Posted by: Ticktock | May 20, 2008

Smoothies, Lollipops, and the Myths of Wheatgrass

 

A new study reminds us that smoothies may not be God’s divine nectar, despite the claims of certain companies.  A smoothie might encourage people to eat more fruits and berries, but it also has a nasty habit of getting sugars and acids on your teeth.  Tooth decay is a possible consequence of drinking daily smoothies because the sugar fosters bacteria and the acids decay the tooth.  However, a new lollipop has been proven to fight cavities because of the properties of it’s ingredients- licorice root.  So, put down the smoothies and pick up some cavity fighting lollipops!

My lovely wife recently proclaimed that she may buy some wheatgrass to grow so that we can liquify it and add it to smoothies.  Believe it or not, I looked at her skeptically, and asked her why she thought it was worthy of being added to her daily diet.  And she *sighed* and dragged out her vegan book from a decade ago that extolls the virtues of wheatgrass as the “king of all juices”.  I’ll briefly list here the “qualities” of wheatgrass as described by the book RX Prescription for Dietary Wellness.  There simply is not much science to back up these claims, so you’ll have to forgive me for calling these “facts” lies.  Until somebody corrects me with a scientific wheatgrass study, I stand by my assertion that the authors are lying…

  • Wheatgrass is high in cholorophyl and will stop the development of unfriendly bacteria.- It doesn’t matter if it’s high in chlorophyl, humans don’t use chlorophyl to metabolize sugars like plants do.  We can’t even digest grass, but somebody decided to liquify it.  There is absolutely no reason to think that wheatgrass will stop the formation of any bacteria, let alone the bad ones.  This claim is unsubstantiated.
  • It is actually akin to red blood cells and is the best blood purifier we have.  Chlorophyl may be similar in structure to hemoglobins, but that does not mean ANYTHING.  The best blood purifier we have is our liver, followed closely by our lungs and kidneys.  We don’t need to purify our blood with chlorophyl because the human organs are much more capable of this task.
  • Wheatgrass is good for energy and body building.  A shot of wheatgrass has 15 calories and is nearly without vitamins.
  • It is the best for expelling elevated metals in the body.  A claim that is not backed by any evidence, scientific studies, or for that matter- common sense.
  • Beneficial for blood sugar and the best for healing the colon and lungs.  No it isn’t.  This is a lie.
  • Effective as a douche or gargle for sore throats.  No it isn’t.  This is also a lie.
  • Wheatgrass has great healing powers.  Have you noticed how animals eat grass when they are ill or have worms?  I have noticed this.  The grass actually makes them regurgitate because they can’t digest it.  There are no healing properties… only nauseous properties.  Yummy.
  • Live juices can save you hundreds of dollars in medical bills.  WHAT???  That is an irresponsible lie without one shred of evidence to back it up!

I’m not the only skeptic who is going after wheatgrass.  It just so happens that the “king of juices” is the first target of the Skeptologists’ pilot episode.  The skeptologists has some of my favorite skeptics: Steven Novella from SGU, Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer, Kirsten from This Week in Science, and even Yau Man from Survivor.  Check out their promo video…

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Responses

  1. Hi

    Granted, there has not been much in the way of clinical studies on wheatgrass juice, but-

    From the American Cancer Society-

    “one small early study found that, used along with standard medical care, wheatgrass juice seemed to help control symptoms of ulcerative colitis (chronically inflamed large intestine.) This 2002 study tested fresh wheatgrass juice against a sham (placebo) drink in a group of people with ulcerative colitis. All of them received regular medical care, including the usual diet. Those who drank about 3 ounces of the juice every day for a month had less pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding than those in the control (placebo) group. ”

    additionally,

    “wheat grass is a natural source of vitamins and minerals”

    Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002;37:444-449.

  2. Thanks for the response. While I do appreciate that this is a double-blind controlled study, I want to point out that the analyzed data only included a small sample size of 19 individuals. I obviously don’t think that fact discredits their research, but it should be noted as a weakness.

    In addition, it has come to my attention that the original wheatgrass dieter, a Boston-area Lithuanian named Anne Wigmore, was sued twice by the Massachusetts attorney general for misrepresenting the health benefits of wheatgrass. The first time in 1982 she was sued for saying that wheatgrass could replace insulin for diabetics. The second time in 1988 she was sued for saying that her “enzyme soup” could cure AIDS.

  3. So-

    Has your wife started growing wheatgrass?

    I know when my wife has the urge to try something, it’s better for me to let her just going ahead and do it, as long as she doesn’t hurt herself or anyone else.

  4. No, she hasn’t started growing it yet, but I wouldn’t really try to stop her if she does. I certainly don’t see any evidence that it’s harmful. We actually skipped the “honor and obey” portion of our wedding vows, and it’s haunted me ever since. 🙂

  5. I have personally found freshly juiced wheatgrass to be exceptionally helpful for Crohn’s Disease and Eczema. I also sleep better and have more energy when I am taking it. But of course everyone is different, what works for one person may not work for another.

  6. And yes, live juices can save you hundreds of dollars in medical bills.

    Prior to starting juicing two years ago, I was constantly sick with bronchitis, colds, pneumonia and flu every winter and spent thousands of dollars at the doctors and on medication.

    Since I started to consume live juice two years ago, I have been to the doctors once – for a sore / broken toe after I dropped something on it.

    I have not suffered from bronchitis, colds, pneumonia or flu in the past two years.

    Sadly I can’t provide scientific evidence for you; you will just have to take my word for it.

  7. I started growing and drinking wheatgrass as part of becoming vegetarian (for health purposes), and lately the entire office was sick with the flu. I was the only person NOT to become sick, although in the middle of it I did experience two nights of nausea and lightheaded-ness (my body fighting the bug?). I am not a wheatgrass preacher, but I dod like to think it was the wheatgrass that boosted my immune system to fight it.

    I am also sleeping better and have more energy, but that might be because of becoming vegetarian…who knows.

  8. You don’t have to believe me. If you really care, you can do the research yourself. I’m sure you’ll find zilch in the scientific/medical journals to back up the stated claims of wheat grass proponents. If there’s nothing to back up their claims, then I don’t have any other option but to call them liars.

  9. You throw the term “liar” around like a bratty four year old! The truth is there is a huge void in research in regard to anything natural as homeopathic remedies, all money and research goes into big medicine because there’s no money in it for research companies to investigate something that we can grow and use ourselves. If you cant patent something why look into it?….anyway, enjoy your Motrin and Viagra bro!

    • Good luck drinking your grass clippings, bro. Sorry I couldn’t meet your standards of maturity.

  10. Hey hey

    I actually ran across your site while doing some research for my own. I was skeptical of wheatgrass first too and my husband also gave me one of those “Uh, whatever” looks when I mentioned trying it.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a gardener so I just bought some wheatgrass juice capsules ( ) but since I’ve been taking them I’ve lost 4 pounds (I eat pretty badly) and some eczema on my arm is clearing up.

    Call it coincidence or what you like, but I’m pretty happy.

    Cheers! Mel

  11. They say the same thing about Vitamin C, no proof to back up claims ect ect ect. However when you really start looking, you will find ‘proof’. Maybe not studies, but proof. Look at Dr Robert Klenner who was using Vit C to cure Polio in the 40’s BEFORE the vaccine was invented. Or watch this vid of a New Zealand on deaths door (the Dr’s wanted to pull the plug on his life support) who was saved by Vit C. http://www.3news.co.nz/Living-Proof/tabid/371/articleID/171328/Default.aspx
    I see studies all the time that were flawed (probably on purpose) to discredit Vit C studies. I’d say the same can be said of Wheatgrass.

    • Maybe not studies, but proof.

      Interesting choice of words.

      Um, one case report shown on a news program is not proof. There were many kids who did recover from polio without Vit. C, it just happened that their immune system kicked in. There were many who did not.

      Yes, we know vitamins are good. They are just not a cure-all.


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