Colourful and beautiful acai bowls have been taking over our Instagram feed in recent years and everyone loves them! This tiny Brazilian berry took over Singapore as a popular superfood that many deem healthy and rich in antioxidants. There is no doubt that these acai bowls taste good packed with fruits and nutty drizzles. But in reality, are acai bowls really that healthy and how much do consumers know about them?
There are two sides to this story and let’s start with the good!
It is easy to fall in love with acai bowls as they look like the alternative healthy option to ice cream. It is that perception itself that makes people feel great indulging in it.
Acai berries have a unique nutritional profile as it is high in fat and low in sugar. According to Healthline, here is the nutritional breakdown of frozen acai pulp (100g):
- Calories: 70
- Fat: 5 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 4 grams
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Fiber 2 grams
- Vitamin A: 15% of the RDI
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
In addition to this, acai contains other minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, manganese and are packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants. In this study, it is found that acai berries have an incredibly high amount of antioxidants even when compared to other common antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries.
There aren’t a lot of drawbacks eating acai given that acai itself is a health food! However, do be mindful of the overpromised health claims associated with it.
Here comes what most people don’t know about acai/ acai bowls.
Firstly, we need to establish that there has been little research done in people on the health effects of acai products as stated by NIH. We can be comforted that most studies have focused on acai’s potential antioxidant properties.
Second and more importantly, plain acai actually tastes bitter. It is not uncommon for your store-bought acai bowls to be sweetened with artificial sugar, fruit juice or syrups to make them more palatable. Often times, they are covered with a variety of toppings that are tasty but high in sugar like marshmallows, chocolate chips and other artificial sugar treats. One would feel good for making a healthier choice by choosing acai but it completely backfires when the sugar is loaded from these additional sources.
So to answer your question - are acai bowls healthy? We would say it’s complicated.
There is no one standardised way to make an acai bowl. Two things you should examine then would firstly be what goes into your acai bowls and secondly, the portion size consumed.
What should I look out for in my acai bowls?
As far as sugar goes, fruit also contains sugar but the type that are natural, and kinder to your body. What you should ask is if your acai bowls are mixed in with artificial sugars or syrups. That also extends to toppings, look out for toppings that have other nutritional values such as unsweetened nuts for protein, naturally sweetened granola for additional fibre, cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips and more.
At Oatberry Granola Kitchen, we pride ourselves to only bring you the freshest and healthiest ingredients while believing in educating consumers on what they eat. Our acai bowls are naturally sweetened and decked with fruit, natural toppings and Oatberry gourmet granola, which are free of artificial sweeteners. Our bowls are also accompanied by a dollop of protein-rich coconut chia seed pudding, topped with shredded coconut, organic chia seeds and a drizzle of your choice. Fibre rich, antioxidant packed, texture filled and oh so delicious! Sounds tempting? Well, you deserve a nice treat for reading this and educating yourself on everything acai!