Wondering what all the Acai-based fruit juice fuss is about?

Why are there so many anecdotal health testimonials from nutrient-dense Fruit juice drinkers?

The simple explanation is that Fruit consumption is scientifically linked to prevention of chronic diseases, as well as many "lesser" ailments. Hundreds of research studies back this up, while there is no such evidence for Supplements. Yet most Americans eat little to no fruit.... and not surprisingly, we're getting sicker and fatter as a nation.

Research says you need a wide array of fruits from a wide color spectrum because antioxidants are densest in the skins of fruit, and a red skin fruit will deliver a different set of phytonutrients than a blue, black, green or yellow skin fruit. Therefore, the best juice blends contain many "super fruits", not just Acai or just Goji (real name is Wolfberry), or Pomegranate, Cranberry, Blueberry, Kiwi (real name is China or Indian Gooseberry now also being marketed at Amalaki) etc. Super-fruits are considered "super" based on their nutrient-density and array of antioxidants and disease fighting compounds.

Studies show only 5% of Americans eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Most of us do get some vegetables in our diets... after all, restaurants include vegetables in every meal, but rarely do they offer fruit. At home it's the same thing... add broccoli, eat a salad, etc, but few American's add fruit to dinner. So if you drink an antioxidant-rich super juice with multiple super fruits, that is a powerful change to most American's diets.

Many Doctors or skeptics will say "just eat more fruit". Yet we don't. Why? Mess, expense, spoiling, and inconvenience are the excuses Americans use for not eating fruit. Peeling an orange gets under your fingernails, citric acid stinging your eyes, and creates a mess of peels. Bananas rot too quickly. Grapefruit is a pain to scoop out.... and for some, fruits are too acidic or sugary and can upset stomachs. Nutrient density is a problem too. Fruits today are grown in nutrient-depleted soils, they are picked way too early and shipped way too far... so Diabetics who need fruit in their diets can't eat much of what is found on store shelves because they are too high in sugar and too low in nutrients.

But what consequences do we pay for our fruit avoidance? We get ever increasing incidences of nearly every disease from cancer, to heart disease, to diabetes, obesity, blindness, gout, fatigue... you name it... and if you have an ailment... it is likely that a higher consumption of fruits would help. And it's worse then you think... due to today's farming techniques, nutrient-density has declined in fruits commonly available in stores. So most fruit eaters still don't get what they need in their diets.

The good news is that scientists and entrepreneurs are bringing exotic nutrient-dense fruits to the States from around the world. The "Functional Beverage" industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the "Wellness Industry" as American's turn to convenient and natural alternatives to youthful skin, more energy, and help with every day aches and pains.

"Super fruits" with off the charts nutrient-density like Acai boast antioxidant rating 10 times higher then anything you can find on your store shelves. Drink just a few ounces of a nutrient-dense fruit juice and you get about 100% of what many nutritionists recommend for daily Antioxidant intake. No mess, no clean up, and as convenient and tasty as it gets.

Supplement pills have ZERO scientific backing for disease prevention. Fruit does. (read more on this below). When studies are reviewed, pills do not fare well. Interestingly, when studies are reviewed, fruit juices do fare very well in disease prevention. For example, regular juice drinkers were 76% less likely to get Alzheimers in one study compared to people who did not drink much fruit juice. In addition, supplements are hard to swallow and easy to forget and often contain contaminants. Most juices taste great, and if your juice is nutrient-dense enough, you can drink just 2 ounces when making coffee in the morning, and drink 2 ounces just before brushing your teeth at night, get all the antioxidants you need, AND it's EASY to remember.

For the best information on any particular fruit juice, visit that company's web site. But watch out for hype filled sites that make "the only" type of claims. There are so many nutrient-dense super fruit juice drinks now, that anyone saying "we are the only one to...." should not be trusted until or unless you do your own research to verify the claims. And please don't rely on questionable over-reactive blogs and internet sources. Look for a thorough "FAQ" section with little or not hype and you've probably found a good product. This Blog's intention is to avoid hype, and look closely at labels. Plus, for skeptics of antioxidant rich fruit juices, this blog looks closely at why these drinks "work".

Finally, this Blog points out to the best articles and research we could find so if a Diabetic, for example, wants to know if they can drink a super-fruit juice, we'll look at diabetic testimonials and informational sites to see what they say.

Before getting to the article list... the other HUGE thing that people love about some juice blends are the anti-inflammatory properties. For those with pain and inflammation... you've got to try these juices to see if an all-natural remedy exists for you. While you want to watch out for sugar and caffeine additives like "agave" and "guarana", natural substances like essentially fatty acids and glucosamine may be added for pain and inflammation relief.

For research about fruit's role in disease prevention read the following posts and/or listen in on the recorded call above:
* The risks of chronic inflammation
* Stress causes all disease
* USDA's fruit recommendations

For why supplements are NOT a fruit or fruit juice replacement read:
* Antioxidants from Supplements not beneficial?
* It's not about the macronutirents
* Difficulty of Supplements

For specific diseases like Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, Alzheimers, read:
* Cancer & Inflammation
* Fruit & breast cancer prevention
* Alzheimers prevention
* A Diabetics Story
* More on Diabetes & fruit

For Acai specific information read:
* Acai market & berry basics
* PubMed.gov research paper on Acai
* Not all Acai created equal
* University of Florida Study: Acai kills Leukemia Cells

For the benefits of multi-fruit blends read:
* Need for a wide variety of fruits
* A Premium Product with Premium Ingredients
* A 19 Fruits blend

For products that are not pure juice or nutrient dense read:
* Acai-based "Energy Drinks"
* Acai vs. "Goji"
* Yikes - Jamba Juice adds Acai - not necessarily a good thing


Drinking Juice may stall Alzheimer's

A new study shows people who drank fruit and vegetable juices more than three times a week were 76% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who drank juices less than once a week. You can read an article about the study here.

The researchers believe it's the "Polyphenols" found in fruit are the reason juice drinkers had a lower incidence of Alzheimers. One of the reasons the best fruit juices use the entire fruit - not just the squeezed juice - is that Polyphenols are highest in the skin of fruit.

Of course the most nutrient-dense fruits on earth, like Acai which has extremely high levels of anthocyanins, a group of polyphenols that give the deep color to fruits and vegetables, have an even higher antioxidant value.

So while the above study is a general fruit-juice drinking study, if you're concerned about Alzheimer's, and you don't currently drink a lot a fruit juice, imagine the benefits you might be by drinking a blend of many nutrient-dense fruits - and just how easy drinking just a few ounces of fruit juice is vs. lots of glasses, or peeling lots of fruit.


Antioxiants don't work.... or do they???

A lot has been said and written about the recent review and report of 68 studies on the mortality rates of those who do and don't take antioxidant supplements. Read the CNN article here.

When they eliminated the "lower quality" studies they were left with 47 studies that actually showed that Vitamin supplement takers had an increased death risk. Worse still, or maybe the reason why supplements may be bad for you is another study from ConsumerLab.com which found that more than half of the multivitamins they tested were either mis-labled, or worse contained toxic ingredients like lead, or toxic levels of vitamins (for an article refering to that study click here)

So where does that leave those of us who are now dedicated fruit juice drinkers? In luck, I believe!!! The good ones do NOT contain synthetic supplements. They are not "spiked" with things like Vitamin C to increase their antioxidant ratings. They are made of whole fruits. There is NO dispute about the health of getting your antioxidants and nutrients from food. Study after study shows those who eat fruits or drink fruit juice reduce their risk of chronic diseases by one-third or more (fruit juice drinkers 76% less likely to get Alzheimers: read here). Whereas vitamin supplement studies show NO impact, or worse in the case of both the ConsumerLab.com study and the review of the 47 "better quality" studies.

So the title of the CNN article (above) and of several other articles that recapped this recent review of supplement studies are mis-characterizing the results. Antioxidants have NOT been proven to have no effect. But you should be careful of vitamin supplements. I personally am a vitamin supplement fan. But have come to realize that they are just that... supplemental to my diet when I feel I need them... but something I should carefully consider before trying any new brand.

The nutrient-dense fruit juice I drink is a company and a product I've come to trust, and I've personally felt better overall since I began drinking it daily several months ago. I've also heard numerous anecdotal health claims from others. Adding whole food non-synthetic antioxiants to your diet is supported by science, so I'll keep drinking my juice, thank you very much!! How about you? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments area below.


The risks of chronic inflammation

A must read article found on Newsweek.com - but first read this excerpt:

"Inflammation is the evil twin of oxidation," says neuroscientist James Joseph of Tufts University. "Where you find one, you find the other." That would include not only such obvious inflammatory conditions as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, but also ailments never previously associated with inflammation—such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, colon cancer and diabetes. Suddenly medical puzzles seem to be fitting together, such as why hypertension puts patients at increased risk of Alzheimer's, or why rheumatoid-arthritis sufferers have higher rates of sudden cardiac death. They're all connected on some fundamental level..."

Part 1 of this article references Diabetes & Obesity - read Part 1 here

Part 2 speaks to inflammation's role in Heart Disease & Cancer - read Part 2 here

Part 3 says "And a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids tones down inflammation overall." "But the modern diet is generally deficient in them." (read Part 3 here)

Of course, the above 2 points encapsulate this entire site's message.... that we MUST eat fruit... but most of us don't eat enough... and for those of us who think we do... modern farming techniques have dramatically lowered fruit's nutrient-density. But this quote also in Part 3 makes a new point, at least for me, that only reinforces the point of my adding a nutrient-dense fruit juice to my diet...

"While drugs usually block a single target molecule and reduce its activity dramatically, he says, natural anti-inflammatories gently tweak a broader range of inflammatory compounds. "You'll get greater safety and efficacy reducing five inflammatory mediators by 30 percent than reducing one by 100 percent," he notes."

Certainly, a diet high in fruit... or high in nutrient-dense fruit juice (a few ounces per day is all you need to meet nutritionist recommended levels of antioxidants)... are "natural anti-inflammatories". What's the Acai fruit juice fuss about??? It's about both short and long term health.... easy to remember and tastes great.... with a target market of virtually everyone in the country because we just don't get the phytonutrients in our diets we need. Wondering why you're sick, tired, or living with a disease??? It's probably a nutrient deficiency... and if you can't put down 5+ fruit servings a day (of nutrient-dense fruit), a multi-fruit (not just Acai) juice with the most nutrient-density possible, is a phenomenal alternative.


MLM juices - Premium products made with premium ingredients

One form of Acai has been studied and shown to be vastly superior to other commercially available Acai.... this article refers to the study:

Finding out how and where the Acai is sources... and then how and when it is processed is critical if you want a premium-grade juice. And not just the Acai in the just (again there is a lot of scientific evidence that high consumption of a wide spectrum of fruits helps to prevent most major chronic diseases from heart disease, to cancer, to alzheimers, obesity, diabetes, etc) so consider if the fruits are picked from the Wild (the best), or Organically grown (second best) or regular farm fruits grown using pesticides (the typical nutrient-depleted fruits on our store shelves).

With the typical American diet containing less than 1 fruit serving, and with commercially grown fruits declining in nutritional value in favor of high-yield production, the above diseases have been on the rise for years with no end in sight.

When the juice is made from "whole fruit" ESPECIALLY the skin (but seeds and pulp too) you get the maximum nutrient density, fiber, orac value, phytonutrients, etc. Wild assures the highest quality, nutrient-density, and least environmental contamination. Especially if the wild area is the untouched Amazon.

Exotic fruits picked from the wild ARE expensive. This makes for a premium brand of the highest quality... and just like fine wine... you have to pay a premium for it.

Many people are claiming they're seeing "miracle" health improvements from the MLM fruit juice they are drinking.... but any rocket boost to their diets might have similar results... it's just that most of us are not getting a variety of high-quality fruits in our diets.... and who is eating pomegranate regularly, let alone aronia, acai, even cranberry and kiwi????

There is a lot of science behind FRUIT consumption... and that is what these MLM juices are all about. Deliver the fruit in an easy to consume format.

There is also growing research that shows that it is phytonutrients and polyphenols found in fruits that are far more important than individual or processed supplements. To get the phytonutrients you need the whole fruit (skin especially), and it's most dense when picked from the wild.

One quick example - red wine grapes dense in anthocyanins are credited with the "French Paradox" of lower heart disease... yet wine is relatively low in anthocyanins compared to products that are dedicated to health. Premium products are expensive... but when sold via MLM it's pretty easy to get yours for free.

ORAC comparisons: Acai vs. Goji

ORAC is the most commonly used measurement of antioxidant content. In doing internet searches to find the ORAC scores of various fruits and foods Acai rarely comes up because it is still so new in the United States. And so you see sites like this one that state that "Goji" (a made up name for Wolfberry) has the highest Antioxidant ranking of any food at 25,300 per 100 grams.

However, as the Dr. Schauss study (see article here) of the Acai powder "OptiAcai" is 1,026.9 per gram, or 102,690 per 100 grams. So Acai - even in powder form after the patented flash pasteurization - is 4 times great than "Goji".

Of course some Acai based drinks contain Wolfberry (again, Goji is a name one particular company made up to brand it's Wolfberry products).

Nutritionists recommend a variety of fruits. The above "Goji" site sells a product called Ningxia Goji™ Goji Juice which appears to be only Goji. And it costs $160 for 1,000 milliters and they recommend you drink 60 to 120 ML's per day which means your $160 lasts 8 to 17 days. That really expensive no matter how you look at it.... but even more so when you consider it's just one fruit.

Acai trounces Goji.... but Goji is a "super fruit". But so is Amalaki (which is Kiwi or Indian Gooseberry) and Blueberry and Pomegrate and Cranberry and so on. Find a juice with all of these and more and you're in good shape. Don't rely on just one... not even when it's Acai.


Watch the hype

Everyone is jumping on the Acai bandwagon and using the same catch phrases of "nutrient-dense" and "high antioxidants". Each also comes with marketing hype and claims to be "the only" this or that. For example, Bossa Nova says " is the only juice that lives up to the superfruit promise." And also says "more açai juice per ounce than any other juice".

Unfortunately they can get away with statements like these because most people aren't going to compare each competitive juice deeply. Nor will most people read between the lines of what is really being said, and wasn't isn't really being said. For example, the first Bossa Nova statement of "the only juice" to live up to the "superfruit promise" is essentially a meaningless statement. What promise? Whose promise? What juices are they comparing themselves to and which ones have they not compared themselves to? To me that's just marketing speak, and virtually every single competitive juice makes similar statements.

On the other hand, they make two claims that I personally take issue with. One is that they have "more acai juice per ounce". Really? Since there are many supposedly "100% Acai juice" brands on the market, how can they say this when their 2nd ingredient is "agave", a sugar-like substance... which is essentially sugar. And this leads to the second claim I take issue with:

When talking about competitors they say "A quick glance at the ingredient list of other brands has us scratching our heads: What do white grape, pineapple, apple and evaporated cane juice have to do with antioxidants? Not much. They are all inexpensive ways to inflate juice content, but do little more than pile on sugar. At Bossa Nova we never use cheap juice fillers. They take up precious space reserved for açai."

Really? Well, let's go back to ingredient #2 on their label "agave" which is form of sugar. Why would you bash a juice that uses a juice to sweeten it when you use agave? It makes no sense except to unsuspecting people who buy the marketing hype.

One last thing that appears misleading to me. The top of their bottles say "nature's highest antioxidant fruit". Below that is the name Bossa Nova. To me this looks like they are saying that Bossa Nova is the "highest antioxidant fruit" when in fact that they can only legally and ethically be refering to the Acai berry. Unfortunately it's clear from their own ORAC charts that their Acai is very weak in ORAC at only 167 on the ORAC scale. The 2006 PubMed study of "OptiAcai" came in at 1026 and other Acai in that study was in the 150 to 300 range. So Bossa Nova doesn't appear to have "the highest antioxidant fruit" despite the claim on the label.

I don't mean to pick on Bossa Nova. I'm just pointing out that you can't just read a label or marketing hype and assume you've got the facts. Every juice out there uses the word "only" when they make a claim, unfortunately few of these claims can be substantiated, or have any real meaning. Next time you hear "hype", asked "compared to what" and dig deeper.


All antioxidants not the same

This article from Neutraceuticals World states "it seems every antioxidant has been lumped into one category, even though most have different functions."

I've personally found this confusing... health foods, drinks and supplements touting high ORAC scores, as the be all end all with NO specifics about their benefits - they tout them as cure-alls because of high ORAC scores. But eating Acai alone isn't enough.

The above referenced article states that "a wide range of pigments found in fruits and vegetables have high levels of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins and proanthocyanins." A variety of fruits, with a variety of colors will provide all kinds of antioxidant sources and benefits, vs. just one or two.

Books such as "The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health" by Anne Underwood, James A. Joseph and Daniel A. Nadeau, and "What Color is Your Diet?" by David Heber speak directly to this need.

Few of the new MLM companies seem to have gotten this message. Only a few have several fruits, and fewer still have 10 or more different fruits with a variety of richly colored pigments and antioxidant sources. One size does not fit all, and even the best fruit juices aren't enough either... but it's better than what 95% of the American public is currently getting, especially if they're relying on one or two fruits, or some "goji" only drink (which is only Wolfberry), or just an Acai drink even though Acai is the highest rated fruit on earth for ORAC.

So get your variety... try one with as many nutrient-dense fruits as possible!!!


Comparison of competitive products

Nutrient-dense fruit juices are a fast growing business and more and more competitive products are coming on the market. Some with Acai, some without.

The two things that jump out are that so many are one-fruit products. While Acai is considered more powerful than Goji or Noni or Amalki and so on, any product that only relies on one fruit, even when it's Acai, is missing the main point of all of the research... and that is that a wide variety of fruits with different skin colors (which means different antioxidants) is necessary for optimal health.

In addition, anyone claiming to give you more than 6,000 ORAC per day is probably spiking their drink, and doesn't understand nutrition. Humans need about 4,000 to 7,000 ORAC in total per day. Even the worst eaters are getting some ORAC already, so if a drink says they have 10,000 ORAC or something silly, don't trust anything that product claims!!!

Products with caffeine and sugar are NOT health drinks. They are energy drinks. If you want to drink these, that's your choice, but don't assume that because it has Acai it's healthy. Caffeine and sugar are added to give you a buzz... leave them alone if you're mainly drinking for your health. There are Acai drinks without caffeine and added sugar.

Juice stands or stores are usually full of sugar. Many Jamba juice blends have hundreds and even thousands of calories. Add a dash of Acai powder... and you're still going to get fat if you drink too many of these sugar-filled drinks.

No sediment probably means it's NOT made from the whole fruit... you want the skin, and you want the natural oils (which Acai is full of). If you get a totally clear drink, chances are you're drinking lots of water, and getting more sugar than you want.

So... when choosing an Acai-based multi-fruit juice drink... look for one with the following attributes:
1. no caffeine
2. no added sugar - so the label should be very low in sugar and carbs
3. the first ingredient should be Acai - what's first on the label is the highest concentration ingredient
4. many other fruits should follow on the label - not things like "citric acid" or sugar or something that is not a fruit
5. research how the Acai is sourced - it all comes from the Amazon, but there's more to it than that
6. research how the Acai is processed - it starts to degrade almost immediately, so when and how are important questions to get quality Acai
7. given the above, cheap probably does mean cheaper lower quality. It's a shame you have to pay a premium, but Acai is not cheap. So if you find it cheap, ask yourself why?
8. look for something that is not perfectly clear - sediment and oils are good - that's pretty much confirms in a non-scientific way that it's packed full of nutrients. After all, why not remove it if it's not good for you since everyone would rather drink a non-pulpy sediment free drink.

So shop around. Don't settle for any old Acai-based drink. And if it does not have Acai in it, you are not getting the "#1 Super Fruit" on earth.