acerola-powder-v2Why? The ingredients.

Here are the ingredients for the  Garden Blend Chewables:

Tapioca Syrup, Maltodextrin in the form of Fibersol-2, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Vegetabe Juice Powder and Pulp from Carrot, Parsley, Beet, Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Tomato, Oat Brand, Rice Bran, and Garlic, Pictin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Color in the from of Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Elderberry, and/or Annatto, Natural Cherry Flavor, Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Lactic Acid, Glucommanan, d-aplha Tocopheryl Succcinate, Natural Blend Coating, Folic Acid

The Orchard Blend and Vineyard Blend have similar ingredients. The Fruit Juice Powder and Pulp in the Orchard Blend is from Apple, Orange, Cranberry, Beet Root, Pineapple, Acerola Cherry, Peach, Papaya, Date and Prune. It also contains Citrus Biofavonoids and it’s natural color is from Annatto, which is different than the Garden Blend. The Vineyard Blend has it’s Fruit Juice Powder and Pulp from Concord Grape, Blueberry, Cranberry, Blackberry, Bilberry, Raspberry, Red Currant, Black Currant, Elderberry, Pomegranate, Green Tea, Ginger Root and Grape Seed. It also contains Cocoa Polyphenols, Mixed Tocopherols, and Tangeretin, which differs from the Garden Blend. Note that the fruits and vegetables aren’t listed as organic.

Juice Plus+ states that their products are “the next best thing to fruits and vegetables.”  We don’t agree and here’s why:

Tapioca syrup is chemically refined high fructose.

Dr. Tunis lists tapioca syrup as one of the 8 fake names for high fructose corn syrup. As Dr. Mercola reports in his article on the topic, biochemist Russ Bianchi from Soquel, California warns about some of the deceptive ways that fructose is hidden in your foods:

Watch out also folks for hidden and chemically refined high fructose that is even more concentrated and health damaging (diabetes, cardio vascular disease, cancer, hypoglycemia, Syndrome X, obesity, etc.) intentionally mislabeled, or deceptively legally noncompliant like: ‘chicory’, ‘inulin’, ‘iso glucose’, ‘glucose-fructose syrup’, ‘dahlia syrup’, ‘tapioca syrup’, ‘glucose syrup’, ‘corn syrup’, ‘crystalline fructose’ and flat out fraud ‘fruit fructose’, or criminally prosecuted and non Generally Recognized As Safe human red blood membrane cell destroying, and spontaneous abortion triggering, ‘agave’ …

So, what’s wrong with high fructose corn syrup? Read this article on the topic by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

We don’t recommend maltodextrin in any form.

Maltodextrin is a starch-derived food additive that is commonly used as a thickening, coating or filling agent. It’s found in thousands of food items including sports drinks, artificial sweeteners, potato chips, salad dressing and beer. Christine McDonald, PhD, a researcher links maltodextrin to digestive problems. As Natural News reports, virtually all the maltodextrin used throughout the natural products industry is genetically modified. The Amateur Food Detective reports: “Maltodextrin has a higher glycemic index than table sugar and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. One caveat: there is a type of maltodextrin that is called “starch resistant maltodextrin.” This has a lower glycemic index and doesn’t cause the huge spike in blood sugar levels. But the majority of food containing maltodextrin is not starch resistant.”

Fibersol-2 digestion-resistant maltodextrin is a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent containing 90 percent dietary fiber. Fibersol-2, digestion resistant maltodextrin, is a spray-dried powder produced by a proprietary method of controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch. It has numerous starch linkages that remain undigested by enzymes of the human digestive tract. Why would we want to ingest a food product we can’t digest?

Evaporated cane juice is just sugar, even if it’s organic.

As the the Authority Nutrition writes in 6 Healthy Sugars That Can Kill You

I often see “evaporated cane juice” on processed food labels. Don’t be fooled by the name … evaporated cane juice is just a fancy name for sugar. This is plain deception by the food manufacturers, done in order to hide the true sugar content of foods from the consumer. Really …  if you see “evaporated” and “juice” in the same word on an ingredients label, it should make you wonder what else the manufacturer is trying to hide from you. When the sweetener reaches your intestine and liver, your body won’t recognize any difference between “evaporated juice” and plain old sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

So the first three ingredients in these Juice Plus+ products are essentially different forms of sugar.

We are also concerned about ascorbic acid and folic acid.

Ascorbic acid is actually a synthetic form of vitamin C. Almost all vitamin C supplements on the market use ascorbic acid.  What’s worse is that ascorbic acid is not just synthetic.  It is also usually derived from genetically modified corn! The Winter 2009 edition of the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Tradition Journal cites 3 studies which give pause about large doses of vitamin C. The first study from the Jun 15, 2001 issue of Science showed that “synthetic vitamin C may contribute to the formation of genotoxins that can lead to cancer”.  A second study presented to the American Heart Association showed a link between consumption of only 500mg of vitamin C per day and a greater propensity toward thickening of the arteries [Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2000]. Even more recently, athletes taking 1000 mg of vitamin C per day showed reduced endurance capacity from interference with antioxidant enzymes [American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 2008]. Instead of ascorbic acid we recommend acerola berries, which can be consumed in powdered form. I wrote an article about it that I recommend you read: Vitamin C in Acerola Cherries.

Folic Acid is the synthetic version of folate.  Read another article I wrote about why we don’t recommend folic acid and what foods you can consume for folate. I have not investigated some of the other ingredients listed because I think I’ve made enough of a case for why we don’t recommend this product. I do want to add that the Juice Plus+ Complete Shakes‘s first ingredient is soy, which we don’t recommend. Lastly, I haven’t investigated their processing methods which may be another concern altogether, if it entails high heat and pressure.

But, what if my children don’t eat vegetables? Isn’t this better than nothing?

Our response would be no, we wouldn’t recommend Juice Plus+ even if your children don’t eat a single vegetable. Some in our community are concerned that their children don’t enjoy and won’t eat vegetables. Dr. Thomas Cowan, MD, writes, “Because children have a relative paucity of the enzyme that converts B-carotene into vitamin A, children younger than five years generally do not do well with vegetables. I tell all my parents not to worry about their children not liking vegetables, as this is normal in this stage of life. In fact, because they are slow in this enzymatic conversion, perhaps it is best left to the cow to do this conversion and for the child to eat butter and cream. This is actually probably more as nature intended it anyway.” We recommend Dr. Cowan’s book, The Fourfold Path to Healing via our Amazon affiliation. He also co-authored the Nourishing Traditions of Baby & Child Care.

Our response to Juice Plus+? Just eat real food.

[Update. We had a community member request that I add an alternative choice to this article.  There is not an alternative we would recommend. We recommend whole foods, traditionally prepared. Animal foods are much more nutrient dense than plant foods. I would recommend offal such as chicken liver pâté or cod liver oil to boost the nutrients in our diet over any powered plant food product. Here is the list of super foods offered by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Also, folks have pointed out that I listed the ingredients for the chewables and not the capsules. The capsule ingredients do include folic acid, which we don’t recommend , in addition to other synthetic vitamins such as calcium ascorbate which is a combination of calcium and a form of vitamin C we suggest people avoid.  We would not recommend the capsules, the chewables, the bars or the shakes.]

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!