I love juice bars. They serve delicious sugary drinks that I can convince myself are relatively healthy because they’re low in fat. Even though if I don’t exercise, the substantial carb load will turn into fat. That is, unless I take them with a slimming supplement like ‘Skinny BOOST’. Phew!
I particularly enjoy Boost Juice, especially since they finally started putting nutritional information on their website (which is the most annoying I’ve ever seen, at least until you turn the sound off) and I’ve been able to see that my favourite smoothie, a regular “Gym Junkie” (embarrassing to order, but delicious) contains around 20% of the recommended daily kilojoule intake. Although to be honest, I suspected it was more. Surely nothing that tastes so much like a milkshake can be entirely good for you.
What irritates me are the supplements they try to flog you. There’s precious little evidence they work, as Choice magazine found: “Our advice is to ignore juice bars’ weight loss claims and ‘slimming’ supplements.” And some of the claims are just ridiculous – one unnamed juice bar surveyed by Choice (not Boost or Pulp) claimed that its echinacea supplement could cure cancer.
One of the biggest scams, though, seems to be wheatgrass. Boost says it’s “just as nutritional (sic) as downing a bunch of fresh leafy green vegies”. Best of all, they say it’s “claimed to be a fantastic boost for those whose diet is lacking because it contains a huge sourse (sic) of essential vitamins and minerals.” They don’t say by whom this is claimed, of course… it’s the ‘passive of diminished responsibility’.
Choice is very skeptical of wheatgrass, saying it’s “probably harmless”. A detailed study by the American National Council Against Health Fraud provides more evidence against the ‘wonder shot’, showing that it has far fewer nutrients than regular vegetables. In particular, it points out that the chlorophyll that’s supposed to provide ‘detox’ does nothing because it isn’t absorbed. So given that wheatgrass is expensive and tastes disgusting, it’s essentially a rip-off.
The alternative to drinking the stuff is to take wheatgrass enemas. I think we can agree that isn’t exactly an attractive proposition.
Undeterred by the news that the ACCC was investigating the health claims of juice bar supplements, a whole new range of ridiculous supplements has come out. Boost is now marketing a ‘Zen booster’, which presumably provides enlightenment in a convenient polystyrene cup. It’s certainly easier than meditating.
But my favourite silly new supplement comes from Easyway, who are marketing a liquid oxygen shot:
Oxygen 4 Life! The Hottest Supplement in Town!
Feeling tired? Running out of breath? Then you need an Oxygen 4 Life! This revolutionary new taste of liquid oxygen is making headlines across the country! Made with 100 % natural ingredients, it will boost your day incredibly! A shot will maximise your mental clarity and help alleviate fatigue levels! For only 50 cents extra, it will sure bring a healthy touch to our drinks!
Which sounds excellent until you realise that the temperature of liquid oxygen is around –195°C. So this “revolutionary new taste” might be a little hard to drink. Besides which, it clearly doesn’t work whoever drafted that press release is evidently seriously lacking in mental clarity.
Let’s hope the ACCC comes down hard on this kind of rubbish. Juice from juice bars is delicious, but it isn’t healing, slimming, brain-improving, or indeed in any way supernatural.