By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”™
OK, class, let’s start with the Cliff Notes: There are no magical, miracle fruits.
And yes, that includes the latest wonder fruit from the rainforest, or some obscure berry from Brazil, or some ancient, recently re-discovered elixir from some special mountain in Nicaragua that nobody ever heard of. All of them.
It also includes the juices made from these supposedly magical fruits, juices that frequently sell for 40 bucks a pop and are only available from “distributors” who just happen to be uniquely qualified to tell you about the amazing health properties of the juice they’re selling while solemnly quoting you obscure research from Japan showing that their product cures cancer.
Research, incidentally, that no one ever heard of and that has never been duplicated or published in a serious journal. (I had some Kangan water salespeople run that Japanese research one on me, more than once.)
So listen up. I’ve heard every one of these claims. And guess what? They’re all nonsense.
Here’s the deal. Virtually every brightly colored fruit (or vegetable) in the universe contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. No argument there. Fruits and vegetables all contain a wide range of flavonoids, flavanols, polyphenols, catechins and all sorts of phytochemicals, and just about all of these wonderful compounds will support your health. But you don’t have to pay astronomical amounts of money for to get them. And there’s nothing special or unique about goji berries, acai berries, or any of the other overly hyped fruits. They’re terrific, sure. But so are blueberries.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re eating a crummy diet and barely exercising, drinking one to two ounces of expensive juice isn’t going to do much for you.
The folks that promote these juices seem never to understand how to prioritize their health battles. They’ll debate you endlessly on some esoteric and unproven “alkaline” water while scarfing down a Big Mac and apple pie.
Hey, these juices aren’t bad for you. (Full disclosure: I had some nice things to say about Noni juice in my book, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”, and there is some promising science behind the fruit it’s made from.) But cure cancer? Grow hair? Change your life? Melt pounds from your middle?
Bottom line- before signing up for some very expensive “juice cleanse”, or investing in some overhyped multi-marketed juice drink, go to Trader Joe’s and buy yourself a nice little assortment of some unsweetened, pure juices like blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, and black cherry. Or better yet, make your own juice, or just eat a bunch of vegetables and berries. For about 1/10 the price (and no annoying talk of Diamond Distributorships and Up With People narratives) you’ll get all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power you need, and you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to do it.