Acai Berry: The 100 Million Dollar Weight Loss Scam
Some interesting news came out last night. The attorney general of Connecticut, Richard Blumethal, announced an investigation into the business practices and questionable science associated with Acai berry products — primarily pitched by Internet-based companies as a wonder treatment for weight-loss.
Personally, I think this is great news and it is about time.
If you spend any time online, you have surely seen ads with the headlines, "Oprah's Diet Secret", "Seven Rules to a Flat Stomach, or (the worst) "Amy's weight loss blog", "Karen's weight loss blog", etc… on almost every page online.
If you actually clicked on one of these ads, you probably ended up on what looked like a blog with a before and after picture of some woman who has lost weight. She then tells a story about how she saw Dr. Mehmet OZ and Oprah say that acai is a miracle diet food. It might also mention Rachael Ray.
The woman then says she tried it herself and the pounds just came flying off. It is kind of believable as it looks like a real person and there are even comments on her blog. There then is a link to one of the many companies selling acai berry on a free trial basis.
Problem 1: The Blogs are Phonies
The problem here (one among many) is that these blogs are all phonies.
The woman depicted on Tara's Diet Blog, Olivia's Weight Loss blog, Alicia's Diet Blog, Becky's Weight Loss blog, and at least 75 other blogs is a German model named Julia who has nothing to do with acai or any weight-loss product. The German photographer who made the original photos of her available on Istockphoto.com said the pill companies manipulated some of the "after" images to give the impression of weight loss.
Most likely the sites are actually run by men. (That is just my guess).
Anyway, the people running the blogs are definitely a part of the problem – but they are not the cause. These are just opportunist people who saw an easy way to make a buck by promoting the biggest diet pill hoax of the 21st century.
They are not "associated" with the folks who market the pills; they just get an ungodly amount of money every time they send these people a free trial through one of these blogs.
I could go on and on about this. One consequence of these fake blogs making so much money is it squeezes out ethical marketers because the price for buying ad space simply becomes too high.
Problem 2: Acai Berry Will Not Help You Lose Weight
In truth, açai has less antixodants than concord grapes, blueberries, and black cherries. But more importantly, no credible evidence suggests antioxidants promote weight loss.
The attorney general from Connecticut says it more strongly,
"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"
Problem 3: Oprah Did NOT Endorse Acai Berry
And the truth about the Oprah show with Dr. Oz is that they never mentioned Acai as a weight loss aide, just as one of many fruits that were healthy (like tomatoes). In fact, on Oprah's website they have a statement out that says,
"Consumers should be aware that Oprah Winfrey is not associated with nor does she endorse any açaí berry product or online solicitation of such products."
Just to be clear, there is no acai berry supplement endorsed by Oprah, Dr. Perricone, Rachel Ray or Dr. Oz.
Problem 4: There Is No Miracle Diet Pill That Works
There simply is no magic pill that is going to allow you to lose weight if you don't eat right and exercise. There are pills that can help you lose water weight in the short term, and there are supplements that may help you control your appetite (usually stimulants) but even they are not that dramatic.
If you have a thyroid issue, hormonal issues or have a tendency towards insulin resistance, there are certain supplements that can help you move towards attaining the metabolism of a normal person your age. However, these will not help you if you already have a normal metabolism. For example, I lean hypothyroid and am helped by a very inexpensive iodine supplement recommended by Dr. Hyman.
I am as guilty as anyone in that I am always looking for the miracle pill! I take quite a few supplements, (mainly for vitality and longevity) but have pretty much given up on the weight loss benefits. I do see promise in resveratrol, not as a miracle, but as something that can help keep insulin levels in check. But again, if you don't have your diet under control it will do you no good.
In short, if you want to get to and maintain a healthy weight – there is no magic pill that is going to do it for you!
I would love to read your comments on the acai berry scam as well as any other feedback you have. Just comment below.