Juice the Facts, Ma'am

Find out if juice cleanses really are liquid gold.
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Jeff Harris

Q. Is this really good for boosting my fruit and veggie intake?

A. Yes. Each bottle (you usually drink between three and six each day) can contain between three and five servings of produce, notes Isabel Smith, a New York City-based registered dietitian who frequently advises clients undergoing juicing programs. And a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may offer protection against heart disease, certain types of cancer and more.

Q. I heard that juicing removes all the fiber from fruit.

A. Not entirely. Cold-pressing (sometimes called HPP, for high pressure processing), the gold standard for commercially prepared juices, removes the juice's insoluble fiber (the pulp) but not the soluble fiber. As a result, it's possible you'll experience constipation. Drinking water frequently throughout the cleanse may help prevent this, says Smith. Sipping warm water with a squeeze of lemon in it helps too.

Q. Does everyone lose weight?

A. With your daily total calories taking a dip, it's likely. "Weight loss varies, though, with some people dropping up to a pound a day," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. "Most of that will be water and some might even be muscle."

Q. Could cleansing be bad for me?

A. It's certainly not for everyone. The high sugar content of many juices makes them a bad choice for some diabetics. And they provide insufficient nutrients for people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, anyone who is a serious athlete, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, people who have or have had an eating disorder, and anyone under 18. Some cleanses even come with a recommendation that you get your MD's approval before starting.

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