Monday, February 18, 2008


Center for Science in the Public Interest Crucifies Juice Plus

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)[1] recently joined ranks with other major American health organizations in criticizing the vitamin supplement Juice Plus. The Center’s landmark special report[2] (Lost in translation: Why real fruit and vegetables beat juices, powder, and purees), published in December 2007, included an analysis of Juice Plus marketing claims and research. The CSPI report reaffirmed criticism leveled previously by many other expert sources, including the Juice Plus Research Blog.

The CSPI report dismissed promotional claims that “Juice Plus is the next best thing to fruits and vegetables”. The company that markets Juice Plus (National Safety Associates; NSA) “is coy when it comes to how many servings of fruits and vegetables are in a daily dose (4 capsules) of Juice Plus”, the report noted, and the product cannot possibly provide a significant amount of fruit and vegetables, since a single serving of fruit or vegetable alone “would fill some 15 capsules”.

The CSPI report highlighted that Juice Plus is distributed through a costly and inefficient multi-level marketing network whereby "people find friends and relatives to sell Juice Plus; those people find friends and relatives, and everybody gets a cut of the money made by the people downstream from them".

Regarding the use of vitamin additives in Juice Plus, the CSPI report concluded “there’s no way to know how much of the 12,500 IU of beta-carotene, 230 mg of vitamin C, 45 IU of vitamin E, and 420 µg of folate in a daily dose of Juice Plus comes from its fruit and vegetable powders and how much is added by NSA” and that “if those nutrients matter, you can buy them far more cheaply elsewhere”.

Commenting on the research conducted to date on Juice Plus, CSPI noted that all of it was company-funded and that it does not support marketing claims quoted by NSA vice-president John Blair. According to CSPI “only half of the studies compared Juice Plus to a placebo, and Juice Plus wasn’t always better at increasing antioxidant levels or lowering oxidative stress. What’s more, there’s no solid evidence that high antioxidant levels can prevent disease.”

The report also examined one of NSAs latest company-funded research projects,[3] a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study published in 2006 by Meri Nantz and Susan Percival of the University of Florida, for which NSA paid Percival $76,590.[4] The only Juice Plus study to date that actually looked at illness outcomes (e.g. colds/flu symptoms), Percival’s research showed that “Juice Plus takers got sick just as often as the placebo takers”, according to the CSPI report.

In closing, CSPI stated Juice Plus “will cost you $40 a month, with a minimum purchase of a 4-month supply”, and cautioned consumers “don’t rely on juices or foods with added fruit or vegetable purées or powders for your daily servings”.


  1. Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI): About CSPI.
  2. Special report: Lost in translation -- Why real fruit and vegetables beat juices, powder, and purees. Nutrition Action Healthletter (December, 2007). Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
  3. Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Nieves C Jr, Percival SS. Immunity and antioxidant capacity in humans is enhanced by consumption of a dried, encapsulated fruit and vegetable juice concentrate. J Nutr. 2006;136:2606-10.
  4. Campus research programs: 2004 annual research report for the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. University of Florida, IFAS; p. 97.*/

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