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Diet and Nutrition

Whole Food Supplement

03/20/2002

Question:

I recently heard of a whole food supplement called Juice Plus. This supplement claims to contain the nutritional essence of 7 fruits, 8 vegetables and 2 grains. I am very busy and don`t always eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Will this supplement help me meet my nutritional needs?

Answer:

The old adage, `If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is` can be a helpful guide. I am always skeptical of a product that claims to contain all the benefits `Mother Nature` provides in our foods.

Fruits and vegetables are known to be beneficial in their whole form, however once we try to select out major nutrients found in them and create a supplement, there is no guarantee that all the beneficial components are included. Vitamins and minerals are not the only nutrients found in these wonderful foods. For example fiber and phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals that protect us from a wide range of diseases) contain many health benefits and are not included in a supplemental pill. My recommendation? Stick with whole fruits and vegetables and skip the juice plus.

Even with a very busy schedule there are ways to make sure you are including the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables daily (5 servings per day is a good goal). It is important to understand that a `standard serving` is not huge. Only ½ cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables is considered a serving. For fruits, one small piece of fruit or ½ cup of juice is a serving. So, when you find yourself running out the door in the morning you could quickly drink 4 oz. of orange juice (that`s 1 serving), then grab a small banana or apple to take with you for a quick mid-morning snack. You could also bring along some `mini` carrots or sweet pea pods to add to your lunch. Mid afternoon you could have a small box of raisins, perhaps a salad at dinner with ½ cup of another vegetable on the side (pick any of your colorful favorites). That already adds up to 6 servings! All it takes is a little pre-planning during your grocery shopping and each night (to pack a `grab-bag`). You`ll find eating whole foods instead of using a supplement will help you feel full longer, `exercise` your GI tract to keep it functioning well, provide more valuable nutrients, and will even help you control your weight.

So, I recommend that you save your money and enjoy the delicious selection of fruits and vegetables available all year long. Thanks for your question!

p.s. For more information on this subject, try the web site referenced below. Juice Plus+®: Want a `Carotenoid Gloss`? Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Related Resources:

Juice Plus+

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Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University