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Juicing health benefits and risks

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While juicing can be nutritious addition to your diet, it shouldn’t be your only source of fruit and vegetables. Some of the nutrients -- most notably, fiber -- that you get from whole fruits and vegetables are left over in the juicing container.

However, juicing can be a method of getting some of the nutritional benefits from fruits or veggies that you don't normally eat. Whether juicing is healthy or a harmful depends on the juice content you prepare and how often you consume it.

Watch the Sugar

Some fruits are high in fructose. Although fructose is a natural sugar, excessive amounts cause the same health risks -- including weight gain and tooth decay -- as added sugars found in sugary soft drinks. The same goes for pre-packaged juices that are marketed as healthy alternatives to soft drinks. A 10 ounces of one major brand of orange and mango juice can contain up to 31.5 grams of sugar, while a 11 ounces can of cola contains 39 grams of sugar.

Go Green

For a healthy concoction, make most of your juice from green vegetables, which are low in sugar. Add one or two portions of a citrus fruit, such as oranges or apples to improve the taste and nutritional diversity. Choose vegetables such as cucumbers, spinach, celery and parsley for a green smoothie.

Green-based juices are healthy because they contain multivitamins and minerals without as much sugar as fruits. If you want to stick to fruits for your juice, choose low-sugar fruits such as papaya, watermelon, peaches and blueberries.

Juicing the Right Way

There is no evidence that juicing is healthier or equivalent to eating whole fruits. Consume whole fruits and vegetables with your meals to get fiber. Have juice with other foods that contain fiber, protein and healthy fats to slow down sugar absorption in your blood. Add protein power or yogurt to your juice, if you want to consume it as a replacement meal. With the fiber removed from the fruits and vegetables, the juice alone won’t keep you sated.

Opt for Smoothies

Blending fruits and vegetables into a smoothie allows you to retain the fiber content of the ingredients. Making a smoothie requires a high-powered blender rather than a juicer. The main difference between smoothies and juice is the texture, which can be altered by adding water or milk, if the thick smoothies are not to your taste.

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