While you guys probably already know that I’m not a fan of meal replacement shakes (Herbalife, Isagenix, BeachBody, Advocare, Shakeology), you may not know that I am a fan of supplements. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not possible to supplement your way out of a bad diet, but specific supplements (that are food based) often make a great addition to a healthy diet.
So this Juice Plus review is going to be a bit different because they offer supplements as well as protein shakes and “nutrition bars.” And I like supplements. For the most part. But I don’t like JP supplements.
ORCHARD & GARDEN BLEND CAPSULES
ORCHARD AND GARDEN BLEND CHEWABLES (ADULT)
Looks good right? Vegetable powder, pineapple, cherry, peach, date?! That’s a lot of fruit. But there’s one big ol’ problem with this: folic acid.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is naturally found in food. This is a huge problem. Folate is a naturally occurring water soluble B vitamin. Folic acid, however, is a synthesized form of folate that the body is unable to properly absorb or utilize.
In fact, folic acid supplementation has even been linked to cancer.
…in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. “The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.
Another study out of Chile linked folic acid supplementation with an increased risk of colon cancer.
And yet another study out of Norway linked folic acid supplementation with a 21% increase in lung caner.
Folic acid and B12 supplementation was associated with a 21% increased risk for cancer, a 38% increased risk for dying from the disease, and an 18% increase in deaths from all causes.
While folate is a necessary part of a balanced diet, folic acid has actually been linked to increased rates of cancer (another source for ya).
As for the protein shakes, I think it’s interesting that I could easily look at and pull up the ingredient lists for the above products, but the text was much smaller for these, not to mention that I wasn’t able to take a screen shot but instead had to hold the mouse down to keep the ingredient list enlarged and take a picture with my phone.
COMPLETE VARIETY DRINK MIX
SPICED APPLE + RAISIN NUTRITION BARS
I f*ucking hate soy. And you should too. Here’s why.
First, let’s clear up the idea that Eastern countries have been eating soy for thousands of years. Yes, Asian countries in particular eat soy. No, they do not eat soy the way Westerners do. Only recently has soy become a replacement staple for meat. Asian countries consume soy as a condiment. In soy sauce, in miso soup, in aminos. They almost always ferment their soy which reduces the enzyme inhibitors, goitrogens and phytic acid that is naturally present in soy.
In the US, soy is not only one of the highest GMO crops (upward of 90%), it is also eaten as a staple. It’s in junk food. It’s in health food. This is because of a genius stroke of marketing. What do you do with a crop as useless as soy? You convince people it’s healthy. You extract the oil from it using a process of extremely high heat, hexane (a neurotoxin) and bleaching. Then with the leftover trash from this process, you create soy protein – what you find in meat substitutes and cheap protein shakes (except Juice Plus isn’t so cheap).
This study found that,
“…this pilot study indicates that prolonged consumption of soy protein isolate has a stimulatory effect on the premenopausal female breast, characterized by increased secretion of breast fluid, the appearance of hyperplastic epithelial cells, and elevated levels of plasma estradiol. These findings are suggestive of an estrogenic stimulus from the isoflavones genistein and daidzein contained in soy protein isolate.“
Soy is high in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Majority of Americans already have a high omega-6 intake and a low omega-3 intake. This is one of the reasons heart disease is the top killer in our country. A high omega-6 intake can negatively influence gene expression and lead to the formation of many diseases including atherosclerosis (source).
Phytic Acid & Goitrogens
Soy is high in phytic acid, also known as phytates. These phytates prevent the absorption of minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorous (among others). This can be particularly problematic, especially for children.
Soy is also high in goitrogens which can interfere with the thyroid hormone, leading to hypothroidism and even cancer.
Hormones, Phytoestrogen, Cancer
Soy is high in phytoestrogen (source). This can interfere and block normal estrogen, leading not just to hormonal imbalance but even breast cancer. Personal note: this is why my periods were so heavy, painful and irregular when I was a vegetarian as a teen.
A study from Harvard found that men consuming the equivalent of one cup of soy milk per day had 50% lower sperm count than men who did not consume soy (even accounting for other factors like age, caffeine and alcohol intake, etc). Another Swiss study found that consuming 100 mg of soy isflavones per day was roughly the equivalent of consuming one birth control pill per day. So whether you’re a woman or man, if you want to have children or maintain a normal period, these shakes are really not the best option.
These are only a few of the issues with soy so you can see why consuming a shake made of soy on a regular basis is problematic, especially on a long-term basis. These aren’t the only issues I see with the ingredients in Juice Plus, but they are the two big ones. Eating folic acid and soy everyday can lead to some serious health issues down the line.
I’ve said it before and it needs to be said again. Health is not found in a pill or a protein shake. There is no magic cure. Eat real food. Take healthy supplements.