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My Rebuttal to Comments About
a Barley Grass Juice Supplement

This is a rebuttal to Doug Graham's comments about barley grass juice powder

 

1. Doug Graham saying that when you juice, dry, and powderize plant matter you are removing nutrients is not accurate. Yes, you are removing the fiber, and although it's not normally thought of as a nutrient, fiber is a nutrient because it nourishes the body. But since most people think of vitamins and minerals when they hear the term "nutrients", Graham's stating that this processing removes "nutrients" (plural) is disingenuous. Juicing concentrates nutrition, and the cold temperature CO2 spray-drying process used to dry and powderize the barley grass juice product that I recommend (not all barley grass juice powders are dried this way) does not result in the loss of the bulk of the juice's nutritional content as some people might think from listening to Graham's comments.

2. Graham says that barley grass juice powder offers nothing in the way of nutrients, and is "a detriment to your nutrition". If barley grass juice powder provides no meaningful amounts of nutrition, then I would like him to explain why it has helped people resolve various conditions of ill-health. And we're not talking about a placebo effect or a stimulatory effect, it is clearly a nutritive effect. Sure, Graham could say that he has seen no evidence of any benefit, but how would he since he doesn't recommend it, and therefore has no experience with it. While I – having vetted its efficacy and incorporated it into my practice – have seen, first hand, how helpful it can be at compensating for the nutritionally sub-par fruits and greens that many people are eating. And I am not the only practitioner to experience this. Sure, Graham can dismiss this out-of-hand by saying that this is just anecdotal evidence, but there is not going to be any multiple, double-blind, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed studies done, and in the absence of that, empirical evidence of this supplement's helpfulness in supplying nutrition that is otherwise lacking in the diet is credible evidence, especially when it's from someone who has no ulterior motives for saying so. Ask yourself, why else would I be recommending barley grass juice powder as strongly as I do? Because I sell it? No, I don't sell it or make any money from its sale, and I purposely don't sell it so that my recommendations will have the highest degree of credibility they can, because I know it's helpful. And this is something that should be taken into account when vetting information such as this.

3. I won't dignify Graham's ridiculous "five year old celery" analogy with a comment. If you read my writings on the subject, you'll understand why. And we're talking about the juice of a green food, so saying that if you dehydrate celery and powder it, and then add it back to water, it's going to rehydrate and you've gained nothing, is obfuscating the point. I'm not advocating consuming barley grass powder, we're talking about barley grass juice powder. There's a big difference. So saying that you are "concentrating food but you're not concentrating nutritional value" does not apply to a nutritional supplement that's made from a juice.

4. Now, to answer Graham's question as to why barley grass juice powder would be any more nutritious than celery because "aren't they grown in the same soil?", actually, they are not grown in the same soil. The difference between store-bought celery and barley grass juice powder is that the celery was grown in soil of the agri-based food industry that grows for yield, size, appearance, pest-resistance, shelf-life, growth-rate, and sugar-content, but not for nutritional content (because there's no demand for it nor profit in it), and the barley grass juice powder was grown to be used specifically as a nutritional supplement, so the soil it's grown in is certainly better than the soil the celery was grown in. If store-bought celery was assayed for its nutritional content, and it came up short relative to what celery is supposed to have, who is going to care? Will the celery grower lose business? No. But if the barley grass juice powder was found to be devoid of the nutritional content it claims to have, that company would be out of business... and believe me, these assays have been done. So we're talking about two different products for two different markets, therefore Graham's comparison is not apples-to-apples. So Graham saying, "If farmers don't know how to make healthy soil, why should supplement salesmen know how to make healthy soil?" is a ridiculous thing to say. And saying about the barley grass growers: "shame on them for keeping that secret" implying that they should share their information on how to grow in healthy soil with the agri-based farmers is also a ridiculous thing to say; Graham is either unaware of the difference in soils, or he is merely trying to support his position by saying things that he hopes no one will give any rational, critical thought to.

5. Citing T. Colin Cambell as saying that fruits and vegetables are the best thing to eat, implying that Dr. Campbell did not say to eat fruits and vegetables and a green powder product, is misrepresenting Dr. Campbell. Dr. Campbell relies on studies, so because there are no peer-reviewed studies in the literature comparing a diet not augmented with barley grass juice powder with a diet that was augmented with it, he understandably will have nothing to say on the subject (and BTW, Dr. Campbell saying that "80-10-10 is the best way to eat" is not referring to Doug Graham's 80/10/10 program; he's referring to the caloro-nutrient ratios set forth by the Pritikin Longevity Center research).

6. Drying plant matter is a way of preserving it, and as long as the drying process isn't higher than a certain temperature, the nutrients are evidently intact. And I say "evidently" because this supplement does confer nutritional benefit. It should be noted that seeds found in a bone-dry arid climate from thousands of years ago are still viable and can still germinate and grow into a plant, but those same seeds, if they had been in a moist environment, would have decomposed a long time ago. So when green plant matter is dried and powdered and bottled with a moisture absorbing packet in an airtight glass container, the bulk of the nutrition is intact.

7. Graham said, "They wouldn't keep coming out with new supplements if the old ones were working ... if they're always coming out with something new, this is telling you that the old stuff didn't work." Seriously?! This shows a total lack of understanding of how the supplement industry operates. Doug Graham is an intelligent person, and therefore someone who can't honestly believe this. So what reason could he have for saying this? Is he just looking for anything that would discredit the use of nutritional supplements that he thinks people would buy into?

8. Graham says, "In today's world, deficiency is not the problem...95% of all nutritional problems are problems of excess, not problems of deficiency." There are certainly health issues caused by too much fat, too much protein, too much "empty calorie" foods, and too much processed sugar, but to state as if it were established fact that health issues are not caused by dietary nutritional deficiencies demonstrates a lack of understanding of the issue, and that's putting it mildly. First of all, the issue of the proportion of what causes ill health is too complex to assign it a percentage with any degree of accuracy (but that doesn't stop some people and organizations from doing it). I should also mention that Graham teaches the notion that, "Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables you don't have to worry about nutrition", yet this has been shown to be false. I'll admit, it is a lovely notion, and I'd love to believe it, but I can't, because it simply isn't true, and I prefer to deal with things that square with reality. And although I agree with Graham when he says, "let's get real here", it appears that my understanding of what is real is very different from his.

Where our food comes from today is not where it came from many millennia ago. And if you believe that the nutritional quality is the same today as it's always been, the hallmark study done at the University of Texas, Austin, would disagree. They examined nutritional data from both 1950 and 2000 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, and confirmed "reliable declines" over the past half century in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (B2), and vitamin C to name a few. Researchers attribute this declining nutritional content to the agriculture industry's efforts to grow fruits and vegetables for yield, appearance, size, pest-resistance, shelf-life, growth-rate, and sugar-content, but not for nutritional content. Why do they grow this way? They're in business to make profit, and they are under no mandate to provide the public with food that provides enough of all the nutrients we need for optimal health.

This discussion would not be complete without trying to get some kind of understanding of why Doug Graham would make these contentions with what is currently known about the subject. If Graham was the type of educator who would peer-to-peer with his colleagues for the benefit of those he teaches and counsels, for the purpose of sharing information in an effort to discover what works the best, you likely wouldn't be reading this page. But sadly, this is not the case.

And what could be a possible reason why Graham doesn't, on his own, adopt changes to what he teaches based on "new information"? When someone has been teaching something, and teaching it for a very long time – especially a very important issue like nutritional sufficiency – it can be difficult for some health educators to do what would amount to a "180" on an issue for fear of losing credibility. Realizing they've painted themselves into a corner, they dig in their heels and take a "that's my story and I'm sticking to it" attitude. While this approach may be good for business, it is not good for those they teach and counsel. And if these educators were merely teaching pottery making, it wouldn't be a big deal. But your health is arguably the most valuable commodity you have. So this is why I advocate taking a multi-source approach to health education, so that you will encounter conflicting information, and therefore be in possession of the truth. Figuring out which information is the truth is where adhering to the ethos of science comes in handy: rational open questioning, no authorities, no biases, honesty, transparency, and reliance on evidence. This way of thinking can make the world a better place by burying myth and dogma, and the requisites are respect for rational and honest discussion, and an intolerance of distortion and misrepresentation.

I think it's about time that we support health educators who deal with reality (I'm not the only one), and let go of the ones who do not and who refuse to, choosing instead to find spurious arguments to support what they've always taught and continue to teach, even though some of what they are teaching is incorrect. I admire health educators who can peer-to-peer for the benefit of those they teach and counsel, and who can admit when they're wrong. Unfortunately some do not adhere to "First, do no harm."

 

Some comments on the Doug Graham video

"I have followed Doug Graham for years (attending a 3 day seminar of his, reading his books, and watching his videos), and have followed Don Bennett for a couple years (read everything I can find of his, and watch most if not all of his videos). Don Bennett addresses issues that are never addressed by DG, and he takes into consideration that we do not live in a perfect world. If we could all live in the perfect world, what DG teaches would probably be sufficient information. However, Don Bennett addresses issues that can arise living in the real world with less than perfect produce, air, water ....environment in general. I will take the realistic approach to health achievement over an idealized approach any day!"

"I got recently turned to trying the barley grass juice powder again by reading some excellent articles from Don Bennett and also Tasha Lee who is a healing-diabetic. The stuff makes me feel incredibly nourished and calm and strong and vital. I guess everybody should try things for themselves....as always. I really have eliminated all supplements recently after reading many critical articles from experts and watching youtube videos on the topic...but I will happily spend a ton of money on Barley-Grass-Juice since it has such a profound effect on my well-being...at least at this point of my life, coming from years of abusing my body with a less than perfect diet."

[From a raw foodist client of mine who benefitted from the use of a high quaility barley grass juice powder] "Thank you for making a difference in my life with regards to my teeth. They are no longer see-through when I am in the sun viewing them in a mirror, but rather starting to become milky again, definitely with more substance to them."

 

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