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What was the documentary about juicing?

Juicing has become an increasingly popular health trend in recent years. From juice cleanses to daily green juices, there are many claims about the potential benefits of juicing. One documentary that explored this topic in-depth was Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.


Released in 2010, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is an American documentary film that follows the juice fasts of two men – Australian Joe Cross and American truck driver Phil Staples. Directed by Australian filmmaker Joe Cross, the documentary looks at the benefits of juicing and juice fasting for chronic health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases.

The film focuses on Joe Cross’ personal 60-day juice fast across America, during which he travels the country meeting people and spreading the message about the power of juicing. Intercut with Cross’ journey is the parallel story of Phil Staples, a morbidly obese truck driver from Iowa who embarks on his own juice fast for 60 days after hearing about Joe’s journey.

Through intimate portraits of their transformational journeys, the film examines the potential of juicing to change lives and health outcomes. It also features interviews with doctors and nutrition specialists discussing the science behind juicing and its effectiveness for health and weight loss.

Joe Cross’ Personal Journey

At the start of the documentary, Australian director Joe Cross is shown to be overweight, stressed and suffering from an autoimmune disease. Weighing in at 310 pounds, he is seen struggling with his health and dependent on medications. Inspired to regain his vitality, Joe embarks on a 60-day juice fast while traveling across America.

Armed with a juicer and generator in his car, Joe juices a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as he passes through cities and small towns. He supports his body while eliminating solid foods altogether. Over the course of his fast, Joe’s dramatic transformation is documented as he loses weight, gains energy and ceases his medication use.

Some key facts and stats from Joe’s juice fast journey:

Starting Weight 310 pounds
Juice Fast Duration 60 days
Weight Lost 82 pounds
Medications Eliminated 4

Joe’s journey shows the power of juicing to help achieve dramatic weight loss and improve various health markers in just two months. His story serves as a testament to juicing’s potential for chronic disease and obesity.

Phil Staples’ Weight Loss Transformation

The other subject profiled in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is Phil Staples, a morbidly obese truck driver from Iowa weighing in at 429 pounds. After hearing about Joe Cross’ juice fast journey, Phil is inspired to try juicing himself.

Phil visits a doctor in Arizona and goes on a 60-day juice fast under medical supervision. Like Joe, he consumes nothing but fresh juices made from vegetables and fruits like kale, celery, carrots, apples and oranges.

Over his juice fast, Phil experiences astonishing results:

Starting Weight 429 pounds
Juice Fast Duration 60 days
Weight Lost 130 pounds
Reduction in Medications From 13 to 2 medications

Like Joe Cross, Phil loses a significant amount of weight through his juicing regimen and is able to reduce his medication load. His story provides more powerful testament to the potential of juicing and juice fasting for weight loss and disease treatment.

Interviews with Health Specialists

In addition to documenting Joe and Phil’s journeys, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead also features interviews with medical doctors and nutrition specialists discussing the science behind juicing and its health impacts.

For example, Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains that produce contains powerful micronutrients and phytochemicals that support the body’s health. By juicing, these nutrients can be absorbed efficiently when removed from the fibrous produce. Some key benefits discussed include:

Benefit Details
Weight Loss Juices are low in calories, allowing caloric intake to be restricted for weight loss. The nutrients help reduce hunger.
Detoxification Phytochemicals support liver detoxification. Juice cleanses give the digestive system a rest.
Disease Prevention Micronutrients prevent oxidative damage and chronic disease. Juices reduce inflammation.

Other experts like nutritionist Megan Sherwood also point to the convenience of juicing, allowing people to easily intake pounds of fresh produce that would be difficult to consume whole. The specialist interviews lend credence to the transformed subjects’ results.

Criticisms and Concerns

While Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead focuses on the benefits of juicing, some criticisms and concerns about prolonged juicing have been raised by dietitians and nutrition experts.

Some key points of concern include:

Criticism Details
Lacks Fiber The fiber is removed, which helps promote fullness and gut health.
High in Sugar Fruit juices can be high in natural sugars without fiber.
Nutrient Deficiencies Long juice fasts may lead to deficiencies in protein, fat, and nutrients like B12.
Lacks Research There is limited rigorous research on juice cleanses and fasting.
Weight Regain The weight loss may not be sustainable without diet changes.

While juicing has many benefits, experts recommend keeping fasts short-term. Balancing juices with whole foods and transitioning into healthy eating habits are advised for long-term wellness.


Overall, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead provides thought-provoking insight into juicing and its potential benefits. By profiling two inspirational juicing journeys, it makes a compelling case for using produce-based juices to aid weight loss, detoxification and chronic disease treatment.

However, the documentary could have addressed criticisms more thoroughly to provide balanced perspective. Viewers are advised to consult nutrition experts when considering a juice cleanse. In moderation, juicing can be a healthy and convenient way to reap the benefits of fresh produce.

More research is still needed, but Joe Cross and Phil Staples’ powerful testimonials give merit to juicing’s advantages. Their dramatic transformations speak to the potent nutrition packed into fresh vegetable and fruit juices.