Saturday, November 10, 2007


Deceptive Juice Plus Advertising Continues

During a recent round of web surfing, we tripped over some more fraudulent Juice Plus advertising that will be of interest to our many readers.

Misleading Juice Plus Gummies Brochure
One of the sites in question had posted on it an official Juice Plus Gummies promotional brochure that contained several deceptive and misleading statements.[1] The brochure’s introduction uses the typical NSA tactic of playing on parents’ fear and guilt about the health of their children. The brochure states:

“So when you let a child become obese from not enough exercise and an incorrect diet, you should feel guilty as a parent, because it is the responsibility of a parent to give their children the best nutritional start in life. We need to try and help our children develop healthy eating patterns which will help them build good habits for the rest of their life.”

The Gummies brochure claims Juice Plus: the next best thing to fruits and vegetables, which is exactly the same claim that led to a charge by the Better Business Bureau against NSA for misleading advertising in other Juice Plus Gummies brochures that featured Dr. Bill Sears.[2] According to Consumer Reports NSA had promised to modify the ads and stop referring to Gummies as the next best thing to fruits and vegetables, but apparently promotional brochures featuring this statement are still being used distributors.

The most deceptive portion of the Gummies brochure was a statement which suggested that studies had shown that nutrients in Juice Plus Gummies are bioavailable, when in fact the only study ever published on Juice Plus Gummies showed exactly the opposite. The brochure claims:
"The bio-availability of Juice Plus has been proven by numerous scientific studies. Scientific studies prove that the nutritional elements in Juice Plus are readily absorbed and effectively used by the body, confirming the increase of the antioxidant levels in the blood."

Stewart and colleagues at the University of Utah published a study in 2002 showing that Juice Plus Gummies had no antioxidant effects in children, according to 6 different tests of antioxidant status.[3] The bioavailability claim in NSA’s Juice Plus Gummies brochure is directly contradicted by the conclusions of Stewart et al., which were as follows:

“It is also possible that the supplement did not contain enough of the proper antioxidants to make a significant difference or that the antioxidants extracted in the fruit/vegetable extract were not bioavailable… We conclude that there is no detectable treatment effect of a phytochemical antioxidant supplement on healthy children’s oxidative stress levels as assessed by several indicators”

Interestingly, the study by Stewart et al. also included a chemical analysis of Juice Plus Gummies and reported that they contain a whopping 85% corn syrup. The other main ingredient is gelatin (10%); thus, they consist of 95% harmful or inert ingredients. Nonetheless, NSAs Gummies brochure claims the following:

“Delicious nutritional support: The Juice Plus Gummies are a nutritional support, an ideal addition to healthy diets of our children… and deliciously healthy for everyone…”

Some readers might be wondering if NSA was aware of Stewart's 2002 study when they wrote this misleading brochure (which bears a date of January 2006). The answer is yes, they were certainly aware – we know this because NSA actually paid for the Juice Plus Gummies research but took the company's name off the study when the results turned out be damaging, and they have withheld those results from the pubic ever since, never once mentioning the study or commenting on its findings (see our August 12 article Supression of Negative Findings in Company-Funded Juice Plus Research Studies[4])

Bryn Walsh – Prohibited Disease Treatment Claims?
The second flagrant example of deceptive advertising comes from a newsletter published in the Spring of 2007 by Juice Plus distributor Bryn Walsh,[5] a massage therapist/acupuncturist based in Acton, Massachusetts. Walsh’s newsletter contained the following statements:

“Taking Juice Plus capsules every day provides the nutritional foundation we so desperately need that is so lacking in our diets today. This is taken from the JuicePlus website. In addition to capsules it also comes as chewables and gummies. I especially like the gummies.

The more you read the more you see how important it is to eat you fruit and veggies. If you are worried about the C disease take JuicePlus, or the H disease or the D disease or any disease. Since taking JP I noticed that my energy is more even, I get less colds and I have happier joints. My husband loves his JuicePlus. You can buy JuicePlus from me.”

Walsh makes several implied disease treatment claims, which are illegal according to the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act[7] and and the US Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Part 101),[8] and she also appears to have falsely implied that NSA’s website corroborates that Juice Plus can cure diseases.

The websites discussed in today's article unfortunately are not isolated examples but rather, add to a large and growing body of evidence that Juice Plus products are widely promoted using deceptive and illegal advertising.

  1. Juice Plus Gummies Brochure.
  2. How product testimonials bend the rules. Consumer Reports; January, 2006.
  3. Stewart RJ, Askew EW, McDonald CM, Metos J, Jackson WD, Balon TW, Prior RL. Antioxidant status of young children: response to an antioxidant supplement. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102 (11):1652-7.
  4. Suppression of negative findings in company-funded Juice Plus research studies. Juice Plus Research Blog; August 12, 2007.
  5. Bryn Walsh. Juice Plus Distributor Webpage.
  6. Bryn Walsh. Juice Plus. Acupuncture Plus, Spring 2007.
  7. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  8. Regulations on statements made for dietary supplements concerning the effect of the product on the structure or function of the body; final rule (21 CFR Part 101) -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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