Many people consider drinking natural fruit juice good for health, with many benefits. But, according to the results of a recent study, drinking too much juice can actually shorten life because the sugar content in juice can increase the risk of premature death.
This statement is the result of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Research notes, consuming too many drinks containing sugar, even pure fruit juice, can increase the risk of premature death.
The study says drinking too much fruit juice increases the chances of premature death between nine and 42 percent. According to research, the sugar found in orange juice, although natural sugar, is the same amount as sugar used in drinks with artificial sugar.
“Consumption of sweet drinks, whether soft drinks or fruit juices, must be limited,” said Jean A. Welsh, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta, reported by CNN.
In this latest research, sweet drinks are defined as beverages with artificial sweeteners, such as soda, and juices from natural fruit that are not added to sugar.
“Previous research has shown that high sugar consumption, like those in soft drinks and fruit juices, has a relationship with risk factors for some cardiovascular problems,” Welsh said.
Obesity, diabetes, and an increase in the content of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, are some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease associated with excessive sugar intake.
Welsh explained that there was little research that studied how consumption of sugar, both in soft drinks and fruit juice, had an effect on the risk of death.
Drinking Fruit Juice Too Much Can Shorten Your Age
In this research, Welsh and the team studied data from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study.
The study studied the reasons why many African-Americans died of strokes compared to other races. The study also studies why people in the southeastern US experience more strokes than in other regions of the United States.
Welsh analyzed data from 13,440 adults aged over 45 years. Of that number, 60 percent of them are men and 71 percent of them are obese or overweight.
Research has found that those who consumed 10 percent or more of their daily calorie intake in the form of sugary drinks had a 44 percent higher risk of death from coronary heart disease. This is when compared to those who only consume five percent of their daily calorie intake in the form of sweet drinks.
In addition, the research found that every additional 0.3 liters of daily fruit juice consumption per day was associated with a 24 percent higher risk of death. As for every additional 0.3 liters of sweet drinks per day associated with an 11 percent higher risk of death.
A similar relationship between sweet drinks and deaths from coronary heart disease was not found.
Welsh explained that he was not surprised by this finding. He and the team said there were several biological mechanisms that could explain the increased risk of this death.
According to them, sweet drinks increase insulin resistance. While consumption of fructose can stimulate hormones that cause an increase in body weight, which is one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Criticism of research
Marta Guasch-Ferré, researcher in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, professor of medical science at Harvard Medical School, said that this was the first study to study the relationship between sugary drinks, including natural fruit juices, with early death.
Even so, the two researchers explained that this research still has limitations.
They argue, because very few deaths are related to coronary heart disease, analysis in research is considered weak. In addition, consumption of sweet drinks from each participant is only recorded at the beginning of the research and based on each report. This makes the data in the research considered unreliable.
“So, even though fruit juice may not be as dangerous as artificial sweeteners, its consumption must be maintained in children and adults. Especially those who want to control their weight, “advises Guasch-Ferré and Hu.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consumption of fruit juice for children between one and six years is around 200 milliliters per day. While children aged seven years and above can consume around 230 milliliters per day.
“Further research is needed to study the health risks and potential benefits of fruit juices,” said Guasch-Ferré and Hu.
Meanwhile, Welsh believes that we must include fruit juice and sweet drinks when calculating daily sugar consumption. He still recommends that people drink fruit juice.
“Looking at the vitamins and minerals, small amounts of fruit juice may have beneficial effects that are not present in soda and other sweet drinks,” Welsh added.