Stroll through the supplement aisle of any drugstore or fitness shop, and you're bound to see pills hailing green tea and acai as the answers to your weight woes. Despite these claims, however, neither of these ingredients is likely to do much for your waistline, whether you consume them in natural or pill form. Your best bet is to focus on a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program -- and if you do go for supplements, get your doctor's OK first.
So far, no food or supplement has been shown to magically torch body fat, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And because neither green tea nor acai is shown to produce significant weight-loss results, it's difficult to declare a winner. That said, green tea has been studied far more extensively than acai, and it does seem to provide a slight metabolism boost when combined with a reduced-calorie diet. If you prefer small but better-researched results over a complete unknown, therefore, green tea may be the better choice.
All About Acai
Commonly found in supplements, juices and other packaged products, acai berries have high levels of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from free-radical damage. However, no independent, peer-reviewed studies link the berries to weight loss or other health benefits, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In addition, the Better Business Bureau warns of deceptive advertising techniques through which some acai marketers pose as trusted news sources or make unsubstantiated health claims. Due to the lack of research, the safety of acai supplements is also unclear.
Going Green Tea
Like acai, green tea is rich in antioxidants; unlike acai, there's a veritable library of research on its effect on weight. In a review published in "The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews" in 2012, researchers looked at clinical studies on both weight loss and maintenance and determined that green tea provided a small, statistically insignificant increase in weight loss but did not help prevent the weight from returning. While adding a cup or two of green tea to your diet is probably safe -- and is even considered healthy -- supplements are highly concentrated and in rare cases have been linked to liver damage, according to NCCAM.
Meaningful Weight Loss
You can't count on either green tea or acai to induce weight loss, but you can rely on a sensible eating and exercise program. To successfully slim down, cut fast food and desserts from your diet, and instead eat modest portions of unrefined foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, fish and tofu. In addition, engage in physical activities such as jogging, swimming or playing tennis most days of the week, and lift weights or perform other strength-training exercises two to three times weekly. This plan will help you burn more calories than you eat -- the only surefire way to lose weight.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Staying Away From Fad Diets
- The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Green Tea for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Overweight or Obese Adults
- Concordia College Department of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Astounding Acai Berry
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Weight Loss and Complementary Health Practice: What the Science Says
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Better Business Bureau: BBB Warns of Phony Acai Berry Weight Loss Products