Acai juice versus the free radicals

The acai berry is all the rage these days because it is a marvelous antioxidant. We want antioxidants in our diet because they fight free radicals, those nasty little molecules that cause everything from premature aging to heart disease.

Of course, you can also get antioxidants from other sources, including pomegranates and blueberries. But Acai is supposed to be an especially rich source of antioxidants.

So today we're going to take a look at an acai juice.

Say hello to my little friend
Welcome to Bossa nova acai juice, an acai-based juice that comes in five flavors. The one we tried is the Bossa nova raspberry acai juice.

Ingredients first, please
wild-harvested acai juice, organic agave, raspberry juice from concentrate and natural flavors

Nice short list. Which is good. But what is that I see? Not one but two sugars. If you don't see them, hang on and I'll point them out.

Sugars for days
Companies jumping on the healthy bandwagon like to use agave nectar (as well as related sugars, such as brown rice syrup) because they tend not to give you the drastic highs and lows that other sugars, such as white sugar, can give. Which is a good thing. But sugars are still sugars, providing minimal, if any, nutrients and delivering calories galore. Which is a bad thing. So, while it is nice that agave and other related sugars tend to give us less of a roller coaster ride, they are still sugar and they can still make us fat.

And while we're speaking sugars, let's look at fruit concentrates such as "raspberry juice from concentrate." To make this concentrate, they take a nice, healthy fruit and cook it and cook it until you end up with what is essentially fruit flavored sugar. So any time you see "juice from concentrate," think sugars.

Which is how half of a four-ingredient list is pure sugars.

But how does it taste?
As usual, we turned to the husband to act as taste tester. And here is what he had to say:
"I was expecting it to be bitter, but it is good. Not terribly sweet, but good. But it doesn’t taste much like anything you ever tasted. It tastes vaguely like very weak strawberry juice, but only vaguely. It goes down smoothly, but it leaves this odd, dry aftertaste."

First he polished off the bottle. Then he told me not to get any more. Then he asked me to make some lemonade. At least in that I can control the amount of sugar.