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Soda poping and juicing: Students consider alternate route to health

Juice cleanses have become a popular trend with promises of improved health in recent months, but these cleanses can become demanding and exhausting. Most juice cleanses require you to drink cold pressed juice as a substitute to meals for a few days in a row. “Cold-pressed juices preserve the antioxidants that are otherwise cooked away in highly processed juices. While antioxidants may be important to overall health, the claims of many so-called nutritionists is a bit over the top,” said Dr. Howard J. Phillips, a nutrition professor and professional. Fr. Gerald J. Buonopane, a food scientist and professor agrees. “A juice-focused diet does not provide all of the nutrients our bodies need. If a person consumes multiple bottles of juice per day, calories can quickly add up, without the feeling of fullness you’d get from a whole fruit or vegetable,” Buonopane said. The lack of fullness and prospect of hunger makes these cleanses intimidating to people even to college students. Megan Miller, a junior public relations major, said she has never done a juice cleanse as it just hasn’t seemed healthy or appetizing to her. “Sadly, I really enjoy soda, so I have a hard time not drinking it,” Miller said. Megan Tobin, a freshman communications major, said she also prefers sugary drinks over cold pressed drinks or even water. “I like the taste of sweet drinks over healthier drinks. Unsweetened iced tea tastes really bitter to me. Sometimes I’ll drink water, but I don’t think I could drink only that because I find it plain,” Tobin said. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in four teens in the U.S. drink soda every day. “Non-diet soda is the worst.  It has loads of simple sugars that provide too many ‘empty Calories.’ That means lots of Calories with no nutritional value,” Dr.Phillips said. Although juice cleanses may appear like an extreme approach to becoming healthy to some, there are many alternate ways of drinking oneself into a healthy lifestyle, starting with giving up sugary drinks such as soda, alcohol, fruit juice, and energy drinks. It is recommended by nutritionists that one should drink eight cups of water a day and on campus, water is readily available. “I mostly drink water at school because it’s free and I don’t have to walk far to get it,” Olivia Park, a freshman biology major, said. Low fat milk and fruit juice in moderation can serve as alternatives as well. However, Dr. Phillips warns that staying well hydrated is important, but some people go over-board and if you've already had several glasses of juice, milk or coffee then you just need a few glasses of water to meet your daily requirement. Exercise is also key to the same health benefits promised by juice cleanses. “While there is some evidence that certain fruits and vegetables can help with mood and focus, exercise has been shown to have remarkable improvement in these areas in study after study,” Dr. Phillips said. Fr. Buonopane notes that people should limit the consumption of diet drinks and their non-nutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose as these sugars can all carry some adverse side effects. Nicole Peregrina can be reached at


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