There's a lot to like about the basic idea behind Juice Plus. It is made with fruits and vegetables. Almost all of us need more fruits and vegetables. It is an easy to use beverage, almost as easy as having a V-8 (the fruit and vegetable juice drink that's premade).
People who use the product have lower levels of oxidative stress. Basically, what this means is that their bloodstreams are less likely to convert heavy metals into forms that generate free radicals, and their bodies may produce less inflammation. The product definitely raises levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. There's a common misunderstanding about beta-carotene. It's not really a form of vitamin A. The human body can turn it into vitamin A, however, 16 molecules of beta-carotene to make one molecule of beta-carotene. It's actually safer than if it contained actual vitamin A, which is a highly reactive substance. One of the studies suggests that Juice Plus would reduce inflammation caused by exercise.
The primary problem is that the product has overzealous marketers who make claims that are just plain false. Here are a few:
- Some marketers claim that Juice Plus cures cancer. There is absolutely, positively no evidence that it does. In fact, it probably interferes with cancer treatment. Why? Antioxidants don't just protect healthy cells during cancer treatment. They also protect cancer cells during cancer treatment. In some cases, Juice Plus could cancel out the effects of medically prescribed cancer therapies--and there just isn't any evidence that the product is more effective at fighting cancer than the medications it would replace.
- There is real value in Juice Plus as a very expensive vitamin C and vitamin E supplement. However, it's just not possible to get all the benefits of fruits and vegetables from a supplement. Part of what real, whole foods do is to provide nourishment for probiotic ("friendly") bacteria in the colon. If you don't get real fruits and real vegetables, not a powder or a pill, you aren't feeding your probiotic bacteria. For the $500 to $1000 a year you would spend on this supplement, you could buy the real thing. Real fruits and vegetables provide a greater range of antibiotics, help you control your appetite, give you the potassium you need for healthy blood pressure, and more.
To be fair to Juice Plus, there is a growing number of studies of the product in peer-reviewed, legitimate medical journals that are offering a lot of preliminary evidence that it has considerable benefit in treating gingivitis, homocysteine levels, skin issues, weight gain, prediabetes, and more.
This research is early stages, just a few volunteers, not the kind of "statistical power" that establishes the benefits of the product as scientific fact.
Juice Plus may turn out to be a really great product--but it is not likely to do anything that eating actual fruits and vegetables does not also do. If "real food" isn't for you, go for Juice Plus, but don't use it as alternative medicine, use it as part of your regular nutrition.
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