Juicing for Health?

Sky News recently ran a news item entitled ‘Second-Rate Care’ for Heart Attack Patients. It highlighted the difference in heart attack survival rates between Sweden and the UK attributable to how quickly the heart attack victim received primary angioplasty after the event. The report was accompanied by a video which featured someone who had survived a heart attack because of the prompt treatment he received. Unsurprisingly the gentleman concerned has made changes to his lifestyle and in the video is described as a ‘paragon of healthy living’. To illustrate that point, the video includes a scene to show how his life has changed.

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Those who aspire to be paragons must take up juicing it seems.

Juicing is a staple of many quack treatments and comes in a variety of forms. One extreme version is the Gerson Therapy which claims to be a cure for a wide range of diseases including cancer. Followers of this therapy are required to drink one glass of juice hourly, thirteen times a day. This, it claims, ‘ boosts the body’s own immune system to heal cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and many other degenerative diseases.’  Cancer Research UK warns that, ‘Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that Gerson therapy can treat cancer.’

Other proponents of juicing are more modest in their requirement for the volume of juice consumed but just as extravagant in the claims of health benefits. Most of these are centred around the pseudoscientific notion of detoxing, It seems that our unhealthy lifestyles cause a build up ‘toxins’ in our bodies which can only be eliminated by a juicing regime.

We believe there is fundamentally only One Disease and therefore One Solution. The body gets sick due to two basic things – Toxicity and Deficiency. If we remove the Toxicity and replace any Deficiencies, the vast majority of common ailments improve or go away completely. We believe it really is that simple.

The above quote is taken from the website of Jason Vale, the Juice Master, who is, ‘one of the UK’s leading authorities on health, addiction, and most obviously, juicing.’ Despite being a ‘leading authority’ Jason seems to be remarkably ignorant when it comes  to basic human physiology and Germ Theory. (A programme on Revelation TV featuring Felicity Corbin Wheeler alerted me to the internet presence of Jason Vale.)

Jason’s website is littered with the usual quack red flags – celebrity  endorsements, personal testimonies, anecdotes, a complete lack of evidence-based science and of course, lots of things to spend your money on.

Every food on the planet has come under some criticism with the notable exception of fruit and vegetables. These foods nourish every cell in the body, help prevent disease, flush the system of waste and contain more vitamins and minerals than you can rattle a plum at, and there isn’t a single person on the planet with any shred of common sense that could possibly argue against these magnificent foods! Jason Vale – Why Juice?

There are some people who argue against such a sweeping generalisation. David Colquhoun’s blog, Improbable Science has an excellent post entitled ‘We know little about the effect of diet on health. That’s why so much is written about it’. In it he quotes epidemiologist John Ioannidis who says,

Almost every single nutrient imaginable has peer reviewed publications associating it with almost any outcome.

That would seem to rule out juicing as an answer to all our ills.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods.

American Cancer Society

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