juice-plus1

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

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 ORCHARD AND GARDEN BLEND CHEWABLES (ADULT)

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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

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SPICED APPLE + RAISIN NUTRITION BARS

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 Soy

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 soy stimulated the growth of estrogen dependent tumors found in breast cancer. And this one found the same thing.

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.

Inflammation

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.

Fertility

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.

An-Unbiased-Review-of-Juice-Plus

Sources:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35874922/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/your-breakfast-giving-you-cancer/#.VLp9YWTF-xE

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19190501

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20091117/folic-acid-b12-may-increase-cancer-risk

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/1/189.short

http://www.juiceplus.com/content/JuicePlus/en/buy/complete/juice-plus–complete-variety.html#.VLqE92TF-xE

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-soy-formula/

http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/11/2584.full

65 responses on “An Unbiased Review of Juice Plus

    1. lea

      I think you need to do some more research on things that while you think you may have accurate facts. You do not and you are not talking about accurate information here. Why on why would doctors recommend taking folic acid when pregnant? Non gmo soy is infact very healthy for you. And it doesn’t raise your estrogen levels like led to believe. Do some research. All the ingredients listed or in fact non gmo. While most products are not non gmo. You might want to look at that. Omega 6 is just as important as omega 3 and actually it’s the omega 6 is hard to find. While it is most important that a healthy diet is best. You have to understand that not everyone can afford the 40 different fruits and veggies they offer and what make juice plus an excellent product. I have a church friend who was type 2 diabetes and 2 weeks after being on juice plus capsules his doctor took him off his insulin. NO I am NOT a JUICEPLUS rep but I am going to spread the word and help my rep that I purchase from….melindafink.juice plus.com. sure you don’t have to believe me but you need to try for yourself before you make an “unbiased opinion” thanks for reading

      1. dani Post author

        1. Doctors don’t recommend folic acid, they recommend folate.

        2. Soy is not healthy, see studies:
        http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/68/6/1431S.long
        http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/5/10/785.short
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11577007
        As well as the various studies I provided in the article, that you’ve seemingly ignored.

        3. Omega-6 is hard to find? You literally have no idea what you’re talking about. Omega-6 is seriously ubiquitous. This is why majority of people have such a high 6 to 3 ratio. Like, the fact that you even said that indicates your nutritional knowledge. I don’t mean this in a mean way, just a matter of fact kind of way.

        4. Not shocked by that. Changing from a diet that caused type 2 to JP will cause some positive changes.

        Please don’t tell me I have to do more research. It’s offensive.

      2. Lucy

        I was on Juice plus for 1 1/2 years, did nothing for me, no change in autoimmune issues, acid reflux, skin, nothing. I believe their studies have a lot of problems and I can say from my own experience I received no benefits whatsoever. There is just no way they do what they claim. Look at other articles that are even more scientific that debunk Juice Plus and their claims, there are quite a few on the internet and easy to find.

  1. KayDee

    I came across your site looking up how bad herbalife was (because I already knew it was, just wanted some science to back me up). Was not shocked in the least about them. After looking up and down and all around your page, I’m learning so much. Never would’ve guessed that Folic Acid is bad for you. And not just bad but REALLY REALLY bad.

    I’m so glad I found you and your page. It’s opening my eyes to just how bad I really was eating when I’m thinking I’m being healthy. In fact, you have inspired me to start taking classes on any and everything nutrition. I want to know what I’m eating and how it’s effecting me.

    Thank you so much for telling it like it is.

  2. Cindy

    Please note that the “folic acid” in Juice Plus is folate. Since they have a nutrition facts label and not a supplement label (because it is whole food) they have to label folic acid according to government regulations. If you look on the nutrition facts label, it is listed as folate. also, all Juice Plus stuff is non-GMO and better than organic, they are NSF certified. That is a very good certification to get. Yes, I am a rep. However, I was a hard sell. I did a TON of reading and research. Many, many doctors back Juice Plus and even stake their reputation on it by recommending it to patients. 32 double blind, placebo controlled research studies done by third parties prove that Juice Plus does excellent things for the body, even in the bodies of those who are already “healthy”

    1. dani stout Post author

      If they used folate, it would be listed on the label as folate. I’ve even been sent information on why they use folic acid instead of folate.

      1. Ally Borland

        They do actually use folate. If you look at the current nutrition label on the juice plus capsules it says folate and folic acid is no where to be found on the label because they have changed it out. I figured you should know this so you can update accordingly. Also keep in mind that the Complete and other products using soy are non-gmo. If you have done your readings the biggest problem is with GMO soy. Utilizing water-washed non-gmo soy that is minimally processed is quite different than soy in general.

        1. dani stout Post author

          False. GMO soy is terrible, but non-GMO soy doesn’t somehow magically become a healthy ingredient. Can you provide a link to the new use of folate? I’m definitely happy to change the article if that’s the case.

        2. tridin

          I have current bottles of the capsules which clearly have folic acid in the ingredients list. If i could leave a pic here i sure would! The folic acid and calcium ascorbate I am stopping them and I have garden of life already.

    2. Pam Wilson

      Doctors have no nutritional training what so ever when it comes to your health. All they do is manage symptoms with drugs.

    3. K

      Lady, the label says “folate” but if you go to your juice plus sure and read you will see that they even admit it is folic acid and not folate. It’s synthetic. It’s crap.

  3. Monique

    Thank you so much for doing these reviews. I got on Facebook today and was going to do some reviews myself because I was so angered by the shit they put in these “healthy” supplements. It kills me as a nutritionist to see people handing out crap and us who know real nutrition struggling to find clients.

  4. H.G. da Vinci

    Would be cool to see a network marketing product that was actually good, such a fantastic business model. What do you think about doing a review of Arbonne? They are a certified vegan company!

  5. Rosalinda Perez

    Thank You Dani! I had no idea Folic Acid was so bad. The gummy vitamins I’ve been taking have about 400 mcg per serving. I’m going to stop taking them. A coworker just offered the juice plus product and I was very sceptical. After reading several reviews about the products I firmly believe that if its to good to be true, it probably isn’t.

  6. Jessica Hickey

    Would love to see a review done on ItWorks. Particularly whether their body wraps are safe to use and if their product called “Greens” is healthy or not.

  7. Patricia

    I had to close off all the comments from Disqus about Juice Plus until I read yours….. when I came to the part of soy and non GMO I had the exact same reaction as you. Fabulous article! Well written and researched. Shared on Google + and Pinterest! Also joined your FB page!

  8. Richard Brokenshire

    I don’t want to get involved in the folate/folic acid controversy. I do know one thing for sure. If you think that you are getting your vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables that you are eating, you are mistaken. The US government conducted a study that showed the soils used for growing the food is depleted. That report was written in the 1930s. If the soil was depleted back then, think about what it is like today! Farmers can get plants to grow in the soil using fertilizer. Unfortunately, the fertilizers the farmers are using contain a mere 3 minerals. The plants need 3 minerals to grow. The human body needs upwards of 60 minerals. The plants would absorb the minerals from the soil, if the soil wasn’t depleted of these minerals as far back as the 1930s. So eat, eat, eat … those fruits and vegetables, but they aren’t doing you much good.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Fruits and vegetables aren’t doing much good? You know that Juice Plus contains fruits and vegetables right? That’s basically their entire platform.

  9. Kelsey Rose

    Hey! I love all the info, so on the ingredients of the juice plus capsules it says it does contain folic acid, and then in the break down it says Folate70% – how do you know whats what and how much is to much? or just avoid all?

  10. Nancy

    Thank you for doing all of this! I have someone on one of my facebook page pushing this stuff http://visalus.com/pdf/visalus_vishape.pdf and I would love for you to do a review of it since you have a much larger following than I do. I keep posting “just eat real food people” but I feel like slamming my head against my desk. Sucralose, soy isolates, sunflower oil…..BUT BUT it tasts just like CAKE!

  11. johanna

    I’m wondering is there a supplement/shake that you do suggest? I’m trying to find something for my husband with RA and prediabetic. Thank you for your help.

  12. Michelle

    Hello, I was curious about Shakeology vs. Juice Plus, and stumbled upon this page. When i read about the folic acid i thought, hmm, that sounds familiar. And it was familiar because pregnant women need to get enough folic acid to be sure their baby develops properly in the first few weeks or so. Anyway, in your article folic acid sounds dangerous, but in reality it’s a part of everything else people need to be sure they’re consuming. Everything in moderation i guess – the link on web md mentions its benefits, why people need it, and the problems associated with taking too much. Thanks.

    http://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1017/folic+acid/source-3

    1. dani stout Post author

      No, pregnant mothers need folate. Folic acid is extremely dangerous for pregnant mothers, and as such I do not use or recommend it. Folic acid is the generic name for folate, which is likely where your misunderstanding comes from. But prenatals with folic acid instead of folate need to be avoided.

  13. Barbara Christensen

    I actually contacted the company because I wondered the same thing with the serious methylation issues we are seeing. If you look at the new labeling on the capsules, they have changed the labeling to Folate, and have told me that they have no synthetic b vitamin supplementation in those capsules. I can’t speak for the rest because I was only interested in learning about the folic/folate issue for the capsules.

    1. dani Post author

      I suppose it could be possible. Everyone is so different and the way you react to a particular ingredient may be different than the way someone else reacts.

  14. Laura

    Is soy the same as soya? I drink soya milk because of its claim to have b12, calcium, protein & lower sat fat than cows milk. should I stop drinking it then & drink almond milk? Im pescitarian. I tend to eat mycoprotein rather than soy as meat replacement. Hope im not wrong here too

  15. becky healy

    You went from just reading the label, but not researching deep enough. Research is Everything to me, so I went a step more. In order to comply with FDA regs, JP+ had to add trace amounts of folic acid. The amount is negligible, which makes this the best “prenatal” on the market. The other issue is the soy – unlike 99% of the dangerous, cancer-causing soy Americans consume, JP+ uses NON-GMO soy, which, as I’m sure you know, is a totally different entity, and actually GOOD for not only men and women, but people going through cancer. I also just found out that it’s MEDLINE score (Medline is the top 10% of scientific research in the World) is over 100! A “good” score in this data base is 5 or 10.
    Why is all this important? Because MOST of the supplements and products out there have dangerous components to them, and some of the ingredients are Horrible for you to consume. I (and I’m sure most of the people reading this) want to stand behind the great products that are the purest, have the best scientific, Gold Standard research, are NSF certified, and do good things for our bodies.

    1. dani Post author

      I’m not sure where you’re sourcing your information from, but it is entirely false. The FDA absolutely does not require any company to add trace amounts of folic acid to a product. This actually makes no sense. There are tons of products on the market that contain only folate and no folic acid (ie: in the products I recommend). If JP told you they added folic acid to comply with the FDA, when no other company that utilizes folate has to do this, that is a lie.

      While non-GMO soy is indeed a better option than GMO soy, it doesn’t somehow make it a healthy product (I say product, not food). To extract the protein from soy, it undergoes extreme processing. Not to mention that soy increases the need for B12, is high in phytic acid which blocks mineral absorption, is rich in goitrogens which negatively impact the thyroid and soy is high in phytoestrogen, which mimics estrogen in the body, which in turn actually is a risk factor for cancer. Ever heard of estrogen dominance?

      If research is everything to you, check out these studies on the various issues associated with soy:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16965913
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11694625
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/68/6/1431S.long
      http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/5/10/785.short

    1. dani Post author

      I’m a holistic nutritionist…of course I recommend other supplements. It’s literally part of my job. I just happen to choose supplements of higher quality and caliber.

  16. Megan A

    Hi, I found this posting because a friend who has been using Juice+ invited a few of us to try it out.

    I just wanted to make on comment about folic acid. I wish you would have put an emphasis on “extra” in regards to folic acid. It’s okay to have folic acid, it’s the “extra” part people need to be careful with. Ladies who are wanting to get pregnant, and during pregnancy, have to up their intake of folic acid. Without it, the chances of having a neural tube defect during pregnancy greatly increase. My best friend had a NTD with her first pregnancy and lost the baby. Dr’s said it was partly because the lack of folic acid in her diet. I have been instructed by my Dr. to make sure I’m taking a supplement with folic acid in it as well.

    Anyway…I GREATLY appreciate the writeup about this. I haven’t decided if I will try Juice+ or not. I don’t often get sick and I try to eat as healthy as I can. Thank you!

    1. dani Post author

      Actually it’s not the “extra” folic acid that’s the issue. Folic acid is synthetic folate, which is why it’s CRITICALLY important for pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant to take actual folate. Doctors often use the terms interchangeably, but they mean folate. Please take a prenatal with folate and not folic acid.

  17. Crystal

    The issue with your argument about the soy that Juice Plus uses is that Juice Plus does not process their non-GMO, water washed soy in the way in which you are describing. To me, this completely discredits your entire article, because you are only reading the label & you have not looked into the farms where they grow their produce, how their produce is grown, the NSF label they carry, the soil conditions they require of their farmers, the dedication the farmers are to rotating the crops, the nutritional value of the soybeans that tests can show, the fact that they never heat their produce or soy at high temperatures, they have a very specific way that they do things to retain nutrients & they have study after study to back this up. You really don’t know what you are talking about, honestly & this review is not based on honest information. You are taking general information about what companies typically do, Juice Plus is far from typical. I have researched and researched as a concerned healthcare practitioner, I’ve never seen a company like Juice Plus.

    Also, do more research on soy. I’ve read several books on the history of soy. It dates back to 11th Century, B.C. & consumed in its whole food form for eons. As well, Juice Plus has been around for a very long time, they have zero debt, their products appear to be phenomenal in terms of healing people, as also backed by the gold standard clinical studies on the product & testimonials.

    I have so much more I could say, I just can’t believe the level of dishonesty & ignorance in this post, I don’t even know where to begin.

    1. dani Post author

      The only ignorance here is your stance on soy. I’m not the one who needs to “do more research on soy.”

      Educate yourself:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11431339
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11577007
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/68/6/1431S.long
      http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/5/10/785.short
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11216491

      #science

      And please refrain from calling me a liar, especially when the information I provide is backed up by science. It’s offensive.

  18. Amy

    http://www.juiceplus.com/content/JuicePlus/en/buy/capsules/orchard-and-garden-blends.html (locate the capsules- the label is available for inspection)

    Folic ACID is listed as THE very last ingredient, and the FDA requires that ingredients are listed on food labels in order of quantity/weight. On further inspection of the label for the capsules, the fruit capsules contain 24% FOLATE & the vegetable capsules contain 55% FOLATE. Juice Plus makes a distinction between the quantity of folic acid versus folate in this new labeling.

    Not arguing for or against, just trying to provide information about the folic acid v. Folate question.

    1. dani Post author

      That label is extremely misleading, because the product doesn’t contain folate, it clearly contains folic acid on the ingredient list. Marketing at its finest, my friend.

  19. Melanie G

    I just recently talked with a representative with Juice Plus and they said that the Garden blend and the Orchard Blend DO contain folic acid because they need to regulate the capsules, so that they all have the same nutritional value. The Vineyard Blend is the only capsule (or gummy) that does NOT contain the folic acid. I personally don’t understand why they can take it out of one of their capsules but not ALL of their capsules. Again, the representative said because a lot of women use their products for prenatal care, so they need to ensure that they are getting the full DV that is recommended. So that’s that! Juice Plus does have folate AND folic acid. Sorry … not my cup of tea!

        1. dani Post author

          Right, folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably; even here in the US. But folate is found in food, whereas folic acid is made in a lab. It’s synthetic. You can still get folate in supplement form. For example, the prenatal I use contains folate, not folic acid. One is natural, one is synthetic. Both are used interchangeably, but are different. I know it’s confusing.

  20. Mindi

    I was wondering what whole foods supplement you would recommend instead of JP. I almost signed up today, but found this article at just the right moment! Desperately seeking something to help my 3 yr old daughter.

    1. dani Post author

      I don’t recommend supplements for children, they do much better absorbing and utilizing real food.

  21. Sharon

    In the last few days I have had really bad acid reflux and I’m wondering if it could have been caused by juice plus tablets I have been taking for a couple of months. I just took some tablets and felt they were hard to digest and I have become uncomfortable.

    Thank you for your help, Sharon

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