Açaí bowls Trend: Yay or Nay?

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May 29, 2019

Açaí bowls Trend: Yay or Nay?

Açaí bowls are the current trend knocking over the health conscious in Singapore. How many times have we scrolled through Instagram and seeing posts after posts of those vibrant Instagram-likes worthy decorated bowls piled with berries, soaked in yoghurt and drizzled through and through with toppings?

In a time-starved working culture in Singapore, it is easy to give in to the hype. After all, an Açaí bowl satisfies your need for hunger and shave off all those guilt. I mean, after 4 hours of inactivity sans the fingers typing at the keyboard, who needs another bowl of bak chor mee as a reminder of your inactivity?

But under the colourful mix of colours are the Açaí bowls really as beneficial as it may seem?

First things first, what is Açaí?

Açaí is a fruit sourced from the South American rainforests. It is packed with inflammation-fighting antioxidants and is super low in sugar compared to most fruits. In fact, it clocks in at just 2 to 3 grams of sugar per serving. The Açaí berries are also known to improve heart health, aids in digestion, improve skin appearance and much other health benefits.

However, reports have shown that in a typical bowl of açaí, majority of it is made up of “pomegranate powder” or “acai berry powder”. Instead of the fruit itself, the processed powders are processed with added sugars. And not forgetting to mention, the bowls are pumped with syrup and honey, then combine with frozen or fresh fruit, nuts, butter and granola, the sugar level in the bowl spiral entirely out of control.

While açaí bowls are high in vitamin C and fibre, the sugar content can go up to as high as a whopping 65 grams of sugar. That’s equivalent to a 600ml of Coca-Cola. A single store-bought portion of açaí bowls potentially contain 50 grams of sugar (the equivalent of 12 teaspoons) or double the sugar recommendation for women for an entire day

In other word, your açaí bowl is a sugar bomb.

Needless to say, high sugar intake has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many more other negative health outcomes.

But if Açaí bowl has gradually become a habit for you, here are 3 tips on how to turn it back into a healthy treat.

  1. DIY
    It’s natural for shops to add additives to keep you coming back. But DIY Açaí bowls are not hard to do and it gives you the option to adjust to your own flavour. Plus point, it’s actually a lot more wallet friendly to DIY as well. A little suggestion from nutritionists for açaí powder is to always look for açaí composition of fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving.
  2. Top up with proteins and fats
    If you are having an açaí bowl for breakfast, you want to make sure it will last you till lunch break. Having proteins and fats are a great way to keep the hunger pangs away as they are converted into energy and will keep you going longer.

    Consider increasing your protein intake in the form of collagen powder, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, and Greek yoghurt. And for fats, consider adding pumpkin seeds, a drizzle of almond butter, or a quarter of an avocado.
  3. Watch Your Bowl Size
    Most of the recipes and photos you find online of Açaí bowls are massive. And that is usually for dramatic effect but most of the added fruits and toppings go way over the recommended serving limit. If sweetness is hard for you to compromise, try halving the portions instead.

Always remember, while Açaí bowls are great as the occasional treat, they are definitely not a meal replacement.

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