One hidden culprit behind weight gain: fruit juice

February 14, 2018 by Dennis Thompson, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—Fruit juice isn't doing any favors for your waistline, a new study reports.

People who drink a small glass of daily can expect to steadily gain a bit of weight over the years, according to data from a long-term study of women's health.

It's about the same weight gain you'd expect if someone drank a similar amount of sugary soda every day, the study authors noted.

On the other hand, someone who increases consumption of whole fruit by one serving a day can expect to lose about a pound over three years, the researchers found.

A single 6-ounce daily serving of 100-percent fruit every day prompted an average weight gain of about half a pound over three years, said lead researcher Dr. Brandon Auerbach, a doctor at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

"The numbers might not seem like they're that large, but this is in the context of an average American gaining about one pound every year," Auerbach said. "In terms of weight gain, there's a striking difference between fruit juice and whole fruit."

The large load of sugar contained in fruit juice is contributing to the United States' obesity epidemic, the researchers concluded.

A 6-ounce serving of pure fruit juice contains between 15 and 30 grams of sugar, and 60 to 120 calories, the study authors noted.

Whole fruit also contains sugar, but that sugar is stored within the pulp and fiber of the fruit, Auerbach said. Even high-pulp 100-percent orange juice is not a significant source of fiber.

Without that added fiber, the sugar in fruit juice hits your bloodstream much faster, inducing an insulin jolt that alters your metabolism, Auerbach said.

"Fruit juice does have the same vitamins and minerals as whole fruit does, but it has hardly any fiber," he said. "The sugar in fruit juice gets absorbed very quickly, and we think that's why it acts differently in the body."

This new report relied on data from more than 49,000 post-menopausal American women who were part of the Women's Health Initiative, a national health study, between 1993 and 1998.

On average, participants gained a little more than 3 pounds during three years of follow-up, the researchers reported.

After controlling for other factors in weight gain—for example, exercise, total calories consumed a day, education and income—the researchers found that women who frequently drank fruit juice were more likely to .

Sugary fruit juice is a contributing factor to obesity, said Dr. Reshmi Srinath, but "it's hard to pinpoint as a single culprit" responsible for .

"Generally, the association is with the pattern of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle," said Srinath, an assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease with Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City.

"Those who eat more fresh fruit are generally having a healthier or more active lifestyle than those who are drinking juice," Srinath added. She wasn't involved in the study.

Srinath noted that, on average, women in the study drank less than one serving a day of pure fruit juice from the beginning, "which makes it even harder to find a significant difference, and makes it a more challenging study to interpret."

Both Srinath and Auerbach agreed that moms should limit kids' fruit juice, and instead pop a piece of whole in their lunches.

"I would say to limit juice, especially through childhood, because those patterns can continue into adulthood," Srinath said.

The study was published online recently in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Explore further: Fruit juice for kids: A serving a day OK

More information: Brandon Auerbach, M.D., MPH, doctor, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle; Reshmi Srinath, M.D., assistant professor, endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Jan. 9, 2018, Preventive Medicine, online.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice for preventing weight gain.

Related Stories

Fruit juice for kids: A serving a day OK

March 23, 2017
(HealthDay)—Pediatricians have long suggested that fruit juice may prompt weight gain in children, but a new review finds it harmless when consumed in moderation.

No fruit juice before age 1, pediatricians say

May 22, 2017
(HealthDay)—Several new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics may just send toddlers into tantrums.

Nutrient extraction can lower the glycaemic index of fruit juice

October 10, 2017
A new study suggests that consumption of juice obtained via a commercially available nutrient extractor results in blood glucose levels the same or lower than seen with whole fruit. This unexpected finding offers a possible ...

Juice is not equal to fruit

May 26, 2015
Word emerged last week that Health Canada was reconsidering whether it should continue to view a serving of juice (125 ml) as being equivalent to a half cup of fresh/frozen fruit. I think this would be a wonderful development, ...

The whole truth about whole fruits

May 31, 2017
(HealthDay)—Fresh fruits are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and other great nutrients. And studies show that eating fruit whole gives you the most of this food group's potential benefits, like helping to prevent heart ...

Recommended for you

Your heart hates air pollution. Portable filters could help

November 13, 2018
Microscopic particles floating in the air we breathe come from sources such as fossil fuel combustion, fires, cigarettes and vehicles. Known as fine particulate matter, this form of air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular ...

No accounting for these tastes: Artificial flavors a mystery

November 13, 2018
Six artificial flavors are being ordered out of the food supply in a dispute over their safety, but good luck to anyone who wants to know which cookies, candies or drinks they're in.

Simple tips can lead to better food choices

November 13, 2018
A few easily learned tips on eating and food choice can increase amount of healthy food choices between 5 percent and 11 percent, a new Yale University study has found.

Insufficient sleep in children is associated with poor diet, obesity and more screen time

November 13, 2018
A new study conducted among more than 177,000 students suggests that insufficient sleep duration is associated with an unhealthy lifestyle profile among children and adolescents.

New exercise guidelines: Move more, sit less, start younger

November 12, 2018
Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health.

Some activity fine for kids recovering from concussions, docs say

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Children and teens who suffer a sports-related concussion should reduce, but not eliminate, physical and mental activity in the days after their injury, an American Academy of Pediatrics report says.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.