Juice Plus+ is a line of food supplements consisting of gel capsules that contain flash-dried powders of juiced vegetables and fruits. Flash-drying prevents the full breakdown of enzymes associated with slower methods of food processing. According to company literature, the following features make Juice Plus+ unique:
Under "What are the benefits of LIVE enzymes?," company literature makes false and misleading claims about the function of enzymes in foods. In describing the work of enzymes as the "workforce" of the body, company literature rightly states that enzymes digest foods and are involved in building new tissues and in the immune system. However, the company fails to disclose that the enzymes in foods (or in Juice Plus+) cannot possibly influence these processes.
First, enzymes are not "alive." Living things (a) consist of cellular units, (b) possess reproductive ability, (c) demonstrate irritability, (d) carry on metabolism, or (e) have the ability to grow. Enzymes have none of these characteristics. They are complex protein molecules produced by living organisms exclusively for their own use in promoting chemical reactions. When taken by mouth, enzymes are digested and have no enzymatic activity in the eater. The statement "George Washington University has shown that chronic disease and enzyme deficiencies are synonymous" is misleading because of the reasons stated.
Further, eating whole foods is generally preferable to juicing, which separates out many important constituents. Adding back a some of the lost fiber still is likely to result in an inferior product. NCAHF advises consumers to avoid promoters who disseminate this type of misinformation about nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, or disease.
Endorsements by celebrities, athletic groups, or teams are meaningless. Such endorsements are often given in exchange for a donation or fee. Sometimes the endorser is engaged in selling the products. Even when done without financial self-interest, such endorsements may merely reflect the nutritional ignorance of those involved.
The unreliability of testimonials was dramatically illustrated by the case of former football star O.J. Simpson, who was charged with stabbing his wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. In March 1994, shortly before these murders took place, he was videotaped telling 4,000 distributors at a sales meeting that Juice Plus+ had cured his arthritis. Testimony in the murder case indicated that he was also taking sulfasalazine, a standard anti-inflammatory drug that could have relieved his symptoms . Subsequently, his defense attorneys presented medical testimony that Simpson was so crippled by arthritis that he could not have committed the murders .
Juice Plus+ is a multilevel-marketed product. The tactic of providing distributors with "unofficial" health claims for use in selling while helping the company maintain deniability is one of the abuses typical of such enterprises. For more on abuses by direct sales companies see NCAHF's general warnings to buyers and sellers regarding multilevel marketed health products.
© 1995, National Council Against Health Fraud.
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