Juice Plus is a health brand that makes supplements from fruit and vegetable powders. They sell a variety of general health supplements, from capsules to chewables to powder, and their products are targeted to people who don’t eat much produce but want to improve their health.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Juice Plus Capsules, Juice Plus Gummies and Juice Plus Complete to determine if the brand is a healthy and safe option for increasing fruit and vegetable intake and improving overall health. We’ll also review the medical research on Juice Plus and compare the brand to Balance of Nature.
Medical Research Review
Juice Plus has funded an impressive amount of clinical research in legitimate medical journals. There are 41 individual trials on Juice Plus products, which is more than any brand we’ve reviewed to date.
This is a clear sign this brand is serious about the science backing their products. It’s refreshing to see a brand claim to be backed by clinical research and actually be backed by clinical research, because so many brands we’ve recently reviewed (like sleep aid Relaxium), claim their products are “clinically proven” to work based on in-house studies which are misleading and not clinical proof in any legitimate sense.
Several trials have proven that Juice Plus can benefit heart health in certain populations. A clinical trial from 2013 found that Juice Plus capsules improved pulmonary function and cardiovascular health in smokers.
Another medical trial found that Juice Plus supplementation decreased homocysteine levels in healthy adults. Since homocysteine is shown to be an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality, and especially for cardiovascular mortality, this proves that Juice Plus can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
Juice Plus may even be beneficial for weight loss, as a study found that it decreased fat levels in young boys. The group taking placebo capsules saw an increase in abdominal fat mass, while the group taking Juice Plus saw a decrease. These results would need to be replicated in an adult population for us to conclude that this supplement is effective for fat loss, but this early research is still useful.
Improvement of immune system function may be another benefit of Juice Plus supplementation. A medical trial published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the supplement could reduce symptoms and duration of the common cold.
Overall we can conclude that Juice Plus is proven to improve health overall on average. We doubt that it would provide an additional benefit to patients already consuming many fruits and vegetables from their diet, but it does have a strong amount of research backing its efficacy for the average patient.
Juice Plus Capsules Review
Juice Plus sells three blends of capsules: Fruit Blend, Berry Blend and Vegetable Blend.
The supplements are primarily composed of produce. As an example, the vegetable capsules contain carrot, parsley, broccoli, spinach, kale and more.
Juice Plus Capsules also contain some additive nutrients such as lycopene and beta carotene, which we find unnecessary because they can be obtained from the plants themselves. We don’t find these ingredients necessarily harmful, but we don’t recommend fruit and vegetable supplements with unnecessary additives.
We tend to recommend whole fruit and vegetable consumption over supplemental powders, but given the medical research backing these capsules we do believe they’re a net positive for consumers with a poor diet, and would recommend them to that group.
Juice Plus Gummies Review
Juice Plus sells a gummy product called Chewables. We don’t recommend these for several reasons. First, the nutrient level appears lower. Even though much of the nutrition in Juice Plus comes from the added vitamins, we can deduce that the overall nutrient level is lower in the gummies because certain vitamins like folate, which came from the fruits and vegetables, appear on the Capsule Supplement Facts label but not on the label for the Chewables.
Juice Plus Gummies also contain added sugar, and we always recommend avoiding health products with added sugar, as it’s illogical to pay for an expensive product to promote health that contains this ingredient, given that added cane sugar is one of the most well-documented ingredients in medical research shown to have a negative health effect.
The gummies also contain citric acid, a preservative and flavoring additive that may cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some patients because it’s manufactured from a fungus. It’s also documented in a recent medical study to cause pain when included in pharmaceutical formulations.
Another ingredient in the Juice Plus Chewables we recommend avoiding is natural flavor. This category of flavoring agents can mean one of tens of thousands of chemical compounds, and without the brand disclosing which specific compounds were used we can’t ensure they’re safe and non-toxic.
An extensive medical review published in the Toxicology Research journal raised questions about the toxicity in humans of some flavoring substances, which we believe highlights the need for manufacturers to disclose exactly which compounds are used for flavoring instead of simply listing “natural flavor”.
Juice Plus Lawsuit
Juice Plus has dealt with some legal and regulatory issues recently. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. issued a warning letter to the company in 2020, claiming that some of their affiliate partners were making health claims related to COVID-19.
It’s important to note that Juice Plus itself was not making these claims, but this highlights the risk and liability of health brands allowing business partners with zero medical credentials to help sell their products.
Juice Plus is also currently the target of a class-action lawsuit led by plaintiff Christine Lundsford of California. She claims the company signed her up for automatic subscription payments without clearly detailing such. She believed she was signing up for a one-time order.
In 2019, Juice Plus was fined by Italy’s Competition and Market Authority regulatory agency, because their European affiliates were pretending to be regular consumers and touting the health benefits of the brand, without disclosing that they were actually sales partners. The brand has faced fines for similar advertising breaches in Australia.
Overall we find these legal and regulatory actions against Juice Plus to be a red flag concerning the ethics of the brand, and we would recommend that they shut down their affiliate program, because their affiliates are clearly not qualified to be making science or health claims about the products.
Juice Plus Vs. Balance of Nature
The most popular product review we ever published on our site answers the popular consumer question: is Balance of Nature a hoax?
We found that Balance of Nature had similar ethical issues to Juice Plus, but we would recommend Juice Plus over Balance of Nature because of the research backing.
As detailed previously, there is an impressive amount of medical research proving health benefits to Juice Plus consumption in certain populations. We found the “research” backing Balance of Nature to be deceptive and illegitimate, as it was not published in medical journals. Balance of Nature’s research section instead links to PDF documents written by Russian researchers with unclear credentials, testing the product on rats.
Juice Plus also has a third-party certification validating the purity and label accuracy of their products, while Balance of Nature has no such certification.
Juice Plus products are NSF-certified. The NSF is one of the leading product quality certifications, as it independently tests the purity (absence of harmful contaminants), and label accuracy of products.
This is a good sign, and again confirms that Juice Plus is a brand that cares about the science backing their products. Few supplement companies undergo NSF testing as it’s relatively expensive, so Juice Plus taking that step proves their commitment to quality products.
We would urge Juice Plus to actually publish the results of the testing, rather than rely on the certification alone, as this type of transparency is valued by consumers.