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Health Guide Review: 2,5/5

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Juice Plus+ shake Review: Does it work?

Intro: What is it?

Juice Plus+ shake is available in French Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate. It’s made to substitute breakfast, as a way to gain pre or post workout energy, and it’s offered as a dinner snack. The company does not mention it should be used to replace meals.

It’s intended to provide a full nutritional profile, and it’s sold in individual and large pouches. The company doesn’t add much information to support any of their claims. Will it provide you with the nutrition need to lose weight safely? What can be gained from using Juice Plus+ shake? This review will help you understand whether or not this meal replacement is useful.

Juice Plus+ Ingredients

Here’s the French Vanilla:

Low Processed Soy Protein Chickpea Powder Pea Protein Rice Protein Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar
Stevia Arabic Gum Guar Gum Xanthan Gum Plant Cellulose Fructooligosaccharides
Plant Cellulose Soy Fiber Rice Bran Pectin Apple Fiber
Natural Flavor Broccoli Sprout Alfalfa Sprout Radish Sprout Organic Amaranth
Organic Quinoa Organic Millet Citrate Phosphate Calcium Carbonate Calcium Ascorbate
Sea Salt Pumpkin Powder Pomegranate Powder Spirulina Powder Yucca Powder
Mushroom Powder Natural Enzyme Blend Niacinamide Soy Lecithin Sunflower Lecithin
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Riboflavin Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B12

Some of the ingredients have unique qualities:

Calcium Carbonate: A cheap calcium supplement that also doubles as a laxative. It’s often used in construction materials. High amounts can lead to excess calcium in the blood, leading to milk-alkali syndrome. Usually a doctor will prescribe exact amounts of this additive in order to avoid any potential side effects.

Calcium Ascorbate: A vitamin C supplement that is often prescribed in exact dosages. It can lead to heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation in certain people.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 120 Sodium 230mg, 10% Potassium 50mg, 1% Total Carbohydrate 20g, 7% Dietary Fiber 8g, 32%
Soluble Fiber 6g Insoluble Fiber 2g Sugars 11g Protein 13g, 26% Vitamin C 40%
Calcium 45% Iron 15% Vitamin D 40% Thiamin 40% Riboflavin 40%
Niacin 40% Vitamin B6 40% Vitamin B12 40%

 Calories

The amount of calories adds up to 240 if you drink 2 shakes a day, which is fairly low. None of the calories from fat.

A small portion of fat is necessary for the body to function properly.  It’s also useful for promoting healthy skin, nails, hair, and for keeping cells healthy.

Keep in mind that the only way for the body to process Vitamins A, D, E, and K are by introducing fats.

Also, this shake is considered only a snack, having a snack worth 240 calories is high considering there’s full meal replacements with much less calories.

Fiber

Though there’s 8 grams of fiber added, it doesn’t all come from a quality source:

Guar Gum: Generally used as a laxative, this extract from guar beans is a thickener sometimes used in processed foods.  According to WebMD, drinking enough water is important in order to avoid:

Choking or developing a blockage in the intestine”

It can also produce gas, bloating, loose stools, and indigestion.

Acacia Gum: Thickener taken from the Acacia Tree. It’s known to potentially cause gas, loose stools, indigestions, and bloating.

Xanthan Gum: A fermented sugar that is extracted from potential allergens such as corn wheat, soy, and dairy. It can potentially cause bloating, nausea, allergies, and much more.  Special warning also goes out to younger people, since this ingredient may cause choking in them.

Sugar

A total of 11 grams or 22 at 2 shakes a day. It’s considerably higher than other meal replacements. In reducing weight it’s important to keep sugar as low as possible. 22 grams a day is roughly 5 and a half teaspoons.

The American Heart Association recommends just 6 teaspoons a day for women, 9 for men. The amount of sugar provided in this brand will have you dangerously close to the advised daily limit.

The sugar comes from:

Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar: Although organic, cane sugar is processed by the body in the same way.  It’s a non processed sugar that is made from the same thing that table sugar comes from, sugar cane.  This is almost 100% all Sucrose. The amount of nutrients is slightly more than table sugar, but not by any significant amounts.

Stevia: Low calorie sweetener found in the Stevia plant. It’s known to have little to no impact on blood sugar. It also provides a limited effect on adding calories.

The Quality of Juice Plus+ protein

The protein comes from a proprietary blend of many sources which provides 13 grams:

Low Processed Soy Protein: It’s unknown if this soy protein is either a concentrate or isolate. This makes a big difference since isolates have more protein, and concentrates have the benefit of being slow absorbing.  Soy also has the potential for causing estrogen production, and it may lead to damage to the thyroid.

Chickpea Protein: This legume requires cooking in order to be fully processed by the body. It’s low in the amino acids Leucine, Cysteneine, and Menthionine.

Pea Protein: An easy to digest protein that is low in the amino acid Leucine. It’s also full of purines, which convert to uric acid in the blood. This can lead to increased risk for gout and damaged kidney function.

Rice Protein: Fast absorbing protein that is lacking in certain amino acids such as Leucine, the amino acid responsible for muscle building.  Drinking large amounts of rice protein is known to cause stomach issues such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.  It is often higher in carbohydrates than other protein sources unless it’s specially processed.

The only protein added which has all the essential amino acids is soy, and it’s processed as well as being likely GMO. The reason why these ingredients are all lumped together is because everything except soy requires extra amino acids to make up for the lack of healthy aminos in each protein source.

The Price and Quality of Juice Plus+

A 15 serving pouch costs $30.75, which at 2 shakes a day will cost you:

$30.75/15= 2.05 times 2= $4.10 per 2 shakes a day.

However, the company automatically enrolls people into a 4 month plan; it’s not available on its own as a one serving option.  The company also mentions this is a snack, not a full meal replacement. Another factor to consider is the low quality protein, some of which is processed and lacking in important amino acids.

This raises the overall price of having to eat whole foods to make up for the lack of satiating effects seen in this shake.

Meal Replacement Quality

On the official website it says this this shake is a “late night snack”, and that it’s good for a “pre or post workout snack”.

Nowhere is there mention that this product will satisfy as a full meal replacement. Therefore, you have to spend more money on getting whole foods instead of having a meal replaced. This makes this even more expensive overall, and it prevents this brand from being an optimal choice for nutrition.

This this is meant as a snack, it should have much less calories added. Instead, this brand offers 240 calories at 2 servings. An estimated 300 calories are burnt in an average one hour gym session according to Live Strong.com.

Lack of Certain Minerals and Vitamins

According to WebMD, a quality meal replacement should have:

Fortified with a third of daily vitamins and minerals”

 Juice Plus+ is missing out on things like Copper, Selenium, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, and much more.

Without getting these key nutrients you’ll be forced to get the rest from whole foods, which increases the overall cost you need to invest in. Not getting these important nutrients will not provide the body what it needs to operate at a high capacity.

Business

Juice Plus+ is a multilevel marketing company that has what they call “representatives” who sell and market their products. They can be reached through the following:

Phone Number: (800) 347-6350

Address: 140 Crescent Drive

Collierville, Tennessee

Email: customercare@juiceplus.com

The company has been criticized heavily, a study performed by the website Quackwatch alleged the products offered are a:

colossal waste of money”

They’ve had other controversies as well:

  • A study performed by Consumer Lab showed that the company exaggerated its claims of providing vitamins and minerals.
  • Studies performed by Berkeley, The Journal of Nutrition and many more criticized the veggie drinks. According to these studies, the added vegetables are processed and so low in nutrition so much so that it has no benefit to health. These studies were also funded by the company, so there’s no bias.
  • A dietician sent a notice to the FDA claiming that the company had:

incorrect information, misleading health claims, and nonscientific jargon”

The company has largely been criticized by scientists for making unrealistic health claims.

Customer Opinions

Some of the reviews left on this brand are from people who sell it, so there’s much bias on the internet. However, a few reliable reviews are available:

“seems to create horrible gas”

“complete rip off for one bag”

“Horrible gas and upset stomach!”

“Nasty!”

Major concern has been expressed by customers who experienced side effects, and there are also complaints about the high price. When researching this brand it was easy to see who was a real customer and who is a distributor. Many people who leave good reviews are actually looking to sell this brand, and they leave a link to support them through a commission of sales.

Conclusion

Some important findings to understand:

  • Many customers have complained about side effects: Finding reviews on this brand is difficult due to the biased salesmen. However, when finding reviews there are numerous opinions from people complaining about the rate of side effects. People often mention experiencing gas and bloating. No reviews I saw told of any weight loss benefits. It’s unknown which of the ingredients are causing side effect since many of the additives are known as contributing negative effects.
  • The protein is lacking in amino acids: The protein is mixed into a proprietary blend of plant proteins. None of the ingredients besides soy has all the essential amino acids. However the soy added is processed and known to potentially produce estrogen, thyroid problems, blocked protein, and other problems. When taking a meal replacement it’s important to get enough nutrient and amino acids. This brand only provides one ingredient with the full range of amino acids; therefore it’s unknown how lacking this brand is in terms of amino acids.
  • There’s a higher than normal amount of sugar per serving: 22 grams per 2 shakes is offered which is a high amount considering sugar has no nutritional value. High amounts of sugar can not only increase your risk for obesity, but it has negative cardiovascular effects. It’s advised for the average person to only take 30 grams maximum a day. This leaves 8 grams which is hard to maintain especially if eating fruits.
  • Some of the ingredients can cause side effects: Customers have discussed their own individual side effects they’ve experienced, and it’s no surprise when you consider the kind of ingredients used. Many of the added binders and fibers have been known to cause digestive side effects. Also, the added forms of calcium can produce toxic buildup in the blood.
  • The company has been largely criticized by reputable sources: Many different organizations and clinical studies have been performed on the company’s brands. They’ve been criticized multiple times for not being bioavailable, meaning that the ingredients use don’t have much of a nutritional value since they’re not properly absorbed. There’s been concern over the health claims made by the company as well. Different groups mention there’s no benefit to using brands made by Juice Plus+.

The main concerns over this brand are of the lacking quality protein, and the numerous reported side effects that customers have experienced. It’s also pricy considering the lacking protein and the high amounts of sugar.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.