Consuming fruit juices is just as bad for your health and likely to lead to an early death as drinking cola or lemonade, research suggests.
A new study found an increased risk of dying early for whatever cause for people who consumed a lot of sugary drinks.
American researchers compared 100 percent fruit juices with sugar-sweetened drinks such as cola and lemonade for the first time.
They found very similar associations for both fruit juices and sugary drinks with an increased risk of dying early, although they said more research was needed.
An expert described the study as important, but said there was no risk of a single 150 ml glass of fruit juice per day.
Researchers from Emory and Cornell found that excessive consumption of soft drinks increased the risk of premature death by 11%. Excessive consumption of fruit juice increased the risk of premature death by 24%
The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed data from 13,440 people. Their intake of sugary drinks and 100 percent fruit juices was recorded via a questionnaire about how often they consumed the drinks.
During an average follow-up of six years, there were 1,000 deaths from any cause and 168 from coronary heart disease.
Typically, people in the study received 8.4 percent of their calorie intake every day from sugar-sweetened beverages and 4 percent from 100 percent fruit juice.
People were supposed to have a high intake of these drinks if 10 percent or more of the energy intake came from these drinks compared to those with a low intake (less than 5 percent).
After taking into account factors such as obesity, those with the highest intake had an 11 percent increased risk of dying for whatever cause for each additional 12 oz of sugar-sweetened drink that was consumed, and a 24 percent increased risk for each extra 12 oz of fruit juice consumed.
The researchers, including from Emory University in Atlanta and Cornell University in New York, said: & These results suggest a higher consumption of sugary drinks, including fruit juice, is associated with increased mortality.
& # 39; The nutritional content of 100 percent fruit juices and SSB & # 39; s (sugar-sweetened drinks) is very similar.
Hoewel Although 100 percent fruit juices contain some vitamins and phytonutrients that are missing in most SSBs, the predominant ingredients in both are sugar and water.
& Although the sugar in SSB's is added during processing and the sugar naturally occurs in 100 percent fruit juice, the specific sugars they provide for the body to process are essentially the same, and the biochemical reaction the same with metabolic. & # 39;
The authors suggested a few possible reasons for the increased risk of dying from the consumption of sugary drinks.
Obesity is clearly the most important factor, they said, but once that is taken into account, research suggests that sugary drinks increase insulin resistance.
Other factors may include that fructose consumption changes blood lipid levels, markers of inflammation and blood pressure, while high glucose consumption is associated with insulin resistance and diabetes.
Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, associate professor of nutrition and health at the University of Reading, said: & # 39; This is a very important study, especially since fruit juices are often seen as an & # 39; Healthy & alternative to sugary sweet drinks, although they often contain much more sugar (especially smoothies).
# Fruit juices can provide vitamins and even some fiber, but in addition there is little health benefit: the amount of phytochemical material in juices is too low to have a further beneficial effect and there is no beneficial health effect of so-called antioxidants.
& # 39; If the association proves to be causal (which we do not yet know), this would have a number of implications: first, it would suggest that it does not matter whether sugary drinks are lemonades or fruit juices.
& # 39; This is important because fruit juices and smoothies are not often seen as sugary drinks. Secondly, it would suggest that alleged health benefits of fruit juices are not sufficient to counteract their sugar content.
& # 39; Fruit juices are a poor substitute for actual fruit consumption, especially since they are much easier to over-consume.
In Indeed, a 150 ml glass of orange juice is made from about two oranges – but it takes much longer to eat two oranges than to drink the juice.
& # 39; In the UK, the general recommendation is that a 150 ml glass of fruit juice can deliver one in five per day, but not more.
& # 39; This is less than half the amount found in this study to result in a modest increase in mortality, so there is no suggestion from this study that one glass per day is problematic. & # 39;