Most of you have probably heard of Juice Plus or know someone who sells it as part of a multilevel marketing (or "network marketing") business.
The Juice Plus slogan is: "The next best thing to fruits and vegetables."
It’s true that North Americans don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. And the most commonly consumed vegetable is potatoes. Not that there’s anything wrong with potatoes, but french fries don’t quite compare nutritionally to kale, berries or oranges.
Juice Plus contains concentrates from 30 fruits, veggies and grains (capsules or chews) in Garden Blend, Orchard Blend and Vineyard Blend. To “bridge the gap,” they say.
But what does a registered dietitian (who doesn’t sell Juice Plus) have to say?! Is Juice Plus a scam? Are their claims true? Here is my take on the Pros and Cons of Juice Plus.
1) One major advantage of Juice Plus is that it is just fruits and veggies, with no isolated vitamins and minerals. The phytochemicals in foods work together and you can't add them all to a traditional vitamin and mineral supplement. Because of this, I like the idea of a ‘whole food’ supplement.
2) Juice Plus also has an impressive amount of quality research studies to support that the antioxidants are absorbed, it reduces oxidative stress, helps cardiovascular health and supports healthy skin and gums.
I did hear research was underway on it’s benefits in pregnancy, but can’t seem to find any results. Which might just mean that they weren’t favourable. If you know of something different, please comment below!
3) It's not a substitute for eating fruits or veggies, nor does it claim to be. But Juice Plus could provide worried parents a bit of comfort for a child that does not like fruits or veggies (ok - it's almost always vegetables!).
It doesn't get you out of the parental responsibility of continuing to offer your child vegetables. But your child chooses not to eat them, at least you can be confident they are getting a bit of veggie powder in Juice Plus.
A kids multi containing iron might be more beneficial depending on your child’s diet, but have a dietitian review it to make sure, if you are concerned.
1) Unlike a more comprehensive multivitamin, you may need to take additional essential nutrients as supplements. Such as iron, Omega 3, vitamin D and folic acid, depending on your diet, life stage and health concerns.
2) You have to order in 4 month increments. And both the Orchard and Garden Blends. You can't just order the veggie (Garden) blend, if you think you or your child eats plenty of fruit, but not enough veggies. They get automatically shipped unless you cancel too, which seems a bit scammy.
3) The kid’s gummy chews are sugary. I worry that although Juice Plus claims to strengthen gums and teeth, that the sugar and stickiness of the chews will override this and lead to cavities! I would love to see them sweetened with tooth-friendly xylitol instead.
While there are lots of testimonials about feeling more energy, sleeping better, having healthier teeth and gums.....I didn't notice any health effects.
However, I was not measuring my antioxidant levels or DNA damage. So maybe it was still working at a cellular level?!
I took 2 Garden and 2 Orchard Blend capsules per day, as directed. I found the capsules a bit large and sometimes got stuck in my throat. I suppose this just encourages drinking more water with them! Or you can break them up and put the powder in a smoothie or yogurt or oatmeal.
I have also fed my kids the Juice Plus Chews for months. My 2 year old daughter spit them out about half the time, but my 6 year old son loved them. My son is rarely ever sick and doesn't often catch little sister's colds! I'm not sure if this is due to Juice Plus, but it could be playing a small role.
Have you tried Juice Plus? What do you think of it? Comment below!
And want to know more about family nutrition? Join my free Facebook group "The Nourished Family," for tips to make feeding your family easier.