1253 GMT March 25, 2018
People who drink a small glass of fruit juice 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, UPI wrote.
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.
Lead researcher Dr. Brandon Auerbach, a doctor at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, said, “A single 170 grams daily serving of fruit juice every day prompted an average weight gain of about half a pound over three years.
"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.
"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 US' obesity epidemic, the researchers concluded.
A 170 grams serving of pure fruit juice contains between 15 and 30 grams of sugar, and 60 to 120 calories, the study authors noted.
Auerbach said, “Whole fruit also contains sugar, but that sugar is stored within the pulp and fiber of the fruit.
“Even high-pulp 100-percent orange juice is not a significant source of fiber.
“Without that, the sugar in fruit juice hits your bloodstream much faster, inducing an insulin jolt that alters your metabolism.
"Fruit juice does have the same vitamins and minerals as whole fruit does, but it has hardly any fiber.
"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 three 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 gain weight.
Dr. Reshmi Srinath, an assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease with Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, said, “Sugary fruit juice is a contributing factor to obesity, but it's hard to pinpoint as a single culprit responsible for weight gain.
"Generally, the association is with the pattern of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.
"Those who eat more fresh fruit are generally having a healthier or more active lifestyle than those who are drinking juice.”
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 fruit in their lunches.
Srinath said, "I would say to limit juice, especially through childhood, because those patterns can continue into adulthood.”
The study was published in the journal Preventive Medicine.