Juice Plus is a dietary supplement containing encapsulated whole fruit and vegetable concentrate. It is marketed as a way to get in daily doses of fruits and veggies (and essential nutrients found in these nutritious foods) when your diet might otherwise be lacking. However, as with other dietary supplements, weighing potential benefits with risks is crucial.
Is Juice Plus a Scam?
Controversy exists over whether or not Juice Plus is a scam, but creators of this product aren't necessarily scamming you. Juice Plus holds a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+, and numerous studies show beneficial effects of Juice Plus on health outcomes. For example, a 2011 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise says Juice Plus helps lower oxidative stress. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found supplementing with fruit and vegetable juice concentrate helps reduce body fat and improve insulin resistance in overweight boys.
Can It Treat Cancer?
If you're taking Juice Plus to help treat or reduce your risk for cancer, don't get your hopes up. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says Juice Plus doesn't prevent or treat cancer. A 2009 review in Integrative Oncology reports that while some studies show Juice Plus reduces DNA damage and oxidative stress, it shouldn't be used as a substitute for fresh fruits and veggies. In fact, authors of the review say Juice Plus may interfere with chemotherapy and shouldn't be taken during cancer treatment because antioxidants might protect tumor cells in addition to healthy cells.
What's in It?
Juice Plus is a nutritional product containing a variety of (30 or more) fruit, vegetable, and grain concentrates, which are made into capsules. Juice Plus claims to help you meet daily nutritional needs when your diet lacks whole foods like fruit and vegetables. Antioxidant-rich Juice Plus markets "whole food" based nutrition, according to the company website. However, while you'll be getting certain vitamins and minerals present in whole foods, Juice Plus lacks fiber and other essential nutrients.
Is It Beneficial?
Juice Plus website claims the product isn't meant to cure or treat diseases. However, it does provide you with essential vitamins and minerals you might not be getting enough of, like antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Consuming antioxidants from foods may help prevent oxidative stress and lower disease risks but taking high doses of antioxidant supplements can be problematic.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says high-dose antioxidant supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers, prostate cancer, bleeding, and stroke. Juice Plus may also interact with certain medications and can cause stomach discomfort or a hive-like rash, according to the 2009 review in Integrative Oncology. That's why you should always check with your doctor before taking Juice Plus or any other dietary supplements.
Is Juice Plus a Complete Food?
Despite claims, Juice Plus is not a whole food and isn't the best choice for a multivitamin supplement. The product provides certain vitamins and minerals but not others and lacks fiber from whole foods. When choosing a multivitamin supplement to meet your body's needs, look for a more well-balanced product containing all essential vitamins and minerals. Does this mean Juice Plus is a scam? Not really. It's just another product you should research before falling for marketing hype.
Is It Safe?
Because dietary supplements aren't regulated tightly by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like foods are, you can't always be sure what's listed on supplement labels is really what you're getting. However, Juice Plus holds an NSF seal, which means it undergoes independent testing to ensure strict quality guidelines and standards are met during processing. You should still chat with your doctor before trying Juice Plus, especially if you're taking medications or suffer from health conditions like cancer.
Is Juice Plus Right for Me?
Juice Plus isn't a substitute for whole foods and doesn't treat illnesses. It's simply a product intended to add nutrients (you may or may not already be getting) and supplement your usual diet. Do you need Juice Plus to be healthy? Probably not. A healthy diet containing whole, fresh foods supplies most of your nutritional needs. A well-balanced, quality multivitamin supplement helps you get what your diet lacks. The bottom line is while Juice Plus may boost your intake of certain nutrients, you can't fix a poor diet by simply popping a pill.