So what is in acai berries that provides sustained energy?
Fibre and carbohydrates, however these don't provide sustained energy in all foods. Carbs, when eaten, delivery sugar into the blood. Certain Carbs cause the sugar to be released very fast, and others more slowly. The glycemic Index (GI) measures the rate of sugar rise caused after a food is consumed. If the GI is low then the food is digested and absorbed more slowly, delivering a slower rise in blood sugar. Foods such as highly processed bread and lollies cause blood sugar to increase very fast.
In order to keep the body healthy blood sugar levels must be kept at a normal level. If they rise it stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin, which is the substance that communicates to the cells to start absorbing sugar, in turn causing blood sugar levels to reduce. Foods that are high in GI cuase extra amounts of insulin which results in too much sugar being absorbed after the sugar rush, depleting blood sugar far below the normal level. This then causes the familiar low that people experience after a sugar rush.
Acai berries have been tested by some companies in Australia and have been found to have a Glycemic Load (GL) of 0.5. GL is a more recent and more accurate way to measure the effect of particular carbs in the blood. It gives a more complete picture than GI as it is also calculated taking into account the actual amount of Carbs that have been consumed. A Gl of 11 or less is considered a low level, and so a food with such a result helps to control blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Acai berries have a GL of 0.5, which means it can delver sustained energy.
The dietary fibre in Acai acts like a sponge, mixes with all the digestive juices in our bodies binding to the good eaten, and helps to slow down digestion. Instead of getting a sugar rush after a meal, the sugar is released slowly, providing sustained energy! This also helps control appetite and delays hunger. Which means that it may help prevent weight gain and therefore the risk of obesity.
The majority of the energy in acai berries actually comes not from high GL sources, it is derived from the healthy omega 6 and 9 fats, so acai is one food that can be eaten without any guilt! It can help people feel full due to the fibre content and also provide sustained energy.