100 percent fruit juice, in moderation, not tied to diabetes

One daily 8 oz. serving posed no increased risk for hypertension or diabetes in study of 114,000 adult women

One daily 8 oz. glass of 100 percent fruit juice does not cause high blood pressure or diabetes in adults, according to research from the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The study, published in September in Preventive Medicine, involved nearly 114,000 U.S. women ages 50-79 who had responded to food questionnaires.

picture of Brandon Auerbach
Brandon Auerbach led the study at the UW School of Public Health.

Dr. Brandon Auerbach, a UW Medicine internal medicine specialist, led the study as a graduate student in epidemiology at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health.

"This data suggests that 100 percent fruit juice, especially citrus juice, may be part of a healthy diet if it is consumed in moderation,” Auerbach said. He acknowledged, though, that whole fruit is still a better food choice, since it has more fiber and less sugar.

Study participants were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, a national study designed to address the most frequent causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women. Fred Hutch is the initiative’s coordinating hub.

Questionnaires asked participants about their consumption, specifically of orange and grapefruit juice, and of all other 100 percent fruit juices. Participants indicated how often they drank citrus and non-citrus juice and their usual serving sizes and reported any new treatment for high blood pressure or diabetes every six to 12 months until the study ended.

About 12 percent of participants reported that they did not consume any 100 percent fruit juice. Compared with this group, researchers found no evidence that consumption of 8 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice was associated with high blood pressure or diabetes. Women who consumed one serving a day tended to be older and African-American, and have a normal body mass index, higher educational level, and higher diet-quality scores.

When researchers compared drinking 24 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice to drinking 4 ounces or less, they found an increase in high blood pressure linked to non-citrus fruit juices.

Some experts think that taxes and other dietary policies toward sugary drinks should include 100 percent fruit juices. Results of this study do not support that position, “given stronger associations of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with cardiometabolic diseases,” the researchers wrote.

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