Thursday, August 02, 2007
Readers Respond (August 1, 2007): How Much Produce in Juice Plus?
From Barb (August 1, 2007)
Has anyone been told of the number of servings in each capsule? Couldn't be much.
Reply From The JPRB Team
Is accurate information made available to the public? No. Distributors have made false claims that Juice Plus contains the equivalent of 9 to 17 servings and 8 to 13 pounds of real fruits and vegetables. Juice Plus “Health Nites” and “Prevention Plus” seminars claim that the amount of fresh produce one would need to consume to equal the fruits and vegetables in Juice Plus would require buying several pounds of the real thing at a cost of over 8 dollars.
Can we estimate the true amount? Yes. Calculations based on various sources of information indicate that 4 Juice Plus capsules (2 each of Orchard and Garden Blend) contain the rough equivalent of 1/3 to 1/4 of a serving or less of real produce.
Equivalency Based on Antioxidant Potency
A study by Chambers et al. (1996) showed that 1 g of Juice Plus powder has the equivalent antioxidant activity of 10 g of fresh produce. That means that the 3 g of Juice Plus powder provided by the 4-capsule daily regimen is roughly equivalent (in terms of antioxidant potency) to only 30 g of fresh produce, or roughly 1/3 of a serving. However, some (or all) of the antioxidants in Juice Plus are added as artifical fortifiers (e.g. vitamins A/C/E, lutein, lycopene, etc.), so the actual equivalency to real produce is presumably considerably less than 1/3 of a serving.
Equivalency Based on Potassium Content
Potassium is one of the benefical nutrients present in large amounts in fruits and vegetables, and since NSA claims that Juice Plus contains the “essence” of fruits and vegetables, the product should contain substantial amounts of potassium. But how much potassium does Juice Plus actually contain? An analysis published by Consumer Lab in 2006 showed that the 4-capsule regimen provides a mere 90 mg of potassium. Compare that with a 6 ounce glass of orange juice (1 serving), which has more than 350 mg potassium. Therefore, the potassium content of Juice Plus indicates an equivalency to about ¼ of a serving of the real thing.
Equivalency Based on Fiber Content
According to National Safety Associates literature, Juice Plus capsules contain only 1 g of fiber per 4-capsules. By comparison, a whole apple (1 serving, 138 g) contains 3.3 g of dietary fiber and an orange has 3.1 g. Based on fiber content, the 4-capsule Juice Plus regimen is equivalent to about 1/3 of a serving of real produce. Furthermore, the fiber in the source produce is stripped out during processing and artifically replaced with low-grade insoluble date and cabbage fiber, plant cellulose, and generic dried plant fibers.
Equivalency Based on Subtracting the Weight of Water, Sugar, Salt, and Fiber
According to promotional brochures, the produce in Juice Plus is processed by removing water, sugar, salt and fiber, which, based on chemical data from the USDA for an apple, would result in a net yield of 1.66% (i.e. 100 g of raw apple would yield 1.66 g of processed powder). It is also known, based on Juice Plus bottle labels in Switzerland (where labeling laws are stricter), that the capsules contain approximately 25% fruit/vegetable powder by weight. Therefore, 4 Juice Plus capsules, which together weigh 3 g, would contain only about 750 mg of fruit/vegetable powder. Based on the 1.66% extraction efficiency, this is equivalent to about 45 g (roughly a 1/2 serving or less) of fresh produce, corresponding to an equivalent retail value of about 10 cents.
Equivalency Based on Other Published Sources
An article in the University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter estimated that the daily 4-capsule Juice Plus regimen would be equivalent to about 1/6 of a serving of carrot juice:
“No matter how compressed these capsules are, or what they contain, it’s impossible to deliver the nutrients of five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables in several capsules weighing 800 to 850 milligrams (about one-thirtieth of an ounce) each. It would take two dozen 800-milligram capsules just to provide all the nutrients in six ounces of carrot juice.”
The question posed above should be simple enough to answer for someone who is knowledgeable about the product. However, have a look at the response provided by Juice Plus distributor/spokesperson Mitra Ray when asked a similar question. Using classic nonsensical NSA-doublespeak, Ray manages to completely evade answering the question. You can bet that if Juice Plus was made from a significant amount of fruit and vegetables, high-level distributors, like Ray, would be eager to say so to potential customers.
* NB: calculations based on 138 g raw apple with skin