Science or Fiction?
I have been asked several times to write a post on Juice
Plus+ and I have been dragging my heels on it for two reasons:
I started writing it ages ago and managed to
delete all the research (Whhhaaaaa)
I don’t want to get sued
But it has been requested again and I am not one to shy away
from a challenge (legal or otherwise) so here we go.
Juice Plus+ is a company who sell really expensive and fancy
looking vitamin supplements claiming to be ‘the next best thing to fruit and
vegetables’ that ‘give you all the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals
you need to manage every day successfully and feel comfortable in your own skin.’
Supplements that will make me more successful and comfortable
in my own skin!?! Sounds magical, I shall take them just before I leap on my
unicorn to go to my job as a pig flying coach!
Juice Plus+ are promoting their products as providing high
doses of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Let’s look at antioxidants first.
Juice Plus+ Premium is a trio of supplements, you are
supposed to take 6 capsules once per day, 2 berry capsules, 2 vegetable
capsules and 2 fruit capsules. The
capsules are made from a powdered blend of fruit, vegetables or berries
depending on the capsule.
Now antioxidants are quite magical and they include vitamins vitamin A, C and E. They’re a bit like little nutritional fairies that
go around your body erasing the mistakes you make. For example, too much sun on
your skin causes free radical damage to your skin which makes it age.
Antioxidants sweep up these free radicals and try to erase the mistakes so
getting plenty of antioxidants from fruit and vegetables is a good thing.
The dose from Juice Plus+ will give you the following
Now, you may be thinking “Wow look how high the doses are,
that must be good for me”. The truth is that in a 2012 review of all the
reviews looking at high dose antioxidant vitamin supplementation the authors
concluded the following:
“We found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for
primary or secondary prevention (of disease). Beta-carotene and vitamin E seem
to increase mortality, and so may
higher doses of vitamin A. Antioxidant supplements need to be considered as
medicinal products and should undergo sufficient evaluation before marketing.”
In case you weren’t aware, ‘increase mortality’ means
increases your chances of dying. The worry over vitamin A is the reason why it
is a much lower dose than anything else in there.
The truth is, our bodies can only really cope with so much
antioxidant. Excessive supplementation is more harmful than beneficial and by
taking them in a capsule, you’re missing out on all the fibre and deliciousness
that fruit and vegetable offer.
Interestingly, Juice Plus+ supplements don’t even give you
any of the other good stuff you need like minerals and trace elements so
actually it is just a big dose of a few things that are easily available in
your everyday diet and you’ll pay £57.75 per month for the privilege.
By comparison, you can buy a multivitamin from Pound World
(for £1) which gives you 100% of your needs of all your basic vitamins and
minerals including vitamins C, E, A and Folic acid.
Juice Plus+ have some
great studies on their website which I really like. They are basically telling
us what we already know and that is that vitamins C, E and folic acid are good
for all of the important functions in our bodies. They haven’t found anything
new and they certainly haven’t proven that the vitamins in Juice Plus+ are
superior to Pound World vitamins.
Juice Plus+ have used the word ‘phytonutrients’ quite
sparingly on their website but it is actually an interesting area and one where
they might (MIGHT) actually have an edge over their competitors.
Phytonutrients are these little chemicals that are a bit like
vitamins and minerals but smaller and less well understood. They live in fruit,
vegetables wholegrains and nuts and seem to have lots of important roles in
maintaining healthy body function and preventing and fighting disease.
Phytonutrients are under careful investigation at the moment.
Scientists are trying to pull out the individual phytonutrients and play around
with the dosages to see if they can find their medicinal uses. What I
particularly like about phytonutrients though is that they’re pesky (and I like pesky things and being pesky) and are evading our grasp. It would appear
that they all interact together in the magical fruit kingdom and when you
separate them and play around with them they don’t work as effectively and we don’t know why! Sometimes nature knows better than science 🙂
the fruit and vegetables in Juice Plus+ have been manipulated so much to
concentrate them and get them into powder form, the chances of these little
phytonutrients not being damaged is really slim BUT there is a chance that some
of them might still be surviving. That said in reality, the answer is, if you want to
benefit from fruit and vegetables you’ve just got to eat the fruit and
vegetables like a regular human.
Juice Plus+ also do a range of meal replacement products –
meal replacement products warrant a whole post to themselves – and snack bars and
soups and all sorts but in the end, you
are paying a lot of money for processed food. You’d be much better off
eating fresh fruit and vegetables and making your own soups and eating human