V-8 can't equal fruits and veggies


Is drinking V-8 juice as good for me as eating raw vegetables?

Maryland Athletic Club registered dietician Diana Moskowitz does not recommend V-8 in place of fruits and vegetables. While V-8 is more nutritious and lower in calories than most juices, it has its shortcomings when compared with fresh vegetables.

One shortcoming is that regular V-8 is high in sodium. (You can buy a low-sodium version, but some feel that you sacrifice taste.) Also, fresh vegetables have more fiber -- and are more filling -- than the juiced version, says Moskowitz. If you love vegetable juice and have to have it, juice your own.

My favorite abs exercise is called the bicycle -- lying on your back with knees bent and hands behind your head, you alternate reaching each elbow to the opposite knee. But when I do more than two sets it bothers my back. Is there a good alternative?

Working the stomach muscles without using the back can be difficult. Most abdominal exercises also work the lower back. But if you're creative, there are ways to isolate the abs without straining your back.

Rather than alternating legs when you do the bicycle exercise, plant one foot and leave the other leg outstretched on the floor.

Do a set of crunches bringing your opposite elbow to your knee, then switch sides. This targets the same stomach muscles and will give your back some rest.

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail fitness@baltsun.com.

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