Acai bowls have become incredibly popular in recent years. Prepared with pureed acai berries, these bowls are served as smoothies of sorbets, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, and other ingredients.
While they may seem healthy since they're based on fruit, you may be wondering if acai bowls are a good addition to a diet aimed at weight loss.
So, what's the verdict? Are acai bowls fattening?
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Are acai bowls fattening?
Acai bowls can be a great addition to a weight loss-friendly diet, but it all depends on how you prepare them. Most commercially sold and made acai bowls are loaded with sugar and carbs as well as calories, so they should be avoided if your goal is weight loss.
On the other hand, if you make your own acai bowl using fresh fruit and low-calorie ingredients, you can safely add this food to your diet and still shed some pounds.
How many calories are in acai bowls?
Depending on how you make your acai bowls, the caloric content will be different each time. A single acai bowl can provide you with anywhere from 200 to 500 calories.
This large difference depends on the additional ingredients you add to your bowl. For example, nuts, dried fruit, and heavy milk or cream are very high in calories.
So, while the purred acai berries might not be too caloric, other ingredients may make your acai bowl less than healthy.
Are acai bowls good for you?
The nutritional profile of your acai bowl depends on the ingredients. Generally, most acai bowls contain good amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients, such as vitamin C, manganese, and potassium.
Since acai bowls are based on acai berries, they are also rich in vitamin A and calcium, which help keep your eyes and bones healthy, preventing various health conditions.
Because of that, acai bowls can be very good for your health as long as you keep them as clean and simple as possible.
Acai berries, which acai bowls are based on, are very rich in antioxidants. These plant compounds help prevent oxidative damage and stress to your cells, reducing your risk of various health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The type of antioxidant found in acai berries is especially good at lowering the levels of 'bad' cholesterol.
It also improves brain function and decreases the growth of cancerous cells in your colon.
Most acai bowls are also high in potassium as the fruits commonly included in them are rich in this mineral.
Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure and protect you against various conditions like age-related bone loss and kidney stones.
This mineral also works are an electrolyte, contributing to good hydration. It also neutralizes the negative effect of dietary sodium on your blood pressure, reducing your risk of strokes.
As you can see, having an occasional acai bowl can help you load up on potassium and reap these health benefits.
On the other hand, acai bowls tend to be very high in sugar, especially those commercially made.
Eating a lot of sugar-rich foods can not only lead to weight gain but also increase your risk of diabetes, high blood sugar levels, and various other conditions.
One way to avoid taking in too much sugar from acai bowls is to make them yourself. That way, you can ensure not to use any sweeteners and include low-sugar fruits and other ingredients.
What's more, you might want to replace some high-sugar fruits with other alternatives, such as healthy nuts and seeds.
Should you eat acai bowls if you're trying to lose weight?
As mentioned above, whether your acai bowl is fattening depends on the ingredients you add to it. For example, a single packet of acai puree usually contains around 70 calories.
So, that's not a lot. Now, the problem starts when you start adding various other ingredients.
For example, mixing your acai powder with coconut milk or other high-calorie liquids can drastically increase the caloric content of the acai bowl.
So, try sticking to low-calorie kinds of milk, such as almond milk, or simply use water.
When it comes to toppings, make sure to limit how many seeds and nuts you include. These tend to be high in calories and fat, which can prevent weight loss and even lead to weight gain.
So, try to measure these ingredients with spoons to ensure how many you're actually adding.
What's more, make sure to stick to fruits that are lower in sugar, such as apples, blueberries, raspberries, and kiwis.
These still provide you with delicious flavor but are less likely to lead to weight gain.
Another thing to keep in mind is to watch the size of your bowl. It's very easy to overdo it, even on whole foods and healthy ingredients.
Unfortunately, a typical portion size of an acai bowl is way more than the standard serving you should have per single meal.
So, it might be best to make acai bowls yourself. That way, you can not only control the number of calories you're taking in, but you can also adjust the ingredients to what you like.
Making your own acai bowls can also decrease how much sugar you consume, as it's mostly blended fruit.
To balance out the sugar commonly found in acai bowls in large quantities, try adding some fresh greens like spinach and kale.
If you blend these leafy greens into your acai mix, you can get more fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients than you would have otherwise.
In addition, including fresh veggies doesn't add any calories but makes your acai bowl even healthier.
When doing that, try adding more protein-rich ingredients, which will help stabilize your blood sugar levels too.
Acai bowls can be a great addition to a healthy diet. But if you're trying to lose weight, make sure to control the portion size, ingredients, and toppings of your acai bowl.
This is important as most commercially made acai bowls are very high in sugar and calories, contributing to weight gain.
So, if you're looking to shed some pounds, look for a low-calorie, cleaner alternative to acai bowls.