Açai berry bowls have caught on like wildfires in the world of health. There are really no surprises there because these red smoothie bowls are filled with tasty antioxidants. Who hasn’t come across at least one photograph of a colorful, fruity, and nutty açai berry bowl when you wake up?
These açai berry bowls are meant to be convenient and easy to whip up as your go-to breakfast. Well, this is what is usually expected of any Instagrammable fitness star to do. I think that the craze about these bowls is not due to the health benefits of antioxidants the açai berry contains. It’s likely got much more to do with how beautiful and delicious they look to eat upon presentation.
But, before you go off and cut anything ‘açai’ out of your diet, açaí berries on their own are really good for you. They contain a significant amount of nutrients, which include essential vitamins
and some helpful fiber
Açai Berry Bowls Are Not What You Think
You know that saying, ‘everything is not always as it seems.’ Well, as bizarre as a comparison that might be…It is pretty true when it comes to many of these smoothie bowl foodie fads. Often, we’re too quick to jump onto the ‘health’ bandwagon because we’re constantly told that something is really ‘healthy’ for us.
However, too much of anything is never good for you. Usually, when an ingredient becomes commercialized due to increased popularity, the good and nutritious qualities of these ingredients become watered down. Have you ever tasted an açai berry bowl? If you have, then you’d agree with me in saying that they are deliciously sweet and that it’s almost crazy to think they’re healthy. Hmm. That’s when the lightbulb should start to switch on.
Raw açai berry powder itself is not sweet. It has a faint berry taste that is a little sour to the tongue. Yet, when you indulge in these bowls there are little signs of them being sour.
That’s because, chances are, you’re not getting a bowl full of berries. Instead, you’re likely eating an açaí berry powder that’s been sweetened or mixed with nut milk
. Did you think that was sweet enough? Well, the powder is then combined with copious amounts of fruit, coconut shavings, nut butter, cocoa nibs, and other health-store go-to’s.
Okay, but what’s bad about that since these ingredients are so good for you?
Your Tummy Starts To Grumble
It’s not that these ingredients are bad for you. However, they’re not really paired in the best way and won’t fill you up for long. Additionally, the combination of high-sugar foods will cause your blood sugar levels to spike. This will most likely leave you feeling really hungry, not long after eating the açai berry bowl.
In addition, these bowls are often lacking a very important macronutrient known as protein
. It’s very important to include a source of protein in your meals because it provides your body with sustained energy and makes you feel full for much longer. If you were thinking about grabbing an açai berry bowl at the local café for breakfast, give it a skip and get the eggs or the oats instead!
These are healthier, more satisfying breakfast options and have been for years. There is a reason why our ancestors didn’t live on smoothie bowls.
A Smoothie Sugar Bomb
Sugar is and has been a major concern for health experts for a while now. The American Heart Association says that açaí berry bowls can contain up to 50g of sugar, or double their recommended amount for women for an entire day.
Moreover, Ilana Muhlstein, RD, tells Shape
that certain açai berry bowls can contain between 18 and 67 grams of sugar! Most of them have very little to no protein at all. Luckily, most of that sugar
is coming from fruit, which means there is enough fiber to keep the sugar from being digested too quickly and overload your system. But if weight loss or management is your goal, you don’t need all that sugar, even if it is from a natural source.
That being said, these bowls still contain good, healthy ingredients, which makes them a better option than some. If, for example, you’re stuck choosing between a chocolate bar and an açai berry bowl, then I’d say that the bowl is a much better option. The issue is that most people tend to eat far too much-refined sugar, which is exacerbated by eating a sugar-filled bowl.
Eat Em’ Or Skip Em?’
If you’re acai-crazy then I would never tell you that you need to stop eating them.
As I said, açai berry powder is in fact really good for you, However, what I’d recommend is that you prepare your own bowl rather than ordering one from a restaurant, unless you are clear about how they prepare the bowl. The best thing to do is to purchase a natural, unsweetened açai berry powder and add it to your normal smoothie in a blender. Be sure to keep your fruit portion sizes mindful and keep an eye on your sugar consumption.
Lastly, ask yourself how these smoothie bowls make you feel. Everybody is different, and we all have different energy requirements. However, with little to no protein and the likely addition of lots of sugar, you might want to eat another one almost instantly. Beware of this, especially if you’re thinking of your bowl as a pre – or post-workout snack.
Therefore, açai berry bowls are not the worst kind of food you can eat. However, I wouldn’t necessarily consider the bowl as an everyday meal. If you simply like to indulge in a smoothie bowl at a restaurant now and then, it would be best to consider the bowl as a treat rather than a nutritious, ‘healthy’ option. Because it is usually more calorie-dense than your daily salad, it’s something you can indulge in, which will still be good for you.
Honestly, açai berry bowls are tasty! You can include protein into your own renditions. Try to add in a scoop of protein powder, Greek yogurt, or even some nut butter. Click here
for a recipe on how to make the perfect post-workout açai bowl.