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Updated June 2022 by Serena Bansal Registered Dietitian BSc Hons
Read this blog post to learn more about the juice plus diet and it’s pros and cons.
Pros of the Juice Plus diet
In a modern society, where the pressures and expectations of every day life are ever increasing, the shake or bar style meal replacement is extremely convenient.
Simple to follow
With mixed messages surrounding weight loss and healthy eating in the media, following a diet which will allow weight loss can be extremely confusing. However, the Juice PLUS + diet is very simple in that you replace 2 meals a day with either a shake or bar.
From internet reviews and reviews by clients on social media this product certainly produces results.
It may sound strange but sometimes the popularity of a diet can increase its effectiveness. It is well known that people who try and lose weight with a friend are often more successful. As the Juice PLUS + diet popularity increases, it is highly likely that clients starting on this diet will know a friend, colleague or relative who has already tried or is on the diet, and will be able to help with motivation.
The Juice PLUS+ shakes contain around 20g of protein. Protein is known to keep us fuller for longer and so may curb food cravings later in the day.
When made with milk the Juice PLUS+ shakes are a source of calcium which is important for bone health.
Both the Juice PLUS+ shakes and bars have a good proportion of RDRs (recommended daily requirements).
What Does Science Say?
There is sufficient scientific evidence to support the use of meal replacements in weight management (DOM UK, 2005).
Cons of the Juice Plus diet
Weight Loss Maybe Too Fast
The NHS recommend a weight loss rate of 1-2lb a week. This is thought to allow weight that comes off to stay off. However, some reports via social media indicate much faster rates when following the Juice PLUS+ diet. Large amounts of weight loss over a short period of time have been linked to health problems such as gallstones and malnutrition.
Not socially acceptable
In a modern world where food has become a social event, it maybe difficult to follow any meal replacement type diet when eating out or with company.
Each Juice PLUS+ bar or shake costs between £1.40-£2.20 . Over a week this = £19.60- £30.80 (plus the milk you would need to make the shakes and the other food you need to buy for your healthy meal each day).
Too Low in Calories?
The Juice PLUS+ shakes are around 220kcals each. Which is extremely low if you consider the average women needs around 2000kcals a day, and the average man needing around 2500kcals a day. Even with the recommended 500kcal reduction/day to allow for weight loss, only having 440kcals by the time you get home from work, may leave you extremely hungry in the day leading to dizziness, food cravings, binge eating and/or a reduction in concentration.
What Happens After You Have Reached your Target Weight?
Juice PLUS+ recommend that you continue to replace one meal a day with one of their shakes or bars in order to maintain your new weight. Therefore you are never off the ‘diet’ as such.
Not Very Personal
The nutritional needs of an individual are highly specific to that person. They vary depending on age, sex, exercise levels and other health conditions. However, the Juice PLUS+ diet is a one size fits all approach, meaning that some people following the diet may be at risk of malnutrition or having in excess of their nutritional requirements.
Lack of Supporting Education
The Juice PLUS+ diet suggests that you replace two of your meals a day with their products and have a further healthy balanced meal. However, there is no further information discussing what a healthy balanced meal actually is. This could potentially lead to clients either experiencing no weight loss at all or as previously mentioned, a dangerously high rate of weight loss.
Another potential problem may arise when clients finally reach their target weight and reduce their intake of Juice PLUS+ products: how will they know what to eat to maintain their new weight?
What Does Science Say?
Although there is a a lot of evidence showing that meal replacements have a place in weight management, these studies also involved a healthcare professional supporting clients. Unfortunately, because the Juice PLUS+ products can be bought over the counter, without a prescription it is questionable how effective it will be in the long term.
There is also very little evidence to support the use of Juice PLUS+ over similar meal replacements when trying to lose weight.
What About IBS and PCOS?
For these two conditions, a specialist diet looking at carbohydrates, fibre, meal timings and fluid intake is needed. Therefore the Juice Plus diet is not appropriate. However, if you would like information for these conditions, please contact me here.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.