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Kick That Cleanse to the Curb: How to Juice for Your Health

To juice or not to juice? That is the real question. With the CDC recommending 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of veggies each day, it seems like a good idea. But with Americans' average sugar consumption flying through the roof, how do you keep a healthy balance? Here, why it's still smart to chew your food, when to opt for drinking your greens -- and what the heck words like centrifugal, cold-pressed, and pascalization really mean.
Juice Cleanse bottles Why You Don't Need a Juice Cleanse

Back in the '90s, juicing was one of those diet plans often left for the likes of celebrities and models who needed to slim down before walking the red carpet or runway. Then, handling a bottle of murky green liquid meant you were likely fasting, or not eating solid food for anywhere from three days to three weeks. Not anymore. "People have done cleanses because they usually think that their body needs it, and that's not really true," says Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, author of the healthy living blog fANNEtastic food. "Our body is made to cleanse out toxins and process foods all on its own. You don't need to go to an extreme measure."

Nowadays, using juice as a supplement to your diet is the more common -- and healthier -- way to go. "Every day is an opportunity to eat whole foods, which are nutrient-rich," says Elizabeth Ward, RD, nutrition consultant and Jamba Juice Healthy Living Council member. "If you focus mostly on that, you don't have to worry about hitting a reset button." It's also about developing long-term healthy eating habits, rather than reaching for a quick fix, adds Mauney. "Juicing should be a fun strategy that's just one part of your diet, not the whole thing."