Recently, my mother in law asked my opinion of Juice Plus, which claims to be a fruit/vegetable replacement in powder/pill form.
For those of you have read my book, The 3/4 Rule, you already know how I feel and think on this topic. In addition to a few reports of gastrointestinal distress and hive-like rash in clinical studies, there is a huge downside to replacing nutrient dense, whole foods, with manufactured powders and pills. It’s like replacing protein from meat, fish and dairy with protein from bread. It’s incomplete and will not support optimum development and metabolism.
Juice Plus website states:
Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables and grains. The problem is that in pill and powder form it is still a synthetic. Typically, when a real food source is processed into pill or powder it fractures the whole food nutrition profile and becomes something less. Similar to making cookies with a few ingredients removed or altered, you produce something other than a fully intact cookie.
Like most products in the nutrition, exercise, weight loss space, JP advocates you eat a “whole food” diet along with taking their supplement. This is the same subtle phrasing used for exercise and weight loss products. Our product will give you results (along with a proper diet and exercise at least 3x p/wk).
What often happens with these types of products, is that even though the product itself is not useful, it can become the catalyst to focus on eating better or exercising more. So the results are not from using the product, but from modifying other habits in your life that truly do have the power to affect change. The product you bought just goes along for the ride, but gets the credit, and your $$$$.
It’s always important to pay attention to the exact wording in advertising and product claims as this is often where we can tell if a product’s claims are valid. From JP’s website, “Findings from the Children’s Health Study show fruit and vegetable nutrition helps kids maintain health and wellness.” Notice how they DID NOT say “Findings…show fruits and veggies in JP helps kids…” This would have been much more powerful language, and if this had been the case, they would be screaming it from the rooftops rather than clever double speak. To my thinking, either they hire really lousy copy/adverting/marketing people, or they chose not to put in print what they cannot support and prove. Their chosen language is a useless generalization that tells you a children’s health study finds kids should eat fruits and vegetables – what an epiphany! However, it did not say, kids should replace their fruits/veggies with pills and powders.
MY OTHER GRIPE:
My Performance Model is rooted in education. Education, whether academic or physical is in part rooted in conditioning. I am not a fan of our kids being conditioned to reach for pills, powders and/or bottles of liquid to replace what is natural, real and does actually provide what their bodies require for optimum development and lifelong health.
THINGS TO CONSIDER ABOUT JUICE PLUS:
- Any research NOT conducted by JP has been unable to produce the same results.
In my opinion, JP pill and powder forms are mostly useless as we require food and their nutritional co-factors to properly metabolize and therefore benefit from vitamins in powder and pill form. I covered this in the “Supplements” section in my book The 3/4 Rule, which you can get here – http://amzn.to/17MIMH6
- One of the problems with processing foods into pills and powders is that it typically fractures the nutrition profile of the food source, in that pieces are lost or cannot be reconnected once separated. It’s like taking some puzzle pieces out a new puzzle and replacing them with shapes that aren’t really the right shape, thickness or color and then trying to construct the puzzle – it doesn’t work very well.
- JP is mostly sold through Multilevel Marketing. I’m always suspect of MLM.
- JP is a supplement. That means no assurances of effects, potency or accuracy. It’s not regulated, so they can say what they want.
- The only organization that states JP’s product tests are valid is JP, the company selling it.
- JP has not tested their product against real fruit and veggies.
- The increased blood levels of beta-carotene, folate (a type of Vit B), Vitamin C and E are no different than what you get from taking a regular vitamin.
- Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables can lower cholesterol levels due to their high fiber content. But JP extract did not appreciably alter cholesterol levels. This is another red flag that JP is not the same as fruits/veggies.
Although there are exceptions, I’m not a fan of most products that try and convince you to buy a replacement for the real thing. Regarding food, I think it’s bad policy and should be reserved for exceptional circumstances – not for the majority. Living by a “whole food” policy means your default daily nutrition is whole food, and fall back on a non whole food replacement when it’s just “one of those days” and you have no other options.
Now go have some real fruit and veggies.