Wheatgrass juice is nasty. And worthless.

By Phil Plait | August 1, 2008 10:01 am

Noted skeptic Michael Shermer wrote an article in Scientific American on why we are so accepting of anecdotal stories with no real evidence (and hey, do you think that might apply to UFOs?). It’s a good article and all, as usual for Michael, but I have to chuckle at the picture he posted with it: it’s from our Skeptologists shot, where Michael, Kiki Sanford, and Steve Novella drank the evil green liquid called wheatgrass juice. Kiki’s face is perfect.

For the last segment of the show we all were supposed to drink the wheatgrass, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I can sometimes have something of a delicate digestive system, and Steve’s horror stories about the night after the picture linked above was taken were enough for me to forgo the experience. Plus, it smelled a little bit like gasoline; given that and the natural grassy smell, I was having flashbacks to mowing my lawn as a teenager.

The funny thing about wheatgrass juice is that despite its popularity, it holds almost no significant nutritional value at all. It doesn’t have much in the way of vitamins, minerals, or anything your body needs at all. You’d be far better off with a sprig of broccoli and an apple. Some people claim the chlorophyll in wheatgrass juice is salubrious, but that molecule breaks down in your stomach, so it really does nothing for you.

Plus, wheatgrass clearly tastes yucky. Now, Michael didn’t seem to mind it, but it was hard for me to even hold it near my face. I thought my olfactory system was going to tear itself out of my head and run away sniffling.

And that’s one anecdote you can believe in.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Debunking, Humor, Skepticism
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Comments (93)

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  1. News From Around The Blogosphere 8.1.08 « Skepacabra | August 2, 2008
  1. Gnat

    I’m always amazed at the crazy stuff people will eat to be “healthy” but won’t eat something simple like, say, beets. The problem I’ve found with anecdotal evidence, is when it crops up in a book by a “doctor”, even people like my father get taken in. “But, this guy’s a doctor, and he read research”, my dad says. Ugh, I love him, but if I hear about “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie” one more time, I’m gonna scream!

  2. KC

    Umm . . . Phil? Can you reference a study? What I turn up is that wheatgrass is about equal ounce per ounce with vegetables, so while there doesn’t seem to be any advantage in consuming wheatgrass, it doesn’t seem to be, well, water. I did turn up that there had been a few clinical trials and that the supposed health benefits of wheatgrass just aren’t there.

  3. Slowly but Surly

    I used to work with a guy who drank the stuff, spent lots of $$ on vitamins and belonged to the John Birch Society (connection? ;). Anyhow, I clearly remember him holding his nose and draining a cup, making a similar face to those poor souls in the photos and proclaiming it was good for you. I wondered what it would take to get him to drink gasoline.

  4. Great shot! She looks like she’s looking for a place to spit it out!
    😆
    Rich

  5. KC

    Gnat:

    There may or may not have been a study done by Charles F. Schnabel around 1930 that he thought showed wheatgrass helped egg production in chickens. He supposedly began to tout it as beneficial for humans. Unfortunate (see above) clinical trials show no health benefits in humans. Frankly I don’t know if his supposed study in chickens holds up, or if it was merely providing nutrients that the chicken feed of the era wasn’t providing.

  6. KC

    Slowly but Surly:

    Being that some of us (cough) have a taste for straight tonic water, there are probably some people who have a taste for wheatgrass, too.

    Shrug.

  7. Maybe it’s better with some vodka in it.

  8. Me thinks that if for nothing else I will go down in infamy for this picture alone.

    It’s true. That look is worth a thousand words… all of them profanity spewing forth at the person who made me drink the stuff.

    Ahem… yum.

  9. Jason

    This might also be proven false, scientifically, but I was under the impression that women eat wheatgrass to make their genetailia smell better, so when a guy goes downtown he doesn’t get some foul odour.

  10. My wife used to be a veterinary technician. Constantly, she’d have people arguing with the doctor over the possible issues and proper treatment of said issues. Their response, invariably? “But, my friend is a breeder, and she says….”

    Give someone a title, and they’re an expert, it doesn’t matter if they have half a clue or not. I told my wife to respond thusly…”so, what you’re saying is, you’re going to ignore the advice and council of a person who spent many years in school in a rigorous scientific environment learning as much as is currently known about animal anatomy as she could soak up and instead take the advice whose only qualifications are SHE COULD BUY TWO DOGS?? Agreed, one does have to make sure they’re of different sexes, but that still is a fairly limited qualification when it comes to the medical treatment of your pets, but it’s your choice.”

    We’re doomed, it really is that simple. We have ignorant people electing ignorant officials whose job it is to decide on the quality of education in this country. The blind leading the stupid.

    (Sorry if it seems like a bit off topic a post, but I just finished the articles about Ed Mitchell and this one seemed to be similar enough to warrant the same kind of response. :)

  11. KC

    After reading Michael Shermer’s article, I think he reaches the wrong conclusion. Not about wheatgrass, but about the reason we’re “accepting” of anecdotal accounts. The reason is simple: There’s many things we deal with day-to-day where it’s difficult to apply the scientific method. When you ask for directions from a local, you are relying on an anecdotal account of how to get from point x to point y. When we hear someone say that a mutual friend is feeling low and we call them to cheer them up, we’re relying on anecdotal account. Eyewitness testimony is another form of anecdotal account, as is the bulk of recorded history. Thus when a person we trust says “I’ve tried thus and so and it really seems to help,” we tend to accept that because most of the time that’s all we have to go on.

    Fortunately, medicine lends itself quite handily to the scientific method, and we can separate whether something is actually happening or if this is a form of the placebo effect. Science excels in the area of cause and effect.

  12. madge

    It never fails to amaze me the stuff health food shops tout as “Good for you” I’m sure some marketing type is given the bi-product from some foul manufacturing process to try and sell and when all else fails he says “Give it to the food faddies.” :)

  13. Being that some of us (cough) have a taste for straight tonic water, there are probably some people who have a taste for wheatgrass, too.

    but tonic water tastes good, grass that’s been through the blender (or beets) taste foul.

    I may die of malnutrition, but I won’t get malaria.

  14. Daniel

    That whole industry is a crock. Good post

  15. When I met Michael SHermer at TAM6, I thanked him for trying wheatgrass juice so the rest of us didn’t have to. He chuckled at that.

  16. Doc

    [alert: wordgeek post follows]

    Oooh … “salubrious” … good word!

    I’d heard/read it be fore but had forgotten. The meaning is pretty clear from context, but I looked it up to be sure [Dictionary.com – “favorable to or promoting health; healthful: salubrious air.”]

    It sort of rolls off the tongue – kind of like “mellifluous” – in fact “salubrious” is a rather mellifluous word. I’ll have to work that into a sentence in a conversation sometime this week.

  17. Doc

    In the way of a comment that’s actually on-topic, I’ve always been amazed at some of the crap being sold in “health-food stores”. During the big anti-oxidant craze, I found one store that was selling small bottles of BHT. This is the crud they put on the lining of boxes of breakfast cereals as a preservative and has been linked with liver damage. The healthy-food fanatics have been campaigning to get banned for years, but because it’s an anti-oxidant it’s suddenly good for you. Ugh.

  18. Sir Eccles

    My cat likes wheatgrass.

  19. Kathy A.

    Finally, an advantage to being highly allergic to wheat! :)

  20. RiprupvonVanderfoo

    I was once persuaded to drink this stuff by a friend of a friend who described the taste as “sweet” and said you feel an instant burst of energy.

    I can only describe it as lawnmower-flavored.

    And be prepared to burp repeatedly over the next several hours following ingestion, with an instant taste-reminder of why you should never drink it again.

  21. KC

    madge:

    There’s a meme that if it tastes bad, it must be good for us, possibly fostered by things like spinach.

    Anyway, there’s some things in health food stores that are beneficial, such as brown rice, just you can sometimes find the same thing at cheaper prices in the grocery store. On the other hand, if you have a taste for things like carob, you stand a better chance of finding it in a health food store than at the grocer’s.

  22. Kathy A.

    KC:

    I was reading (IIRC) in the Science Based Medicine blog about why we’re so accepting of anecdotal evidence, even in the face of contradicting scientific studies. The theory goes that back in distant past, you might decide to pet a sleeping saber-toothed tiger and nothing happened, but Ogg walks up and said “Hey, my brother did that and ended up as cat chow”. If you believe Ogg despite your own evidence, you might live to pass on your genes.

    As an early human, the whole world is pretty much out to get you so it’s safer to believe anecdotal evidence of bad things. Our brains simplified that to give undue weight to all anecdotal evidence.

    Doncha wish the FSM did a better job of designing our brains? :)

  23. Patrick

    Would I drink something with wheat and grass in it’s name? Never.

    Today is a new moon and so is Aug. 30. I know that blue moon is incorrectly regarded as a month with two full moons. Is there a term, whether erroneous or not, to descibe two new moons?

  24. Proctological nazi

    Um .. Did the wheatgrass have any other noticeable effects?

    ‘Sposeiof nothingelse there’s tehplacebo effect – & some people adore the taste of sea-urchin & all sorts of other weird things … cockroaches I’ve heard are a Malaysian delicacy.(I kid you not.)

    However bad wheatgrass is I’m sure its not as bad as pepsi blue! Tried that once & *gag* NEVER again! It tasted like I imagine flyspray would ..

    BLLLEEEECH!!! ;-(

    Oh & vomit tastes pretty horrid too …

  25. Proctological nazi

    Argh! Typos! Any chance of letting us edit here sometime soon-ish Phil?

    Correction : ‘Spose if nothing else, there’s the placebo effect!

    Besides, some people adore the taste of sea-urchin & all sorts of other weird things – cockroaches I’ve heard are a Malaysian delicacy.(I kid you not.)

  26. Proctological nazi

    The BadAstronomer wrote :

    “Noted skeptic Michael Shermer wrote an article in Scientific American on why we are so accepting of anecdotal stories with no real evidence (and hey, do you think that might apply to UFOs?).

    Ah .. let me think now …

    ‘EFF YES!!!

  27. Proctological nazi

    Oh dear, what’ve I done ..? :-0

    This’ll turn into another UFO’s thread now won’t it .. *Sigh * :-(

    UFO-lovers (can I say lovers here?) please keep your comments for the other two (or is it 3?) UFO-dedicated threads .. Mmmm-kay?

  28. Will. M

    Wheatgrass and it’s various genetic mutations are being studied for use as a cheap biofuel.
    I have no idea why folks would ingest this stuff; but, put it your car’s gas tank and reap the benefits…

  29. Bob

    # Brett McCoy Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 10:34 am

    “Maybe it’s better with some vodka in it.”

    “I call it a lawnmower.”

  30. My cats also like wheatgrass and if they are interested in eating that instead of the other houseplants I’m happy. However there’s no way I’d eat it myself, there are plenty of healthier and yummier foods out there.

  31. Grammar nazi

    RiprupvonVanderfoo :

    “I was once persuaded to drink this stuff by a friend of a friend who described the taste as “sweet” and said you feel an instant burst of energy.

    I can only describe it as lawnmower-flavored.”

    You can drink lawnmowers?! Wow, I’ve never tried that, I just use them for mowing my lawn. So – what do they taste like? 😉

    (Sorry couldn’t resist the temptation.)

  32. Michelle

    Look, I give wheatgrass to my BIRDS, I’m not gonna eat that! It’s…well… GRASS!

  33. Andy Beaton

    Wouldn’t we need 3 more stomachs to properly digest wheatgrass?

  34. Anton P. Nym

    I understand that wheatgrass is probably a better source for biofuel than corn; certainly there’s less food-energy tied up in an unfermentable stalk, silk, and cob anyway. But I wouldn’t drink pureed wheatgrass unless it was the only thing between me and fatal dehydration.

    — Steve

  35. drksky

    @Bob
    Drat, you beat me to it…

  36. JR

    I for one can attest to Mr. Plait’s weak stomach as the only time I got to see him was in Seattle when he wasn’t up to his usual bubbly self…

    http://www.ballvase.com/jhughson/backtalk/2007/01/phil-plait.htm

    I never would have suspected wheatgrass…

  37. Utakata

    I’ll proabably get tarr’d & feather’d for say this…

    …but wheatgrass doesn’t taste that bad. Then again, my ancedotal evidence is that I’ve always had a pallet for the unusual.

    That being said though, next time my client points me in the direction of her girlfriend’s wheatgrass enima “expertise,” I will try to steer her gently over to Michael Shermer’s article.

  38. Windyshrimp

    Heheh, Shermer has had much worse then that back when he was a cyclist.

  39. That’s ok, Utakata, there is no accounting for taste 😉

    But a wheatgrass enima?!?!? Yipes! And Ick!

  40. Blu-Ray-Ven

    i love shermer, and scientific american. that why i subscribe. and the pic says it all

  41. billsmithaz

    What a fantastic picture! Kirsten looks like she’s blaming Novella for this…ahem…experience, while Steve’s got a great “Who, me?” expression.

    :)

  42. The only thing I ever think about with wheatgrass is a “Simspsons” episode where Homer proudly invented drink that mixed wheatgrass with vodka. He called it a Lawnmower. Anyone who will drink it is more brave than I.

  43. wright

    Bwahahaa! Great photo! It immediately made me think of that classic Chinese allegorical painting, “The Vinegar Tasters”.

    Buddha, Confucius and Lao-Tzu are all shown tasting a vat of vinegar (life). Buddha finds it bitter, Confucius sour, and Lao-Tzu sweet.

    Now, over here class, we have the non-allegorical image, “The Wheatgrass Tasters”. As you can see, Sherman, Sanford and Novella have each tasted wheatgrass juice. Sherman finds it disgusting, Sanford horrid and Novella lawnmowerish…

  44. Ian

    Good to know. Finally I can stop wondering every time I go to Turley’s whether it’s worth the ridiculous price they charge for it.

  45. Danny Schade

    Oh, come on. Wheatgrass juice is worthless, I fully agree… but it really doesn’t taste that bad. The people who say they want to spit it out seem like picky, finicky eaters. I think it has a nice sweet, veggie flavor. I wouldn’t mind having it in a vegetable juice or something. Oh, come on, you also don’t like vegetable juice? 😛

  46. I wrote Wheatgrass madness over three years ago and I still get emails from people telling me I’m wrong. Unless you have multiple stomachs like a cow, you can’t digest the stuff. Although, as I say in my article, it might work as an enema!

  47. i have to admit, i sorta like it as well…it tastes like the smell of a freshly cut alfalfa field.
    but, yeah…other than that, i’m totally with shermer on the science.

  48. wright

    Danny, I have been known to cross the street to spit on people I see drinking a V8. Granted, I’m more moderate these days; I merely stalk them and hose them down at my leisure…

  49. Eric H.

    You know BA, not everyone actually hates the stuff. I have known for a long time that there is practically no nutritional value in Wheatgrass for a while now, but that doesn’t stop me from the occasional shot of it. I kinda like that taste of fresh lawn clippings. Of course this may be due to the fact that my dad made me drink the stuff when I was like 6-7 years old because he was on some macrobiotic diet and he was all into anything that might help him beat cancer. So anyway, I remember hating it at first, but I started to actually like the stuff.

    And to the guy who mentioned beets above, I love beets too. Nothing better than a beat/carrot/celery juice to wake you up in the morning. Beet juice is like an Red Bull x 10, and without the crash.

  50. IBY

    Does aloe juice have any benefits? My parents fed me some a long time ago, and it was freaking disgusting!! I remember I almost threw up after drinking it. I pleaded, “please, no more.” But no, they had to give me some a few months later. I almost threw up in that case too.

  51. themadlolscientist

    if you have a taste for things like carob

    What? You mean there’s actually someone out there who eats that stuff on purpose? PLEH PLEH PLEH!!!!!!11!!!!

    I lived in an apartment above a health food store for about 5 years and never really got used to the smells coming out of their kitchen. Admittedly I’m very sensitive to smells, but sometimes it was seriously not fun, especially when they started throwing around the miso (which I almost can’t get within 10 yards of without retching). When friends called for directions to our place, I’d say, “We’re on the second floor above the Hell Food store.”

  52. Mark Roberts

    Wheatgrass is fairly nutritious. Here’s one analysis (from a health food site: I’d like to see s different one): http://www.wheatgrassforlife.com/nutritional.htm

    However, since it doesn’t offer anything not provided by many foods that are far cheaper and tastier, there is no reason to consume it.

    @Eric H.: Beet juice contains lots of sugar and may indeed produce a “crash” in some people when their blood sugar level rises and falls. Not knocking it…beets are good for you. But I’ve never noticed much of a high or low after drinking beet juice, and certainly nothing like “Red Bull x 10.”

  53. Mark Roberts

    @ Skeptico: your wheatgrass blog post IS incorrect. :)

    Wheatgrass isn’t supposed to be consumed whole, and of course its nutrients are released when it’s juiced. The doctor you quoted is simply wrong about that.

  54. Dave Hall

    I tried it once. It tasted like something you’d scrape off the bottom of a lawn mower. Then I had the worst allergy attack I ever had. The reactions from the sceptic panel reminded me of several lines from the classic Woody Allen comedy “Sleeper.”
    In it, he plays Miles Monroe, a health food store owner who goes to the hospital for ulcer surgery, complications ensue and he is frozen cryogenically for 200 years. Here are the relevant quotes:

    Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”
    Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
    Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?
    Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
    Dr. Melik: Incredible.

    Miles Monroe: Where am I anyhow, I mean, what happened to everybody, where are all my friends?
    Dr. Aragon: You must understand that everyone you knew in the past has been dead nearly two hundred years.
    Miles Monroe: But they all ate organic rice!

    Miles Monroe: This stuff tastes awful. I could make a fortune selling it in my health food store.

    I think he pretty well summed up the wheat grass crowd.

  55. I hope Cameron Reilly, of The Podcast Network, reads this. I liked his photo of wheatgrass but couldn’t resist winding him up for actually eating the stuff with a comment;

    “Unless you like the taste(?) why bother?”

    (see the psot link on this comment)

  56. Utakata

    Jewel wrote:

    “That’s ok, Utakata, there is no accounting for taste 😉

    But a wheatgrass enima?!?!? Yipes! And Ick!”

    Yes unfortunately, there is such a beast. The idea it’s suppose to “cleanse” the lower plumbing out. It’s more likely to give the runs…so I’ll stick to fiber, thnx.

    …and agreed! Ick!

  57. I am really hoping this show gets picked up! Recently there was a teaser of actual science on all those science type channels (Atom was particularly good), but now they are back to Ghost Hunters and Monster Quest…

    Phil, are you part of the show itself, or do you just advise and hang out with Shermer?

  58. KC

    themadlolscientist:

    Yes, I’ve eaten carob. Quite a lot, actually. I was once allergic to chocolate and carob was billed as a chocolate substitute. It doesn’t taste all that much like chocolate, but it wasn’t terrible. In the interest of full disclosure, I also like Brussels sprouts, fried liver, and straight tonic water, so your mileage may vary. However, I haven’t cared for carob enough to look for it after all these years.

  59. KC

    IBY:

    There’s claims that it does all sorts of wonderful stuff. Be aware that some of this isn’t backed up by clinical trials and that drug interaction is possible.

    Aloe seems to help relieve the pain of minor burns, and I suspect that has to do with the cooling action and how the sap of the plant acts to seal it off from the air. It doesn’t see to help burns heal any quicker than a placebo.

  60. I couldn’t do it. Heck, I don’t even like cold green tea. reminds me of the alfalfa I used to feed my pet rabbit. Also had a very bad experience with my Pyramid-scheme-healthfood salesperson landlady trying to dose me up with that sort of junk when I came down with the flu. Despite feeling like death warmed over, the only time I actually vomited was to throw up the gloppy green crap that smelled like brewed rabbit food and had a texture somewhere between Tea and Stew.

    On a related note, the local “good” coffee shop is currently selling shots of “Active Acai” tonic,. which has a list of over 35 positive, unrelated health benefits. About the only things it won’t do are clean your toilets and walk the dog.

  61. Benjamin Castle

    Hi

    I am coming into this post a little late, but I hope Phil and the prior posters catch it.

    First, in the interest of full disclosure, I am a commercial wheatgrass grower. I feel qualified to give some valid input.

    I have read about “Skeptologists” for a few months now, first seeing some info about it on Kristin Sanford’s blog, and some references made by Phil, and the facebook page of the Skeptologists that the pilot show contained pieces on Ghosts and wheatgrass juice. I know the pilot aired at TAM 6, but, not haveing seen it personaly, I wanted to know if you, Phil, or any of the other folks on the show actually looked into the research on wheatgrass juice?

    Granted, there has not been much in the way of clinical studies on wheatgrass juice, as it still is a “cottage industry”, and none of the growers have the funding sources for full blown clinical trials which, these days, cost millions and millions of dollars, 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.

    Phil, I am also curious. From your post you completely wussed-out on even tasting wheatgrass juice (for which I have lost in you a great deal of prior respect), but I read in some blog that multiple takes were required for the episode. How much actual wheatgrass juice did the other skeptologists actually consume?

    The taste of wheatgrass juice, as illustrated by comments above, vary with the individual. Some people love the taste, some like it, some tolerate it, others hate it. In my experience, just as in many things, such as wine, the taste varies greatly with the seed used, and the process used in growing the wheatgrass.

    Nothing has ever been shown that wheatgrass is not good for you. There are boatloads of studies that show how important consumption of fresh green vegetables are. There has never been a single recorded instance of anyone acquiring a food-borne illness or becoming diseased from drinking wheatgrass juice. Can the same thing be said about many, (or any) of the other things I assume you consume, such as lettuce or milk, or things you may eat, such as vegetables, sprouts, fish, chicken, meat, shellfish and fish?

    A couple of specific responses-

    Andy Beaton Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 1:41 pm
    Wouldn’t we need 3 more stomachs to properly digest wheatgrass?

    Andy, you would if you actually ate the wheatgrass. The juice from the young wheat is extracted from the grass by squeezing it in a juicer. The pulp of the grass, which is indigestable by humans, is not consumed, only the juice, which is digested easily.

    Patrick Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 12:15 pm
    Would I drink something with wheat and grass in it’s name? Never.

    Patrick, Did you ever drink something with “coke” as it’s name.

    There is some very poor reasoning for “skeptics” on this thread.

    Phil, Try some wheatgrass juice. Only when you first try it, just try a little bit. Less than 1/2 ounce. We sell wheatgrass to juicebars in dozens of fitness clubs. The amount of positive feedback from those who do a “shot” of wheatgrass juice before their workout, I have found, is far higher than what you would find as the placebo effect, although, I have not done a formalized study of it.

    and read up on those clinical studies,

    Ben Castle

  62. CJ

    I am an omnivorous yoga non-practioner who tries to drink a teaspoon or so powdered wheat grass (Green Kamut) mixed in cold water once a day. Why? Because it has done wonders to clear up my skin. It also gives me a bit of a buzz and greatly reduces body odor. The taste is pleasant, unlike the fresh wheat grass juice I tried once, which was disgusting.

    Phil and friends seem more deserving of the title “wuss” than “skeptic”.

  63. CJ, I assume you have some proof of your claims, including a double-blind statistically significant study showing what you are saying is not just a personal anecdote which is, no offense, worthless when making medical claims.

  64. Benjamin, I am hardly a wuss. The juice smelled like gasoline, and gave one of my teammates horrible indigestion (including green feces). That, plus the fact that it has been shown to have grossly exaggerated characteristics, made it clear to me that drinking it would be a net negative.

    The multiple takes you mention were, I think, the series of takes I did making a different joke each time I was urged to drink the juice.

    Also, your claim that it does no harm is not useful in the least as an ad for the drink. At the very least, not drinking the juice does no harm either.

  65. Susan

    Im certain you will say its all in my head but I and my family drink 1 oz of wheatjuice daily and I really do get a lot of energy from it. I grow my own which is fun to watch, too. Greatly reduced colds too. Placebo effect? Maybe… but I LIKE it and it works for me. : )

  66. You do a damn good job of trashing and if that’s your bag let me suggest that I have friends who were having cancer problems…used the wheat grass protocol and have shown remarkable results. I too have cancer and leaving no stone unturned, started the wheat grass protocol. Interesting if you would provide the downsides of the wheat grass protocol per proper documentation to support what you’ve laid out. The proper amounts of ingestion is critical…like 2 oz each day diluted with either carrots juice or some other fruit if you fear the gasoline smell…and, that is really weird. Perhaps you live near a refinery or next to a Exxon Gas Station on the downside of the wind.

  67. Anne

    I am skeptical of anecdotal evidence but I do have a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at 3. Whether the fact it went into remission (daughter is now 16) is related to the wheatgrass juice she fed her daughter daily is questionable since it is one incidence, but certainly worth following up with scientific studies.

  68. Karen

    I got tired of reading all the negative comments, so I have not read them all. I just wanted to comment that I actually LIKE wheatgrass. I have been making green smoothies for about 6 months now 1) because I like them (similar to a shake) and 2) to get more leafy greens in my diet. I tried wheatgrass just for the heck of it and I like the taste so much I actually crave it when I haven’t had it for a few days. I usually put a small amount (handful) in the blender with other stuff – flavorings, ice, and a banana and then I drink it. I don’t strain it. It’s fine! It has an interesting flavor, lots of fiber, and probably a few vitamins. If it has lots of vitamins, minerals, healing properties, and it keeps me out of the hospital, I think that’s just great. I do not have any digestive problems and I don’t mind the green poop. So you can eat your Doritos, I’ll eat my wheatgrass, and we can both be happy.

  69. david

    I’ve had wheatgrass before but quit buying it from jamba juice when it seemed too expensive. It would cost next to nothing to grow your own, though i’ve never followed through myself. Why would you fault wgj for merely being comparable to broccoli? Broccoli is good stuff but you might not want to attempt growing it on your kitchen counter in little trays . More importantly, you can harvest wheatgrass every ten days in small amounts of soil/medium, where broccoli is a seasonal plant with only 1 harvest. Another benefit to consider is the convenience of the powdered form for situations where eating healthy might be challenging. Maybe the raw juice isn’t appealing, maybe raw hamburger meat isn’t appealing. Wheatgrass juice is an alkaline substance, where things like orange juice are acidic. Hmmmmmm, i wonder could this be important? Have you ever owned a fish tank, or grown a plant? I’m no expert but intuition tells me that balancing the ph level of my body might be as important as the fishtank. Maybe it’s a good idea to balance that oj with some wgj.

  70. Star

    My dad had breast cancer and he drank wheatgrass juice and I can tell you from experience, that it helped heal his illness. He grew it in our home and drank a few ounces every day. It does provide nutrients and vitamins that you can’t get other places. It is a natural source of cleansing the body. Please don’t bash something you haven’t really given a chance or don’t understand the facts about. I don’t think it should be a replacement for other fruits and vegetables and be your sole source of diet, but wheatgrass juice has amazing benefits that I have seen and also experienced.

  71. Actually, you can’t say from experience it helped his illness. Correlation is not causation.

  72. Todd W.

    @Star

    It is a natural source of cleansing the body.

    What do you mean by “cleansing”? What does wheat grass juice cleanse? How does it accomplish this? Can you please provide citations to peer-reviewed journal articles that provide evidence that wgj cleanses the body and/or how it accomplishes this feat?

    Thank you.

  73. This whole things sounds like a bunch of people with nothing else better to do well if putting down wheat grass does that for you go ahead but you shouldn’t put down something you have never tryed wuss

  74. Lee

    Here are a few studies on wheatgrass juice, they are there if you care to actually search for them. Research on plants is not popular as there is no money to be made from studying plants but there has been research done. Wheatgrass juice does have beneficial properties for wound healing and anti-carcinogenic properties as seen in several studies. More studies should be done but good luck getting the greedy medical community to conduct them.

    An experimental study of its water soluble derivatives in wound healing. Smith L, Livingston A. Chlorophyll. Am. J. Surg. 1943. 62:358-369

    Wound healing involves an inflammatory (exudative) phase and a proliferative tissue growth and repair phase that presumably involves growth stimulating factors. This study tested various water soluble chlorophyll preparations and other agents including vitamin ointments and sulfathiazole on wounds created by excising portions of skin from rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and dogs. Response in rate of healing tended to be greater for chlorophyll than with other agents tested (the data is summarized in several tables not reproducible here).
    Conclusion: On the basis of these observations it is suggested that chlorophyll preparations should be used much more extensively in the treatment of wounds and burns.

    Studies on the constituents of green juice from young barley leaves. Antiulcer activity of fractions from barley juice. Ohtake, H., Yuasa, H., Komura, C. Miyauchi, T., Hagiwara, Y., Kubota, K. 1985. J. Pharm. Soc. Japan. 105:1046-51.

    Green juice and fractions from green juice of young barley leaves containing water soluble proteins and water soluble organic compounds showed anti- stomach ulcer activity in stressed rats.

    1. A supernatant extract from wheat grass reduced the production of carcinogenic aromatic hydrocarbon (benzopyrene) derivatives. Inhibition of benzopyrene mutagenicity with non-chlorophyll containing wheat sprout extract suggests that chlorophyll is not the main compound responsible.

    2. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Ben-Arye E.; Goldin E.; Wengrower D.; Stamper A.; Kohn R.; Berry E. 2002. Scand. J. Gastroenterology, Vol:37.4:444-449(6)
    A randomized, double-blind, placebo trial was undertaken with 23 patients in Israel. Treatment with wheatgrass juice (100 cc a day for one month) reduced the overall disease activity and severity of rectal bleeding in patients with active distal ulcerative colitis. No serious side effects were found. The authors concluded that wheat grass juice appeared effective and safe as a single or adjuvant treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis.
    Clinical experiences with chlorophyll preparations with particular reference to chronic osteomyelitis and chronic ulcers. Carpenter B. 1949 Am. J. Surg. 77:167-171

    A clinical study using chlorophyll preparations to treat chronic osteomyelitis, osteomyelitis secondary to compound fractures and chronically infected wounds and ulcers. The study included many patients that had been resistant to other forms of therapy. The author considered chlorophyll preparations not necessarily a cure, but was interested to find such rapid eradication of infection and healing of wounds. Photos show epithelialization and healing of lesions, chronic ulcers and a grossly infected amputation stump. In many of the wound healing and ulcer cases there was no evidence of recurrence of infection or of breakdown at 18 months.

    Chlorophyll in wound healing and suppurative disease. Bowers, W. 1947. Am. J. Surg. 1947;73:37-50.

    Lieutenant Colonel Bowers of the US Army reports on the use of water-soluble derivatives of chlorophyll in over 400 cases over a period of nine months. He (and colleagues) noted several major effects, notably: loss of odour associated with infected wounds; a stimulating effect on tissue formation (granulation tissue) when used as a dressing particularly for burns; and a drying effect in the case of abscesses, sinus tracts, surface lesions and osteomyelitis. Mention is made of chlorophyll efficacy in treatment of cyst wounds, fistula-in-ano (6 cases), sarcoma/carcinoma (4 cases), ulcerative colitis (1 case), thoracic empyema (several cases, 2 particularly effective), gunshot wound sinus tracts (17 cases), decubitis ulcer (4 cases) and burns (4 patients). In 119 cases of compound fractures to limbs chlorophyll reduced odour and enhanced healing, in some cases with exceptional results, e.g. legs saved from seemingly inevitable amputation. Numerous other cases and conditions are mentioned. Chlorophyll was comfortable as a wet dressing and was easily tolerated by patients. The author is convinced that chlorophyll is the best agent known for use in the treatment of suppurative diseases, indolent ulcers or wherever stimulation of tissue repair is desired.. although it is not presented as a cure-all.
    Chlorophyllin intervention reduces aflatoxin-DNA adducts in individuals at high risk for liver cancer (Qidong , China). Egner, P. et al. 2001. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 2001; 98:14601-14606

    Residents of the area are at risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) partly as a result of ingesting aflatoxin. Chlorophyllin was shown to be an inhibitor of aflatoxin carcinogenesis in animals, so this trial was carried out with 180 adult patients. Levels of aflatoxin-guanine in urine (associated with increased risk of liver cancer) were found to decrease 55% over a four month period in comparison to placebo. No adverse events were reported.
    Antimutagenic effects of several subfractions of extract from wheat sprout toward benzo[a]pyrene-induced mutagenicity in strain TA98 of Salmonella typhimurium. Peryt, B.,Miloszewska, J., Tudek, B., Zielenska, M., Szymczyk, T. 1988. Mut. Res. 206:221-225.

    An aqueous extract from wheat sprout appears to contain two antimutagenic factors as assayed in laboratory bacteriological tests. One compound is of low molecular weight and another of high molecular weight.

    Mechanisms of chlorophyllin anticarcinogenesis against aflatoxin B1: Complex formation with the carcinogen . Breinholt, V., Schimerlik, M., Dashwood, R., Bailey, G. 1995. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 1995,8, 506-514

    Chlorophyllin inhibits carcinogenesis due to aflatoxin. This study reports a noncovalent complex with aflatoxin which may be involved in anticarcinogenic activity.
    Review Article: Biological activities of chlorophyll derivatives. Chernomorsky, S. Segelman, A. 1988. Vol85, 8:669-673.

    The authors review the anti-inflammatory, wound healing and odor reducing capabilities of chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin has bacteriostatic properties aiding in wound healing, and stimulates the production of hemoglobin and erythrocytes in anemic animals. It has been used to treat various kinds of skin lesions, burns and ulcers where it acts as a wound healing agent, stimulating granulation tissue and epithelization. In some cases chronic ulcers failed to respond but use of novel preparations has aided in these cases. The mode of action is not well understood but the authors suggest it may involve the formation of complexes with proteins. Treatment with chlorophyll has been neglected in the past few decades as the use of steroids and antimicrobial products became more prevalent. New areas of application are suggested.

    Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirements in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study. Marwaha, R., Bansal, D., Kaur, S., Trehan A. 2004. Indian Ped. 41:716-720

    Patients with thalassemia consuming wheat grass juice on a daily basis reduced on average their requirements for blood transfusion. Families raised and prepared the wheat grass at home and a comparison was made with the requirements of the patient in the preceding year. In nearly all patients the mean interval between visits increased and the blood transfused decreased during the wheat grass period. The mechanism involved is unknown.

    1. The use of water soluble chlorophyll in oral sepsis. An experimnetal study of 300 cases. Goldberg S. 1943. Am. J. Surg. 1943;62:117-123.

    Water soluble chlorophyll was used to treat mouth infections and following dramatic and satisfactory early results, over 300 cases of Vincent’s stomatitis and pyorrhea have been treated. In pyorrhea the use of chlorophyll resulted in cessation of bleeding from gums and growth of new tissue, and in Vincent’s stomatitis chlorophyll regularly brought about complete recovery and more promptly than with other agents. The non-toxic nature and soothing effect of chlorophyll is also beneficial.
    2. Chlorophyll in the treatment of ulcers. Gahan, E., Kline, P., Finkle, T. Arch. Derm. & Syph. 1943. 47:849-851.

    1. The use of water soluble chlorophyll in oral sepsis. An experimnetal study of 300 cases. Goldberg S. 1943. Am. J. Surg. 1943;62:117-123.

    Water soluble chlorophyll was used to treat mouth infections and following dramatic and satisfactory early results, over 300 cases of Vincent’s stomatitis and pyorrhea have been treated. In pyorrhea the use of chlorophyll resulted in cessation of bleeding from gums and growth of new tissue, and in Vincent’s stomatitis chlorophyll regularly brought about complete recovery and more promptly than with other agents. The non-toxic nature and soothing effect of chlorophyll is also beneficial.
    2. Chlorophyll in the treatment of ulcers. Gahan, E., Kline, P., Finkle, T. Arch. Derm. & Syph. 1943. 47:849-851.

  75. Priya

    I think negative comment can attract more people into the blog, its a trick.

    good bussiness

  76. RTT

    There are great benefits to be had in being skeptical, especially of skeptics.

    It’s completely absurd to claim that anecdotal evidence is worthless. Scientific inquiry generally starts with simple anecdotal observations.

  77. pete suleimansade

    I was introduced to wheat grass juice about 6 months ago, a friend had all of her
    3 sisters die of cancer and then her husband; she (of course) investigated all she could for ways to keep healthy, it came in improved diet and daily workouts;
    and has for the last 10+ years used wheat grass juice every day and has not had a cold
    or virus in this time, i know this person very well and she strives to be an honest individual. So i now have tried it and sometimes i like the taste sometimes not;
    however i really do feel better and (why i don’t know) it takes my lust for ice coffee
    and chocolate (several times a day) completely away! So i believe it works. I have tried
    many other things and none has had this effect.
    Cheers! :>

  78. Nutritionist

    I juice my own wheatgrass and it costs next to nothing and has made me a normally irregular person very regular. I am a person the tries to keep things as natural and raw as possible and I can tell you there are foods such as wheatgrass that should be considered super foods (I make shakes with protein, royal jelly, wheat grass, frozen yogurt, and a lot more healthy ingredients and you get a huge boost you can actually feel!!!) if you think otherwise you are just ill-informed why is it that food that is unhealthy such as Mc Donald’s is dirt cheap yet food that actually has some nutritional density is expensive your negative comments prove just what foods types you all prefer but just wait till you have a heart attack at 45 good riddance to you.

  79. Gina K.

    Now I am truly confused. I just recently was introduced to wheatgrass juice and yes, it is an acquired taste. I do prefer it over bell peppers, beets and brussel sprouts. I’ve tried the shot from jamba juice and do believe I felt more alive. I now enjoy it in my daily aloe drink (which I could not stand when I first tried it – but now jones for). The conclusion I’ve come up with is that it really doesn’t matter. Nothing really does. We only have two more years on this planet before we all meet our well deserved demise, so have at it.

  80. Larry D

    I think people should eat and drink as many wholesome vegetables as they can. Wheatgrass juice is just another awful tasting wholesome juice with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes (proteins).
    As far as Wheatgrass being medicine consider the disease PELLAGRA. It was once a medical mystery. Doctors didn’t know if the disease was caused by a germ. People who had only a very restricted diet contracted it. A diet that was poor and monotonous, were frequently victims of the disease. The disease was due to a vitamin deficiency, Niacin. So, vitamins can heal! And lack thereof can kill.
    I practice medicine, without a license, all the time….on myself. Green food can be medicine to the body. Anybody up for a glass of brocolli , beet juice and Alfalfa? You whimps! Second thought, I’ll pass on that one too!

  81. Christine f

    I just introduced wheat grass into my diet.Even though it does not taste that great,I have noticed a big difference,not only in my energy level,but,also my mental state of mind.Mind you it has only 4 days,but I know that I am reaping the benefits of this.There are always going to be skeptics out there.That is fine,but I will listen to myself.

  82. LawnMuncher

    Wheatgrass juice tastes fine as long as you like fresh, green, salad-type stuff. Don’t expect it to taste like pizza, people, and you’ll be all right. And this is a dreaded anecdote, but too bad, you get to read it: Wheatgrass juice gives me an energy burst greater than coffee, helps digestive/intestinal troubles of many kinds, and makes my body smell better/cleaner. I plan to get my own wheatgrass juicer and plants to make maybe a quart a day. It’s goooood.

  83. Tintin

    Very interesting. I was wondering what wheatgrass was all about and was looking for unbiased opinions that don’t involve endoresments from wheatgrass manufacturers, so I’m glad I stumbled across this blog.

    I’m surprised, though, at the disparage that some commenters have said about the taste of broccoli, spinach and alfalfa. I think only people who didn’t grow up eating vegetables (or tried them with a pre-conditioned notion that all green veggies = yuck) could say that. Broccoli does have a strong veggie taste, but spinach is one of the mildest-tasting vegetables I know (it’s my favorite vegetable, for this reason). Canned spinach tastes like sewage so I do not reccomend that. Stick to the fresh one you cook yourself. It goes well with anything because of its mild taste.

    I have only tried fresh alfalfa recently and was surprised at how good it tasted – it tasted nutty (a bit like peanuts) to me. I’d grow it myself if the option was available where I live.

    Before anyone calls me a vegetarian health-nut subsisting on rabbit food, I’d like to clarify that I like cheeseburgers and steak as much as the next person. And in reference to a previous comment, I’ve (gingerly) tasted raw sea urchin, and it was surprisingly smooth and rich. I’d eat it again. But it’s pricy.

    So would I try wheatgrass- yes, and see for myself it has any beneficial effects. I believe that due to genetics, not all substances have the same effect on all persons. Maybe that’s the reason why we get so many conflicting reports. In my best friend’s case, products that work wonderfully on me and others do not work on her (acne problem). Even DOCTOR-PRESCRIBED medicine had given her adverse effects (worked a miracle on ME, though). As for the taste, I have eaten grass-flavored sweets (kusa-mochi in Japan) and loved them, so I may not have a problem with wheatgrass.

    I’ll take some wheatgrass powder later and see how it goes.

  84. Tintin

    UPDATE: tried a packet of dried 100% wheatgrass powder from the convenience store. When I opened and sniffed it, it smelled alarmingly of the pellets I used to feed my goldfish. Fish-food flavored drinks don’t appeal to me, so I braced myself for the worse and took a sip. It tasted surprisingly…nice. It had hints of green tea and the aforementioned ‘kusa-mochi’ flavor. It also tasted mildly sweet. I like the grassy taste. And it didn’t taste like fish food.

    In fact, I think it tastes better than green tea. I wouldn’t mind making a jugful of this everyday and storing it in the fridge, drinking it purely for taste. Unfortunately the high cost of the powder prohibits me from trying this out more than a few weeks – the cost of a single packet could’ve bought me a half kilo of the local fruit in season, which is a surer bet as far as health benefits go.

    I haven’t tasted fresh wheatgrass yet, so I can’t comment on that.

  85. I just drank 2 ounces wheatgrass juice( for the first time) I mixed with 2 oz pineapple juice and 4 oz water. Was actually quite good. The grassy-ness was cancelled out by the sour of the pineapple.

  86. Shannon

    I am a HUGE skeptic and have an ulcer and when someone told me that Wheatgrass heals from the inside out, I figured “what the hell, got nothing to lose”. I started taking Wheatgrass one ounce a day and noticed immediately how energetic I became. Then decided to up the dosage to 2 ounces a day and actually stopped drinking coffee, didn’t really need it anymore. I was feeling so good that I was able to stop taking the ” one pill a day for this ulcer the rest of my life”. What else can this wonderful drink do for me?? I upped my dosage to 6 ounces a day for 2 weeks and stopped smoking, cold turkey, with absolutely no side effects, no cravings, no bitchiness, no weight gain, no nothing!!! That was 4 years ago. I am still a non-smoker (previously 1 pack a day for 40 years) and I have not taking one single pill for my ulcer since starting to take Wheatgrass. What Wheatgrass does for the skin, teeth, nails, hair, is fantastic and well worth the price. . .and I love the fresh outdoor taste of it.

  87. It seems that some of the early comments came from people who were scientifically knowledgeable and it wasn’t until the later comments that any “scientific opposition” was voiced. I would like to hear what these early commenters say about these later comments.
    I am still left “up in the air.” I do know one fact that applies to me. I used wheatgrass for many years. It was quite an ordeal. What caused me to stop is that while I was still using it I developed prostatitis.

  88. It seems that some of the early comments came from people who were scientifically knowledgeable and it wasn’t until the later comments that any “scientific opposition” was voiced. I would like to hear what these early commenters say about these later comments.
    I am still left “up in the air.” I do know one fact that applies to me. I used wheatgrass for many years. It was quite an ordeal. What caused me to stop is that while I was still using it I developed prostatitis.

    This can’t be a duplicate. I’ve never even seen this website before!!

  89. Anon

    well actually i like the taste!!! its super gross on its own but if you have it with lemon and apple you can hardly taste it and its quite nice. SO..before you go on dissing wheat grass try different combo’s!!

  90. Hard to believe how many people believe wheatgrass is a bad thing. Yeah, vegetables contain no benefit, thats laughable. 1 oz of juiced wheatgrass is equal to 2.2 lbs of green veggies, so are so many posts against this? I juice all kinds of fruits and veggies, and none has given me the benefit of taking wheatgrass (and barley grass which I alternate) on an almost daily basis over the past few months. Yes, your first couple of shots will be gross, and you may burp it up. Thats because your digestive system is not used to it. I got diarhea the first time i ate lettuce, so you tell me how intelligent the line of reasoning is to try something once and know for a fact it doesnt work. absolute hogwash. i’ve actually come to like the taste over time, and i make friends and family try it (some like it, some dont). the energy boost is undeniable, but Michael Shermer is totally full of it, tell him i said so.

  91. Doug

    Infuriatingly and incredibly misleading blog post – Wheatgrass has incredible antioxidant properties, as well as making your body more alkaline than acidic which makes it far more difficult for cancer cells to grow enhancing your “landscape”. If you want to continue to believe what big pharma is pushing, feel free. Go read the well documented research of Dr Fuhrman, and you will see that 80% to 90% of published medical journals are directly financially sponsored by drug companies, shocking that they haven’t ever pushed diet. Or read “AntiCancer: A New Way of Life” – David Servan-Schreiber survived Brain Cancer with diet, avoiding chemicals and treating your body the way you should. Lastly, “The China Study” should tell you that plant based proteins and vegetables of all kinds are directly related to far lower cancer rates.

    No evidence? Here are several control/challenger studies do your research please.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11989836

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15297687

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15750376

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20508870

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