Fruit and Vegetable Pills: Effective or Scam?

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2820-989420_green_pills.jpgFor all the picky eaters out there who don’t like their fruits and vegetables, the pill form of fruits and vegetables may sound like a great idea.

Or, it may sound appealing to those who have a busy lifestyle and can’t seem to eat enough produce in the day.

But, how can one little pill replace all that nutrition that we get in cups of fruits and vegetables?

The Truth

When it sounds too easy to be true, it probably is. Good nutrition takes planning and a conscious effort. We can’t simply pop a pill to fix our diet.

This is the same with multivitamins–a lot of people supplement with multivitamins to make sure they get what they need in the day. However, it is always best to try to eat the most balanced diet and get our vitamins and minerals that way. Hundreds of years ago, humans never had magic pills to fix their diets. We simply need to work on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with a varied diet.

Juice Plus

The most popular fruit and vegetable pill is Juice Plus. So, what is in this popular pill, and why is it ineffective?

  • Made from the dehydrated juice of 17 different fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • The chewables contain added sugars.
  • The sugar, salt, fiber, calories are removed.
  • Fibers and enzymes are added back in to the pill.
  • Contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, but not all vitamins and minerals.
  • No information is available for the quantities of the ingredients.
  • There are no studies that show Juice Plus is more effective than other forms of supplementation.

Conclusions

When we consume the whole fruit or vegetable, we eat the live food with fiber. That fiber is the key. Recent studies have shown that eating that fiber directly from the fresh produce is the key to absorbing the most phytochemicals, enzymes, and antioxidants. An added bonus is that fresh fruits and veggies keep you fuller for less calories!

Have you tried taking a pill form of fruits and vegetables?

19 Comments

  1. Hershel G McElyea

    Tried Balance Of Nature fruits and vegetables supplements. Took it three months. It’s a ripoff and it’s expensive. Something better at Walmart for under $15 and it actually works. A big scoop verses a half teaspoon of product is all you get in those three little capsules with BoN.

    Reply
  2. Mmewerner

    My daughter has Oral Allergy Syndrome, and she CAN’T eat fruits or vegetables. She is young and growing, so I am looking for real information on ways that we can supplement what she is lacking in her diet. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Craig

      Have you tried Juice Plus for her?

      Reply
  3. Laurens Detand

    Do you need extra nutrition tablets if you eat enough varied vegetables and fruit?

    Reply
    • Ted

      no, if you are eating a lot of fruit and vegetables you do not need supplements.

      Reply
  4. Marvin Lashley

    You mention “recent studies”. Usually this is a term used to “prove” a point without actually providing any information.
    Can you cite these studies by researchers, dates, numbers please?

    Reply
  5. Isabel

    10years ago I was getting ill monthly with colds and flu like symptoms and found Juice Plus very affective in helping me keep well. In fact after starting the veg and fruit capsules I didn’t get ill again for another 4years! Was life changing for me and the medical research is there to back this product up. I realise that all products are not the same and some multivitamin mixes are not very easily digestible. I understand that this product does not have the same fibre content as eating the whole fruit and veg but the benefit of getting such a massive amount of live phytonutrients ( http://m.livescience.com/52541-phytonutrients.html ) worked wonders for me.

    Reply
  6. Doug

    I grow really tired of being told that it is best to eat fruits and vegetables. I can’t or I’m not going to. So spare me the health lecture which I can find elsewhere and advise me on the best fruit and vegetable supplement.

    Reply
    • Craig

      Juice Plus is simply the best. The formula has been perfected over the last 40 years and there’s 37 published peer reviewed medical journal studies documenting the effects of the products. Their proprietary process to make the capsules is done in a way that no nutrients are harmed, you get everything but the water from the plants.

      Reply
  7. joan

    para adelgazar hay que comer poco y correr mucho
    lo de mas son tonterias.

    Reply
  8. faith njuki

    Always supplement fruits and vegetables because when you take fruits/vegetables especially the ones that are not fresh i.e processed/refrigerated you do not take the required quantities/nutrition needed by the body hence supplements helps.

    Reply
  9. Adil Rauf

    If its true alternative of fruits and vegetable then it greats for people like me whose dont like fruits and vegetable and have busy life routine but i have one doubt about these kind of pills may they have any side effects

    Reply
  10. liporidex

    Wow what will they think up next. While supplements can be a great help – eating fruits and the actual functional foods is always the better choice. Supplement when you need to!

    Reply
  11. hcg

    Your idea of pill expanding into actual fruit really sounded like fun.

    Fruits and vegetables as a whole contain much more essentials than a pill would. They contain fibers, water and multivitamins which can’t be found in a compact pill altogether. So I am on the real and fresh thing.

    Reply
  12. Bonnie

    Unless those pills expand into actual fruit once they hit your stomach (like the little capsules with sponges that grow into animal shapes when you drop them in water,) I’ll stick with the real thing.

    Reply
  13. Lana

    Oh and I forgot to add that some brands are a total waste of money, and some actually look decent. Genuine Health and Progressive look good to me but the GNC one seems lacking, Cytogen makes on too that looks like BS to me.

    Reply
  14. Lana

    I am 50/50 on this one. On one hand the ingredients of a lot of these veggie supplements look amazing. Geniunie Health Greens has things like Spirulina, Chlorella, and Wheatgrass. I am guessing the majority of people are not including Spirulina in their regular diet. I think it can have its benefits. Some even have a multivitamin thrown in. When my partner went camping in the desert he used products like these because he couldn’t bring fresh stuff. You certainly can’t rely on veggie supplements, but If you are someone who just does not and will not eat any fruits and veggies than at least you can try this and get some benefits.

    Reply
  15. Spectra

    I would never take a vegetable “pill”. There are too many valuable phytonutrients in plants that you can’t replicate in a lab. Besides, there aren’t many calories in veggies to begin with–why remove them? Your best bet is probably to eat a variety of fruits and veggies and take a multivitamin to round out your diet.

    Reply
    • C Brundish

      I’m about to start lemtrada for ms and am not allowed fresh fruit or veg after treatment will supplements be a safer option for me?

      Reply