DEAR DR. ROACH: I’m a 76-year-old woman who enjoys a 6-ounce glass of ruby-red grapefruit juice every morning before my breakfast of cereal, half a banana and coffee. My husband has been trying to convince me that I should stop having my morning juice, as it is a real “sugar bomb.” Is he correct in his thinking?

ANSWER: A 6-ounce glass of grapefruit juice is a perfectly reasonable serving size. Six ounces would contain about 16 grams of sugar. That’s less than half of what’s in a can of soda, and although it’s a good chunk of your daily sugar intake, if that’s where you want to have it, that’s fine. Your husband should lighten up. I see people drinking 64 ounces of juice or soda. THOSE are sugar bombs.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I just found out that I have lipedema, a rare disease. What can I do about it? Should I find relatives who have it? My mom and dad don’t have it, nor other family. Should I try to find which relatives have it? I am told that it is an inherited disease. None of these “family” ever had it! — L.Q.

ANSWER: Lipedema is indeed a rare disease, although it may be underdiagnosed. It almost always is found in women, and is suspected when there is marked fat deposition symmetrically between the waist and ankles. The areas affected often are tender or painful to the touch. It is not the same as lymphedema, fluid increase due to poorly functioning or damaged lymph vessels, although people with lipedema can develop lymphedema.

Treatment includes compression garments or manual lymph drainage, often combined with surgical treatments such as liposuction.

Only about 15 percent of people with lipedema have a family history. It’s not surprising that you can’t find relatives with it.

More information is available at several support groups, and at

DEAR DR. ROACH: Please address the possible health risks of using decaffeinated coffee. Is the process used harmful? Is the decaffeinated product approved by the Food and Drug Administration? I try to avoid caffeine and consume a lot of decaf coffee each day, hence exposing myself to greater amounts of what is reported to be residue from the decaffeination process.

ANSWER: There are four ways to decaffeinate coffee: two use organic chemical solvents (methylene chloride and ethyl acetate), and there’s carbon dioxide and water. Your question is about the amount of the organic solvents left in in the first two methods.

(Incidentally, “organic” has two meanings. To a chemist, “organic” means “carbon- and hydrogen-containing,” so both methylene chloride and ethyl acetate are organic compounds. The common use of “organic” now means foods grown without synthetic chemicals, and among other things, avoiding use of antibiotics, pesticides and prohibited fertilizers. These terms often are in direct conflict with one another.)

The amount of residual solvent in decaffeinated coffee and tea is set by the FDA at less than 10 parts per million; most commercial decaf coffee is closer to 1 ppm. The FDA has found that this level does not pose a threat to human health.

If you still are concerned, you can purchase coffee that has been decaffeinated by the water process (sometimes called Swiss water process) or by carbon dioxide, neither of which leaves chemical residues.

READERS: The booklet on restless leg syndrome and nighttime cramps offers more tips. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 306, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to [email protected] or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Health newsletters may be ordered from

(c) 2014 North America Syndicate Inc.

All Rights Reserved

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.