You might have seen it plastered all over social media, or heard it lauded by the recumbent bike-dwellers at the gym; Juice Plus is apparently the latest in a long line of miracle diets guaranteed to help you shed pounds. Except it’s bullshit.
Like all the other diets you’ve tried, Atkins, Dukan, Cambridge, South Beach, Cabbage Soup, Low fat, Low carb, the Juice Plus diet is counter productive to your aims, because it’s just a diet, and a temporary diet is NOT a powerful tool in helping you achieve the physique you want.
So What is Juice Plus?
Juice Plus is a brand with a range of nutritional supplements targeted at people looking to loose weight and/or improve their general health. This range consists of powders, pills, bars, capsules, and something called, hilariously, ‘Shape Booster G2′. The range is split into three segments – your good ol’ Juice Plus which encompasses all the pills and capsules, Juice Plus Shape – soups and shakes, and Juice Plus Complete, basically meal replacement shakes. The Juice Plus Shape range are the products intended to be used for the diet. Oh wait, I made a mistake, it’s not a diet, it is in fact;
Of course, a multimodal programme. That old chestnut. Looks like they’re not even sure themselves however, if you download the PDF, which is basically pages and pages of marketing bollocks and stock photos of smiling couples wearing all linen, you’ll see that they change their mind…
So we’ve established it is in fact, a diet. But how is the diet structured?
There are four phases, in each phase you’re supposed to consume a set number of Juice Plus products and whole food meals per day, as you progress through each phase of the diet the number of Juice Plus products decreases, and the number of whole food meals increases. Pretty much like any other diet that involves these kind of products, and just as bad.
Why is it Popular at the Moment?
The Juice Plus a line of products which seem to be gaining traction at the moment, this is specifically down to their business model, where they promote their products to individuals who can become franchisees. I haven’t looked into it but what this probably entails is franchisees earning a small amount of commission when they promote this product to their friends and family.
So it’s not just Juice Plus themselves that are promoting these products, but a large band of ill-informed franchisees who most likely know next to nothing about nutrition. You may have heard of other ‘nutrition’ brands running a similar scheme, or even been contacted via the company or another franchisee directly in an attempt to get you to help pedal their bullshit products – Herbalife is one such brand that comes to mind.
This business model is based on the fact that people are likely to trust their friends, so the advertsing is more likely to work coming from them, than from Juice Plus themselves. Except if you have more than one iota of intelligence you’ll see straight through the scheme.
So, Why is it Bullshit?
Well, two reasons, one – it’s not optimal for general health, and two – like most other diets, long term, it probably won’t help you lose weight.
1. Pseudo nutrition
The people behind Juice Plus might lead you to believe their products are highly nutritious -they use pictures of colorful fruit on their products, and have a nice video on their website, explaining how they extract all the goodness from fruit, but when the list of ingredients of ingredients for their products reads like a PhD science dissertation. Check this out, this is the ingredients list for their ‘Chocolate Shake’
Absurd, I’m sure you’ll agree. But why is this a problem?
I just want to loose some weight, and it’s just about reducing calories, right? Well, no.
To simplify things as much as possible – humans ate the same way for a couple of million years, it’s only over the last 100 years that processed foods have become readily available and widely consumed (by Western populations anyway), unsurprisingly,modern diet related diseases including obesity have only become prevalent in the last 100 years or so. You’re clever, so draw your own conclusions.
Our bodies aren’t designed to deal with food (if you can call it that) like this. We’re designed to eat unprocessed, single ingredient foods (nothing added, nothing taken away). Make no mistake, this includes foods that many people are scared of, including butter and fatty red meat.
Think about it like this, these kind of foods, although demonised in the mass media for years, contain macro and micronutrients as well as vitamins and minerals that our bodies need for optimal health – our bodies can USE the calories in these foods.
It can’t use the silicon dioxide and sunflower lecithin in your Juice Plus shake nearly as well. Even if weight loss were JUST about calorie reduction – this can be done in a much healthier way with real, whole foods than with shitty, processed dust in a bag. Because that’s what it is. Dust.
2.Diets make you fat
Diets can of course help you lose weight in the short term. Problem is, most of this weight loss will be fluids and muscle tissue.
So you go on a calorie restricted diet, and you lose weight – great. Then what? You go back to the way you were eating before? If you do you’ll get fat again.
Except it’s worse than that. If you’ve lost weight rapidly on a diet, as I said, some of the weight you’ve lost will be muscle tissue, when you lose muscle tissue, your metabolic rate decreases, this means the rate at which you burn fat decreases.
In turn, this means that if you diet, lose muscle tissue, then go back to eating the way that made you fat in the first place, you’ll probably end up fatter than you were before.
Of course, you’ll tell yourself that you’ll diet then start to eat well. But if that’s the case, why not just start eating well now?
The other thing is, weight loss should not be your primary goal (unless you are dangerously overweight/obese), your primary goal should be changing your body composition, i.e. reducing your body fat and increasing your muscle mass – this will make you look better as well as helping you stave off fat long term – because more muscle mass means a higher metabolic rate.
This might even result in you gaining weight – but who cares what the scales say if you look better?
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT NUTRITION AND START EATING REAL FOOD NOW, AND FOREVER – YOU WILL LOOK BETTER, FEEL BETTER AND YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO GO ON A DIET AGAIN.
Is There Anything Good About Diets?
Programs like Juice Plus Shape are really good at motivating people – it’s almost like a cult, so people participating in the program feel like they’re part of an exclusive club.
This alone can spark the desire to follow the diet religiously, and even lose some weight, which is great, as long as you’re then armed with the knowledge to continue on the road to optimal health and the body and lifestyle you want, the problem is, so many people aren’t.
If diets really worked, do you think there would be so many of them?
Do you think companies like Juice Plus would be able to start up and be successful?
It’s not necessarily the individual diets that are the problem – one diet isn’t better than another, the problem is the widespread misconception that a temporary diet is all that’s needed to turn your life around.
What’s really needed is a lifestyle change.
So is There a Diet that Works?
If you define a diet as a temporary change in eating habits, then no. For me, a successful diet is something you stick to FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. YEP, FOREVER.
Diets should be a lifestyle, and if there’s one lifestyle that I think can spark a revolution in the way with think about food, yep, it’s Paleo.
There are whole sites dedicated to Paleo so I’m not going to go into it in detail, but very simply, eating Paleo style means eating as we have for millions of years, and not as we have in the past 100 years or so. The most important philosophy about this diet is the total avoidance of any processed food – i.e. processed fats, flour and sugar which are present in so much of the food most of us eat today
A simple way to follow this lifestyle, is to only eat single-ingredient foods.
It’s not just about food though, it’s also about moving around more, and going outside now and again. If you want to read more about it, check Chris Kressers ‘Your Personal Paleo Code’.
It’s better than restricting calories and guzzling foul-tasting soups and shakes with negligible nutritional value.