A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association explored the health impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas, fruit punch, fruit juice concentrates, powdered drink mixes, and energy drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the U.S. diet, and substantial efforts have been made to introduce policies and programs that limit sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among children and adults.
Health Impacts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can have detrimental health effects. Sugary drinks can increase weight gain, adding to the growing epidemic of obesity in our country. Sugary drinks also increase the risk for Type 2 diabetes, cardiac problems (such as heart attacks), tooth decay, and fatty liver disease. With increasing awareness and knowledge for health and wellness in the U.S., it makes sense that we are trying to limit our consumption of sweet and sugary drinks.
The study looked at over 13,000 participants and tracked their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages as well as fruit juices, through participant-completed surveys, over a number of years. The researchers looked to find the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices on all-cause mortality and coronary heart disease mortality. The findings revealed that each additional 12-oz serving of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. For fruit juices, the findings were similar.
The Fine Print
When looking at the statistical analyses completed by the researchers, all of the differences in mortality found between high consumption of fruit juices and low consumption of fruit juices include a null finding. What does this mean exactly? The results including the null finding indicate that the authors cannot state with 95% confidence that higher consumption of fruit juices leads to increased mortality. In fact, this means that there could be no difference in mortality at all between those who do and do not drink fruit juices.
Additionally, two researchers from Harvard left a commentary on the article in JAMA, where they discuss other research that highlights the benefits of 100% fruit juices. These benefits include:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke, and cognitive decline with moderate consumption of fruit juice (found from two studies)
- Substantially lower odds of poor cognitive functioning in older men
While they do state further research is necessary to examine the health benefits and potential risks of fruit juices, the authors make a point to state that when looking for fruit juices or smoothies, be sure to choose those made with whole fruits. "Unless made with blended whole fruit, [other fruit drinks] are lower than whole fruits in dietary fiber and can contribute extra calories and sugars when consumed in excess."
What can you do?
Be wise when you read headlines about this study - some may try to sway the results and state that fruit juices are just as bad for you as sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks. Is that true? Absolutely not! Fruit juices are sources of vitamins and nutrients and natural sugars and are an excellent way to make sure that you are getting a variety of fruits in your diet.
The Living Juice Difference
Living Juices, made by O2 Living makers of Living Health and Wellness, are 100% organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. We guarantee that we have and never will add any sugars or sweeteners to our juices. With 100% cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juice, you can rest assured that you are giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs.
Living Juice provides a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in its juices, giving you access to fruits and veggies that may not be a part of your everyday diet. O2 Living promotes a healthy, balanced and plant-based diet. We know that our cold-pressed, organic fruit and vegetable juices can be a healthy addition to your day, especially when you are on the go and can't get all of your fruits and veggies!