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Is a Juice Cleanse Healthy?

Want to lose a few pounds by following an all-juice diet? Here's what you should know before you try a juice cleanse.

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Unfortunately, I can't recommend that shortcut.

While it's true that a low-calorie liquid diet can help people shed pounds rapidly, the loss is mostly in muscle mass and water weight, not just fat. This can leave dieters looking flabby and drawn—and feeling completely miserable.

Slim down the smarter way by limiting packaged foods and restaurant meals. Homemade dishes tend to be more filling and lower in calories and fat. In the process, you'll also cut your intake of sodium and refined carbs, two causes of visible bloating. One other idea: With your doctor's OK, dial up the intensity of your workouts. Vigorous exercise—marked by deep, fast breathing—is a proven way to rev metabolism.

Melina Jampolis, M.D., is a specialist in nutrition for weight loss, disease prevention, and treatment. She's the author of The No Time to Lose Diet ($23, Thomas Nelson).

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