SUPER FRUIT JUICES
indicated fruit and vegetable juices, whether purchased or
self-prepared, is a quick and convenient way in which to obtain the
essential nutrients they contain. However, he warned that since plant
fibre is an essential dietary component, juices should not replace the
normal daily intake of fruit and vegetables.
containing supplementary fibre are now readily available and are
recommended for those who need to compensate for the lack of dietary
fibre amongst those who, for various reasons, are unable to obtain the
normal levels of dietary fibre.
the juices are
purchased while still fresh, or prepared from fresh fruit and
vegetables, they provide a relatively inexpensive and healthy dietary
supplement. However the problem often arises with the introduction of
some new type of fruit or vegetable juice which, because of its
exceptionally high-cost, is often marketed with highly exaggerated
claims of their ability to improve health, reduce aging, etc. Yet,
despite these quite extraordinary promises, these juices are actually
"quack juices" which in fact, are no more beneficial than any of the
ordinary low-cost varieties of fruit juices!
public is regularly
exposed to a variety of such "quack health products" which, all too
often, are presented in such a way that they appear to be legitimate
and beneficial. One common approach in advertising these products is to
make false "scientific" claims about their health-promoting potential.
approach is widely
used to promote so-called health drinks or fruit juices, especially
those that are often referred to as "super-fruit" drinks. Since the
advertisers are well aware that the general public tends to accept such
claims without question, and, by making such claims, they give the
product a false appearance of legitimacy and efficacy.
products always promote them in the most flattering terms and make
quite extravagant claims about their ability to produce good-health,
youthfulness, vigour, improved eye-sight, make the hair thicker, remove
wrinkles and skin blemishes, etc. Such "promises" are specifically
designed to appeal to people's unrealistic desire to find a
"quick-fix", an easy way to be healthy, something that will instantly
replace a lifetime of unhealthy living.
type of product is
neither new nor original. For thousands of years there has always been
some sharp operator ready to take advantage of peoples' natural
gullibility, and that, by promising their product will improve our
health, improve our appearance, especially if it makes us look younger,
people seem to be only too eager to purchase these products.
heyday of these
fabulous products was the early part of the 19th century when quack
elixirs of every kind proliferated, sold by hucksters in
medicine-shows. Commonly known as "snake-oil salesmen", these conmen
travelled around the countryside in horse-drawn wagons. When they
arrived in some small rural town they would set up their wagon, and
present a musical, medical show. When a crowd had been attracted by the
music, the salesman, who generally referred to himself as a "doctor",
would do his spiel, presenting his "wonder tonic" as the ultimate
panacea that could heal every illness or physical ailment known to
concoctions were usually a mixture of cheap alcohol and whatever herbs
they could find locally, they always claimed the fabulous elixir had
been prepared from a secret formula, containing a collection of "rare
herbs” and a selection of other secret ingredients. Some even claimed
their elixir contained the mystical “snake oil” (from which these
conmen gained their nickname).
common claim was
that the hawker of the magical elixir had one day found a dying Indian
medicine-man, and having rendered as much assistance as he could, in
gratitude for his help, in his dying moments the Indian had passed on
to him the secret formula of this incredible elixir.
progressed these snake-oil salesmen abandoned the drudge of travelling
around the countryside; they became more businesslike, switching their
wagons for an office and a factory, and using the growing availability
of newspapers to advertise their products. Typical of the products sold
were Mansfield's Magic Arnica Liniment, this was, "... prepared
from rare essential oils, extract of camphor, arnica, chlorodine and
magnetic fluid chemically combined."
purveyors of quack medicine products was the Kickapoo Indian Medicine
Co. who, in addition to their main product Kickapoo Indian Sagwa also
offered a range of Kickapoo Indian pills, oil, salve, worm-killer and
cough cure. The Sagwa was described as, "A compound of the virtues
of roots, herbs, barks, gums and leaves...drives out the foul
corruption that which contaminates the blood and causes derangement and
decay." (McCoy, p. 10)
tactic of selling
useless products to a gullible public still persists, so that today we
find numerous quack products being marketed. In this instance we are
examining the product popularly known as "super-fruit juices", juices
that are claimed to contain a "secret ingredient" that delivers
incredible amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, etc. and is "guaranteed"
to cure every disorder known to humankind; the claims are rather
reminiscent of the ones made by the quacks of old; the only difference
is that many of these products are being marketed through multi-level
marketing (MLM) schemes.
the major claims
for the various fruit juices is that they contain large amounts of
antioxidants, substances that fight the free radicals in the body. A
free radical is a molecule which, because of its structure is able to
bond with other molecules oxidizing them and stripping them of
electrons; essentially it causes cells to break down, a process
associated with the overall aging process of the body. Naturally,
anything which will prevent our organs, and especially our skin, aging,
and becoming wrinkled has a tremendous attraction to the vanity of both
men and women. However, the antioxidizing process of the free radicals
is quite a complex and important part of body chemistry, for instance,
one vital process they perform is to convert body fat into energy.
super-juice products are extremely expensive, often around $50 or more
per litre, it is important to determine whether or not they contain a
higher level of antioxidants than more commonly available fruit or
fruit juices. This information was provided by Choice, which
measured the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) the amounts of
antioxidants in the various super-juices being tested.
comparison, they first determined that the TAC of a common Red
Delicious Apple was 5900 units, and the various TAC's obtained from a
selection of commonly available super-juices were compared to the TAC
of the apple. The various results are shown in the following table.
| COMPARISON OF
ANTIOXIDANT LEVELS in COMMON FRUIT vs
prepared from information in Choice 2007 article
||TOTAL ANTIOXIDANTS in PRODUCT
||% ANTIOXIDANTS COMPARED TO APPLE
Delicious Apple (1)
|| 6,058 units
|570 - 2,025 Units
||10% - 34%
|| 1,020 -1,710 units
||525 - 540 units
levels in the various super-fruit juices ranged from only 9% to 34%
which are all well below the TAC of the apple. Given the differences in
the amount of antioxidants contained in the more common varieties of
fruit, and in particular, the vast price differences between the more
common fruit and the super-juices, it would appear that the ordinary
fruit varieties represent a far superior option, on the basis of both
health, and cost!
basis of this
analysis Choice (2007) concluded, "You can pay as much as
$85 for a litre of one of these juices. On a serve-by-serve basis, many
common fruits, such as strawberries, and apples, contain more
antioxidants, and are cheaper." (p. 13)
superjuices, (2007). Choice, September, 13-15.
B. (2000). Quack!
Tales of Medical Fraud From the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices.
Santa Monica, California: Santa Monica Press.
I. (1996). Dr.
Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine. New York: Random House,
February 5th 2008. http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4086
L. 2008 A Skeptical Look At
Alternative Therapies and Beliefs, Digital