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A Case Study: Juice Plus

August 25, 2009

A Case Study: Juice Plus

by Isadore Rosenfeld

In 1994, when I was Health Editor of Vogue magazine. I read a report that Juice Plus contains many of the important nutritional constituents of the fresh fruits and vegetables from which it is made. I hadn’t heard of anything like it before (frankly, I never really looked!). In any event,  I decided to try it since I was not consuming enough of the natural products in my daily diet. Since then, most of my family and I have been taking these capsules regularly. Subsequently, I learned that several randomized, double blinded, and placebo-controlled studies had been done on this product and the findings were, for the most part, consistent with the current scientific thinking that fruits and vegetables are good for you.

Just for the record, I have never had any financial interest in the company other than having been being paid for two unrelated talks at their company meetings some 10 and 14 years ago.

Let me emphasize that these capsules are not a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. They are not meant to be taken instead of food, but only to complement a diet that does not contain them in optimum amounts. The innumerable anecdotal stories of how well people feel are not a substitute for scientific studies, of which there are several valid ones.

Juice Plus is very effectively marketed, and its sales personnel are inspired and enthusiastic. From time to time, I hear some questions raised about whether Juice Plus is all it’s cracked up to be usually from a competitor – (whether they identify themselves as such or not). That’s part of the game in a free society. One of the criticisms is that much of the clinical research conducted on this product has been funded by NSA, its manufacturer. That’s essentially true. However, it’s reasonable for manufacturers to sponsor research on their products as long as the conclusions are subject to the checks and balances of internal review boards and their conclusions are reviewed by a peer review panel of scientists prior to publication. Although some of the clinical research conducted on this product has been funded by NSA, I understand that there is at least one ongoing clinical trial currently being done by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

I have heard complaints that Juice Plus has little or no fiber. That’s true because water and some of the fiber in the fruits and vegetables is removed in order to convert the juice into a concentrated powder. While some fiber is restored to the capsule, it is not marketed either as a fiber supplement or as a substitute for eating more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Given the high cost of prescription drugs, the growing awareness of the connection between diet and disease, and the growing number of nutritional products on the market today, Americans should take a look at supplements such as Juice Plus – but it’s important to do it correctly. And pay no attention to information written by anyone who chooses to remain anonymous.

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