I’ve been asked if I’m ok. I’ve dropped Facebook, my website is still not finished, my taxes are still underway. What has the Krystal been doing this whole time?
This is a long post about misinformation, misinformed individuals, Juice Plus, healthy eating and research. There are links hidden everywhere in this post. If you’re serious about your health, I hope this post can help you start delving into the world of information. It’s a huge task, and it’s extra hard to figure out where to start. If you want one starting place – check out the documentaries listed towards the bottom. From there, you can ask questions and research the people and the articles that come up in those documentaries. It’ll lead you down a rabbit hole. Also note that I welcome honest and logical debate. I like science. I’m not an expert, so perhaps I’m reading into this wrong. I’ll admit that’s the case if you can show me otherwise – but please don’t comment with rage and name calling. We’re all grown up here, because I highly suspect that kids will not be interested in reading this. Hell, you may not be, either, and skip out early because you just don’t care. And that’s ok! You don’t have to. But for those of you who do, and are on a similar search for health, please do extensive research on any diet program or supplements before taking part. A lot of the information they sell you on is pseudo-science and heavily biased to make it sounds better than it really is. More on all of this below…..
I’ve made the decision to be healthy. Losing weight has always been a struggle for me, and any time I go see a physician of any kind I’m told that I need to lose weight. Because of my knee break in 2009, I’ve struggled with chronic pain ever since and the most I’m told is “lose weight – you’re fine”. This has been a circular cause of intense frustration that often leads me to diving headlong into hobbies and work, which causes a downward spiral of not having enough time to take proper care of myself, which means more pain, which means less movement, which is even more pain and there’s less desire to do normal daily activities, like cook properly. And so the spiral continues downward. This has not been fair to me, and I’ve made the firm decision to make myself and my health a focus. This, of course, leads to less time online and at the computer, and more time going for walks, dancing in the park, swimming, and reading up on nutrient values and healthy lifestyles.
The things I’ve found on my journey so far have been mind blowing and overwhelming, and the sneaky ways that people are directed to take sides on any matter are becoming more and more obvious to me, and I understand why people become so confused when looking for the exact answers that I’m looking for.
Netflix currently has several documentaries on society’s current lifestyle habits, including eating. There’s a huge discrepancy in the things we learn about food and some of the research available. There are many blogs and opinions and information regarding food, obesity and healthy eating. Trying to sort out what’s reliable information vs what’s not has been hard, and while I can’t say that I’m any kind of expert on the matter, what I CAN say with confidence is that there are too many people with a secret agenda, and it’s likely to cause more harm than good in many cases.
Another documentary called “(Dis)Honesty – The Truth about Lies” takes this concept even further in regards to ethics and morals, with experiments they’ve conducted regarding honesty. Their study showed dismal results when people were enticed to lie for cash. And it’s contagious. There are game referees, parents, politicians, students and more who lie for self-serving purposes, and the more they lie the easier it gets and the more they do it. And when one person lies, it suddenly becomes reasonable for someone else to lie, too. Researchers are no different. Given the right dollar amount, the results of their tests may very easily be swayed, which not only has a major impact on what we know, but also on how regulations are made and how we are fed, clothed and generally governed. Researchers were once paid to endorse tobacco as healthy and non-addictive – it seems that sugar and beef are the new kinds tobacco. What information is reliable and honest?
This is what I’m trying to find out, and this is where the majority of my time has been spent.
Using the information I’ve learned, I’ve created a morning routine that really does take until the afternoon to finish. Exercises, food prep, logging – the morning has become just mine. Physicians tell me that “all I need to do is eat fewer calories than you expend”. The problem with this is that it’s just not that easy – it doesn’t work that way for me. I can expend more calories, but STILL pack on the pounds regardless. Perhaps my body doesn’t like the science. I’ve been on this path before, again and again, and never has it been as easy as they tell me it is. “Oh, just stop drinking pop.” Well…. I don’t drink pop. So that’s not the problem. But there ARE problems in my eating habits – or, rather, WERE problems. I’ve been armed with knowledge, and I’m on a mission to succeed.
This time will be different, and that’s because I’m armed with previous experiences and the knowledge I’ve earned at each trial.
I question everything. All things. Even things from physicians, politicians and governing bodies. Especially from those, in fact. I would love to say that I trust people enough that I know that the information they pass on to the public is unaltered and unfiltered – I’d love to know that it’s unbiased knowledge getting passed around so that people could help others and we could all grow and live stronger together.
Sadly, that’s just not the case. So many individuals and companies state they want to help you – but their pockets seem to get pretty well insulated at the same time that we find ourselves struggling with the information they give to us. I truly believe that people start with the best of intentions, but intentions get waylaid with temptation.
The Canadian Obesity Network held a conference sponsored by McDonald’s and Coca-cola. Those aren’t exactly “healthy” corporations. Researchers are funded by Kellog’s and Coco-cola and other major corporations. A sugar manufacturing company is in collaboration with cereal companies to alter test results to sound healthy. These things are not ok, but have happened – and continues to happen. It’s time to make properly informed decisions, and that’s what I’m currently doing. But man, does it ever take a lot of reading and sorting out information.
Children are not only being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but are dying from heart failure and other complications. Part of the problem is that this was expected – George McGovern wrote a report in 1977 that acknowledged the obesity problem and advised that obesity in Americans would skyrocket within 10 years.
And he was right.
In 1977!! Why is this still an issue? See more on that report by clicking here.
People look at buzz words on the packaging. “Reduced sugar” “Fat Free” “Gluten Free” – sounds great, right? But what if “fat free” has twice the sugar? What if “reduced sugar” means that they’ve used a different kind of sugar that’s in a different area on the label? Or have only reduced it by such a small amount that it makes little difference? Too much sugar in any form – including natural sugar in fruit and vegetables – can still cause a spike in sugar levels which can lead to obesity if eaten in excess amounts. Reading labels is great, but what if you don’t know what half of the ingredients are?
Artificial and natural sweeteners are still sweeteners – most are still a sugar in some form, and they all still need to be monitored.
One thing I’ve learned to do is read labels – not just the ingredients like I used to do, but the nutritional content. It’s amazing what you find once you start combining these things.
I recently won a door prize that I’m super grateful for. I love when small businesses can support each other, and this was at such an event. I know that the best of intentions came with it and the business owner strongly believes in the product. As usual, though, I was skeptical, and of course I looked into it. Juice Plus is self-labeled as a “plant-based, vegan, gluten free, non-dairy, non-gmo, fat-free, cholesterol-free natural whole food sourced shake mix supplement that provides a delicious, healthy burst of nutrients in every scoop.”
Sounds great, right?? Actually…. no. Everything I read about eating healthy is to go for whole foods. Not “whole food sourced”. This is a perfect example of playing with words to make something sound better than it is. “Whole food based” does not mean it’s a whole food. It comes from whole foods – but so does sugar, and candies, and many processed foods. It’s the processing of these foods that lose their nutritional value, and “minimally processed” is STILL processed.
The small business owner spoke for the group today, and she shared some excellent information, including a trailor for “Fed Up” – another documentary currently found on Netflix that has a lot of excellent information. Her talk included touching on label reading and to avoid packaged foods that had more than 6 ingredients listed and anything over 6 g of sugar. In fact, the documentary she showed directed you to the same kind of information.
Juice plus contains 11 grams of sugar per serving, and lists 26 ingredients.
And then, while she’s mixing up smoothies for the group, she mentions that the sugar has been removed in the processing, and when someone asked if you could have this mix for breakfast, she replied “yes”.
Wait…. what? Sugar have been removed in the processing….. yet they’re stated on the bag. And I thought this was “minimally processed”. Also, the bag and everything online and research studies state that this product is a supplement – this does NOT indicate a meal replacement.
I’m not sure if it was just nerves, or what – but incorrect information was just passed onto numerous people, who might take that home and tell other people, who also pass it on. Information often gets lost in translation, but when that information is already incorrect to begin with, even more chaos ensues.
And if you look closer, there are also these little tidbits, including one that’s linked off their main page:
California requires the following notice: “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
Adverse effects and conflicts of interest: Adverse effects of Juice Plus have been mentioned in three studies, No monitoring of adverse effects was reported in other published Juice Plus studies. The first of these studies (in 2000) reported adverse effects (upper-respiratory tract, urinary, and musculoskeletal) in roughly a third of the participants who took the products for 7 days; these events resolved spontaneously and were deemed unlikely to have derived from use of Juice Plus. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center noted that in the second of these studies, some subjects who took Orchard Blend and Garden Blend developed a hive-like rash. In the third study, from 2007, some subjects withdrew due to gastrointestinal distress, possibly caused by the Juice Plus regimen (a combination of Orchard Blend, Garden Blend, and Vineyard Blend). In addition a medical case report was published in which Juice Plus was identified as the probable cause of liver toxicity (hepatic inflammation) in a 51-year-old female patient with endometrial cancer. The liver injury was reversed upon discontinuation of Juice Plus.
Conflicts of interest in studies
In a critique of Juice Plus, consumer health advocate and alternative medicine critic Stephen Barrett of MLM Watch remarked upon the previous association between two authors of a 1996 Juice Plus research study  and United Sciences of America, Inc. (USAI), a multilevel marketing company that sold vitamin supplements with illegal claims that they could prevent many diseases. In 1986, lead author John A. Wise, who later co-authored several other Juice Plus research studies, was USAI’s Executive Vice-President of Research and Development; and second author Robert J. Morin was a scientific advisor who helped design the products. State and federal enforcement actions drove USAI out of business in 1987. Wise became a consultant to Natural Alternatives International (NAI) in 1987 and a company executive (Vice-President of Research and Development) in 1992. Barrett noted that Wise was also an NAI shareholder and that production of Juice Plus for National Safety Associates (NSA) was responsible for 16% of NAIs sales in 1999.
NSAs Juice Plus website cites various research articles in support of the company’s marketing claims about the biological effects of Juice Plus, maintaining that these “studies were conducted by independent researchers” at various universities. Several of the studies were co-authored by Wise  and Morin.
University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter and MLMWatch also commented on the unreliability of Juice Plus testimonials provided by former professional athlete O.J. Simpson. Simpson, known commonly as “O.J.” and “The Juice”, signed a multi-year six-figure contract with NSA in January 1994 and became an official celebrity endorser of Juice Plus. In March 1994, Simpson was videotaped telling 4,000 Juice Plus distributors at a sales meeting that the product had cured his arthritis, improved his golf game, and freed him from using anti-arthritic drugs. However, regarding the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, for which Simpson was tried and acquitted, Simpson claimed in his defence that he was too incapacitated by arthritis to have committed the murders and had continued to take the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine. As a result of the controversy surrounding Simpson, NSA cancelled his endorsement contract and stopped using the Simpson videotape to promote Juice Plus.
Juice Plus Children’s Research Foundation
The Juice Plus Children’s Research Foundation (JPCRF), founded in 1997, is a non-profit medical research organization (NTEE code H99) whose stated goal is to initiate and/or support programs that advance the principle that improved nutrition leads to healthier lifestyle and overall better health in children. The foundation is chaired by executives of National Safety Associates and operates from the company’s head office in Collierville, Tennessee. In fiscal year 2007, the majority of funds donated to the foundation were disbursed to Volunteers of America (a faith-based social welfare organization) and to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Memphis.
The Foundation’s website shows results of an ongoing customer survey (The Juice Plus Children’s Health Study) which suggests a link between Juice Plus consumption and a general improvement in diet and lifestyle habits. The University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter and Stephen Barrett of MLM Watch questioned the survey’s scientific value, and claimed that the Foundation is being used mainly as a marketing gimmick to get families to buy Juice Plus products. Barrett’s organization Quackwatch includes the JPCRF among its list of “Questionable ‘Research’ Entities”.”
To see the associated links and more information, click here.
The highest recommended daily sugar intake according to the American Heart Association is 25 grams per day. One serving of this smoothie powder is nearly half the recommended daily amount – it’s not hard to see how quickly that would add up.
When listing ingredients, it is government regulation to list in order of highest quantity to lowest. The cosmetic industry is no different. The ingredients listed on the package I received are as follows:
Natural Sweetener blend (organic dried cane juice, stevia)
When I questioned the amount of sugar in the blend I was told that it had a lower glycemic index. This is something I hear often, but when I ask them what that means, the best answer I’ve heard was that is was healthier. Ok, but how? This is something I’ve looked at before, so I already know the answer. High glycemic foods cause an insulin spike, which transfers sugars into cells (which results in a sugar crash). Low glycemic foods will release sugars slowly into the system, keeping insulin levels more balanced. The glycemic index in a case such as this would have to be reduced fairly significantly in order to impress me – but it doesn’t, because the option they chose to replace white sugar with is not much different than white sugar to begin with.
There is little difference between cane sugar and white sugar. Cane sugar is less processed – but barely, and white sugar comes from either cane sugar or sugar beets. The glycemic index for white sugar is 63 , for cane sugar juice is 43, and for stevia is 0. So yes, the glycemix index is lower than with white sugar, but excess amounts can still cause a spike in blood sugar. There are two other problems with this, however. One of those is that stevia is listed in a blend, and shows as the last on the blend. That blend is the highest quantitative ingredient listed, but there’s nothing to show how much difference there is between the two ingredients. It could make up only 2% – or even less – of the blend, which would reduce cost for the manufacturer and is a sneaky way to make the list look healthier than it probably is.
While stevia is touted as safe on labels, there are reports of GI symptoms by many people who have eaten highly processed stevia products. It can be irritating to the stomach and digestive system. It can also has a negative effect on those being treated with diabetes and those using blood pressure medication.
Sugar is sugar – even if it has a lower glycemic index, moderation needs to be followed.
Natural gums (Arabic, guar, xanthan)
Arabic gum, or acacia gum, is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of the acacia tree and is used as a stabilizer in food. It may cause an increase in serum cholesterol in some people. Most of the uses for this ingredient in food is to prevent or reduce the crystallization of sugar and as an emulsifier. It is also promoted as a dietary fiber and thought to be a valuable pre-biotic, stimulating the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Guar gum, or guaran, is the ground endosperm of guar beans. It prolongs shelf life and acts as a thickening agent.
Xanthan gum is used in for as a thickening agent.
Plant cellulose is an insoluble dietary fiber extracted by plants – often from tree bark. This has been the cause of much controversy and discussion amongst experts and public opinion. It is used in the food industry as an inexpensive, but health-friendly, filler. it helps the digestive process by absorbing water, which adds bulk and moisture to the stool and helps prevent constipation. Cellulose consists of about 1/3 of all the fiber in all vegetables.
Rice bran is a nutrient rich by-product of rice processing. It is most likely stabilized rice bran, since unstabilized rice bran has a tendency to go rancid. It is a source of fiber and other essential nutrients
Natural flavors are used when a company does not want to give a proprietary secret away. According to legislation, there are numerous ingredients that may be listed as such if they are used in a small enough amount. Did you know that this proprietary method of secret keeping can also lead to hidden ingredients, since it can be argued that a certain questionable ingredient is part of the flavor. This is an ingredient that’s high on my personal red-flagged list.
fruit and vegetable blend (Ancient Grain Blend (broccoli sprout, alfalfa sprout, radish sprout, organic amaranth, organic quinoa, organic millet), Proprietary powder blend (pumpkin powder, pomegranate powder, spirulina powder, yucca powder))
A nice, wholesome list of nutrient-rich vegetable powders. Too bad there’s more sugar that the stuff that’s actually good for you.
Calcium citrate is a compound made from the calcium salt of the citric acid and is an absorbable form of calcium that often comes from citrus juices. It acts as a calcium supplement as well as a food additive and preservative.
Tricalcium phosphate is used widely in both cosmetic and food manufacturing industries. It is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid and helps increase the calcium content of foods.
Calcium carbonate also helps you to achieve minimum daily calcium amounts. It comes from limestone, marble or sedimentation of crushed marine shells.
Sodium chloride is salt.
Maltodextrin is a thickening agent used in foods to add viscosity to items such as pudding, canned fruits and protein shakes. While is does not have a sweet taste, it has similar chemical properties to sugar. It is made from rice, potatoes or corn starches.
soy and sunflower lecithin
soy and sunflower lecithin are waste products of soy oil production. It is used as an emulsifier to keep water and fats from separating. It is extracted from soy beans using toxic substances such as hexane. It is then bleached to remove the brownish to yellow hue.
The first two sets of ingredients are sugar and thickening agents, which make up most of our protein shake mix. As someone aiming to eat a whole-food, mostly plant-based diet, this isn’t a great start.
The combination of ingredients has more overly processed foods in it than it doesn’t – and I believe that anyone who views this kind of product as a “whole” food has been seriously misguided. What worries me, however, is that the people who believe so strongly in this kind of scam are guiding others, and growing in a tidal wave of misinformed health guidance.
People often hear that I’m gearing towards a healthier life and they have all kinds of diet suggestions for me. The thing is, though, is that I don’t want “to diet” – I want to live healthy. Which means that my changes are habit changes, no temporary fixes. I also know my body well enough to know that whatever diet may lose some of my extra pounds, it’ll also make it come back tenfold. I’ve found the lifestyle diet that I want to follow, and while the hardest part of switching to it was habitual, that’s becoming easier and easier. There are amazing options out there that are healthier and just as tasty as what you’re used to.
From the Atkins diet to Whole 30 – there are so many diets that use faulty logic and science to trick people into jumping on their bandwagon of questionable health. People have an unbalanced and unhealthy view of eating and habits, and it’s no wonder they can’t get on the right track. And no wonder why people eat all wrong.
Is the diet I picked “the best one”? Truthfully, I don’t believe there’s any one “best” anything. It entirely depends on the person, their habits and lifestyles and body function. I truly do believe that I have made the best and healthiest decision for myself, however. What works for one person, may not work for another. The “simple” solutions are often so much more complicated than “experts” make it out to be, and just because a product says it’s “reduced salt” doesn’t mean it is low in sodium – just means that it’s not as high as the regular kind. Be careful of buzzwords and question everything.
Much of what I’ve been reading involves vegan and vegetarian options. There are many, many sources that link healthier people to vegetarian lifestyles. While it seems they have not found the specific link between animal protein and obesity, congestive heart failure and other health problems, the results all point to the same conclusion that reduced protein led to healthier personal statistics.
On the other hand, there’s the argument that humans do not require animal protein at all in order to survive. There are a small handful of minerals and nutrients, however, that must be supplemented.
I’m the kind of person that wants the most natural balance I can get. I want to get my nutrients and essential fatty acids from my foods, the way it really should be. If I’m eating properly, there should be little or no need at all for supplements. Sugar is fine to have – in moderation. Fats are fine as well – and also in moderation. Too much fiber can cause issues, too much salt, too much of anything. The dose is the poison, as they say – anything can be toxic if misused. And food is no exception.
Of all the things I’ve read, I’ve finally come to a solution I feel comfortable with. While I’m not cutting meat and animal products out of my life entirely, I’m cutting way back on them. Meat has always been a large part of my lifestyle, so this is a big change for me. I’m avoiding canned foods where I can, since they still contain sugars and salts as preservatives. I’m sticking with actual, real whole foods – the kind that can and do go bad, or sour, or rotten. The boxed and bagged things that sell you on how healthy they are should have warning labels for how unhealthy they aren’t.
This is a journey I am taking for me, because I want to be and deserve to be healthy. I want others to be, as well, and if I’m going to be encouraging to others to take care of themselves and be healthy, then I need to live it myself, and stop being a hypocrite. I encourage so many people to be themselves and enjoy nature and love and self-care, but I haven’t given myself that same respect. That’s why 2017 is for me, however. This is my year, and the year I take control of my life.
What does this mean for Bohemian Alchemist?
I’m just slowing down. But not quitting. Not a chance. I love my job way too much! I just really, really need to do this thing for myself, and it’s taking quite a bit of time and energy.
Want more information? Please keep in mind that there are almost always extreme measures taken in documentaries and media in order to convince you to take one side over another. Please remember that. One of the documentaries listed, for example, used the chemical list in a perfume as an example of “toxic chemicals” used in the formula. What they didn’t mention was how many of those chemicals were naturally occuring components in essential oils – which are used extensively in perfumery. I have NOT watched all of these, yet, but am working my way through. These are currently available on Netflix, but click on the title to bring you to the documentary main page.
Hungry For Change
Food MattersFed up
PlantPure NationFat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Addicted to Pleasure
From Fat to Finish Line
Want more information? Here are some of the links that have been helpful to me. Click on the title.
Please note: Some of the articles listed are only partial summaries, and the full abstracts must be purchased in order to view. I have most, if not all of those listed below. If you’d like more information please contact me.
Sugar and Obesity
Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy.
Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes?: health be damned! Pour on the sugar.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease risk
Sugar consumption and global prevalence of obesity and hypertension: an ecological analysis.
Effects of sugar intake on body weight: a review.
Starches, Sugars and Obesity
Sugar Intake, Obesity, and Diabetes in India
Cane Sugar Handbook
Manufacturing and refining of raw cane sugar
The in vitro effects of artificial and natural sweeteners on the immune system using whole blood culture assays.
Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits
Sweetening agents from natural sources.
Metabolic effects of fructose as a natural sweetener in the physiologic meals of ambulatory obese patients with type II diabetes.
Evaluation of supplementary stevia (Stevia rebaudiana, bertoni) leaves and stevioside in broiler diets: effects on feed intake, nutrient metabolism, blood parameters and growth performance
EFFECTS OF STEVIA REBAUDIANA NATURAL PRODUCTSON RAT LIVER MITOCHONDRIA
CHRONIC ADMINISTRATION OF AQUEOUS EXTRACTOF STEVIA REBAUDIANA (BERT.) BERTONI IN RATS:ENDOCRINE EFFECTS
Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana in rats: renal effects
Effects of chronic administration of Stevia rebaudiana on fertility in rats
Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels ☆
Protective effects of oral arabic gum administration on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats.
Renal and extrarenal effects of gum arabic ( Acacia senegal )–what can be learned from animal experiments?
Does treatment with gum Arabic affect experimental chronic renal failure in rats?
Acacia gum (Gum Arabic): a nutritional fibre; metabolism and calorific value.
Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial
Gelatinization of wheat starch as modified by xanthan gum, guar gum, and cellulose gum
TREATMENT OF DIABETES WITH GUAR GUM: Reduction of Urinary Glucose Loss in Diabetics
The prebiotic effects of biscuits containing partially hydrolysed guar gum and fructo-oligosaccharides – a human volunteer study
Properties and applications of xanthan gum
Xanthan gum biosynthesis and application: a biochemical /genetic perspective
Effect of locust bean/xanthan gum addition and replacement of pork fat with olive oil on the quality characteristics of low-fat frankfurters
The relation of cellulose and lignin content to the nutritive value of animal feeds.
Rice bran: Composition and potential food uses
Functional properties of dietary fibre prepared from defatted rice bran
Rice bran proteins: Properties and food uses
Studies on hypocholesterolemic activity of rice bran oil
4 Ways Juice Plus is Scamming Americans
The Problem with Science Funded by Industry
Juice Plus: A Critical Look
Debunked!: Juice Plus (A Research Review)
Diet Pill Watchdog: Juice Plus
An Unbiased Review of Juice Plus
Is Juice Plus A Scam
The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to test, treat or diagnose health problems or diseases. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.