Juice cleanses, SoulCycle and coconut oil are just a few of the recent health and wellness trends that have dominated not just our Instagram feed but our lives. While most fitness fads are short lived, it seems as though the latest phenomenon, the açaí bowl, might be here to stay. With its ~seemingly~ nutritious ingredients and refreshing taste, it’s no wonder it leaves you feeling satisfied for treating your body right. But is the açaí bowl actually a healthy addition to your diet, or is it just stylish? Turns out, the trendiest treat around is more of a dessert than a meal. #yikes

An acai bowl is best described as an oversized smoothie that

you scarf down with a spoon rather than a straw. It’s garnished with granola, honey, fruit, peanut butter etc.. depending on your specific order. It’s delicious, and extremely trendy. With its colourful base and aesthetically pleasing array of toppings, it’s tempting to order an açaí bowl, crank up the saturation, and post to Instagram. 

wheat, nut, milk, sweet, corn, granola, muesli, cereal
Nikki D'Ambrosio

At the University of Richmond, it’s especially easy to bypass d-hall and drive/uber two minutes off campus to grab Starbucks and a bowl from Ginger Juice, where you’ll typically see girls post workout with yoga mats in tow. Maybe it’s categorised as a basic meal, but who cares because so is avocado toast which is equally as mouthwatering. At Ginger Juice, a variety of cleanses and ginger shots are available on the menu, two juices notoriously raved about by Instagram fitness models, with açaí bowls located directly below. Açaí bowls, in my opinion, are far and away the superior option.


The açaí berry itself is marketed as a ‘superfruit’, meaning it’s supposed to contain substantial health benefits. It is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and even some healthy fats. In moderation, the açaí berry can be incredibly nourishing in a well balanced diet according to Marcia Silkroski, Licensed Dietitian. If you’d rather only know these favorable facts and would like to continue worshiping the açaí bowl, I recommend exiting this article now.

burrito, chicken, salad, pepper, vegetable
Alex Frank

What's the problem?

The problem is, the açaí bowl is basically a smoothie on steroids. Since the berry is so on-trend, it’s being overused in these bowls to the point where the portions have too much sugar to be sustainably healthy. For women, The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per day. Açaí bowls can range from 26 to 65 grams of sugar (depending on the varying vendor and toppings, it could even be more or less). To put this in perspective, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate ice cream has 25 grams of sugar. Even though the açaí bowl is a fruit sugar, Silkroski advises that since the sugar intake is more in one bowl than a woman is supposed to ingest per day, the açaí bowl is probably not beneficial on a routine basis.

To the açaí bowl fanatics, don’t lose hope just yet. Past Playa Bowls employee, Gillian Keenaghan, learned a few secrets to transform your açaí bowl order from a trend to a lifestyle when taking the orders of health conscious, super fit women this summer. She recommends the pitaya berry as a low sugar alternative for your bowl’s base, or to order your bowl without certain sugary toppings, like granola. Or, you can order it when you’re craving a dessert rather than a hearty dinner.

Like all trends, the hype should eventually shrink. It will be forgotten in the land where nutritional trends like frozen yogurt go to die. But if you’re currently obsessed with açaí bowls like me, you’re just going to slightly modify your order or portion size, and strive to singlehandedly keep açaí bowls relevant.