we live in....

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Thank you Chris, Lisa, yvonne and Kristi for your insight into Acai. You are right Lisa, it is a twisted world we live in. I can't believe they are putting Acai into beer and now calling it a cure for H1N1 flu. So hard to figure out the real truth and I'm glad there are people like you guys around to help shed light on the subject. I guess it couldn't hurt to drink Acai, but as the benefits are not really immediately apparent it feels like I am taking it purely on faith. Like snake oil from the old days.

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Let me stand corrected. Coca Cola is not actually adding acai to it's Coca Cola soda...they have been sited for making deceptive claims with it's Vitamin Water.

They market the water as having a triple threat of antioxidants (Acai, Blueberry, and Pomegranate), when in fact none of the key stars are listed in the ingredient list. The product does have 1% of juice. A triple threat? Where are you now CSPI?

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At least the beer might make you feel better even if it doesn't cure the flu, Todd.

But even snake oil is a real Traditional Chinese Medicine used to treat joint pain, and still in use today. Once again, it was the hucksters making exaggerated claims, in the old days, that made snake oil a dirty word.

I guess we take a lot of things on faith. The organic raw kombucha I buy at over $3.00 a pop, tastes good, but do I feel energized by the ingredients, or does the attractive bottle that says, 'rejuvenate, restore, revitalize, recharge', program my brain to tell my body I have more energy???

However, I'd rather buy in to my kombucha than rely on media news programming promoting medical break through's, miracles and cures that are every bit as much a carnival sideshow selling snake oil.

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Hey Todd, by any chance, is that beer with the acai, that is supposed to cure the flu, made by H1N1KEN???

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it is so funny you wrote about Kombucha...I had been following this conversation but didn't have anything to say until now. I just started drinking Kombucha a couple days ago. It does take awhile to get used to the flavor but I do feel better as well. Not cheap as whole foods sells it for over 3 dollars.

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a couple of years ago, I began drinking kombucha everyday, when I was depleted of energy during a stressful time. I do think it made me feel better. Now I drink it a couple of times a week or whenever I need a boost. I did get used to the flavor. GTS makes some interesting flavor blends. And Whole Foods will give a whopping 10% discount on a case...but I guess every penny makes a difference if you have the room to store it. I also thought about buying a brew kit to make it myself...but decided that sooner or later, it would probably wind up in the gadget/appliance cemetery.

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