Posted by: 4pack | November 9, 2009

Obesity In America: 100% Fruit Juices Are “Fructose” Sugar Water Drinks That Promote Weight Gain Just Like Sugar-Sweetened Sodas

Fruit Juices

And just like soft drinks, juice is rich in fructose -- the simple sugar that does the most to make food sweet.


The inconvenient truth, many experts say, is that 100% fruit juice poses the same obesity-related health risks as Coke, Pepsi and other widely vilified beverages.

With so much focus on the outsized role that sugary drinks play in the country’s collective weight gain — and the accompanying rise in conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer — it’s time juice lost its wholesome image, these experts say.

“It’s pretty much the same as sugar water,” said Dr. Charles Billington, an appetite researcher at the University of Minnesota. In the modern diet, “there’s no need for any juice at all.”

A glass of juice concentrates all the sugar from several pieces of fruit. Ounce per ounce, it contains more calories than soda, though it tends to be consumed in smaller servings. A cup of orange juice has 112 calories, apple juice has 114, and grape juice packs 152, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The same amount of Coke has 97 calories, and Pepsi has 100.

And just like soft drinks, juice is rich in fructose — the simple sugar that does the most to make food sweet.

UC Davis scientist Kimber Stanhope has found that consuming high levels of fructose increases risk factors for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes because it is converted into fat by the liver more readily than glucose. Her studies suggest that it doesn’t matter whether the fructose is from soda or juice.

“Both are going to promote equal weight gain,” she said, adding that she’s perplexed by the fixation on the evils of sugar-sweetened beverages: “Why are they the only culprit?”,0,1821402.story?track=rss



  1. In response to your article comparing 100% juices to sugar-sweetened sodas, we wanted to share our response to Karen Kaplan of The Los Angeles Times since we believe that Kaplan’s article included inaccurate information about one hundred percent orange juice .

    Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

    Dear Ms. Kaplan,

    On behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus, I am writing in response to your recent article in the Los Angeles Times titled, “It’s time fruit juice loses its wholesome image, some experts say.” Please allow us to share further information.

    We respectfully disagree with Dr. Charles Billington that one hundred percent orange juice is “pretty much the same as sugar water” as quoted in your article. Orange juice is a natural source of essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients needed for a lifetime of good health. In fact, one 8-ounce glass counts as almost 25 percent of your USDA-recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. A recent analysis of NHANES data1 reports that 60% of adult men and 53% of adult women had dietary vitamin C intakes less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) established by the Institute of Medicine2 and over 22% of adults had plasma vitamin C concentrations that put them at moderate risk of developing vitamin C deficiency. An 8-ounce serving of orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and provides at least 100% of the Daily Value for this important antioxidant. Additionally, an 8-ounce serving of 100% orange juice is a good source of thiamin, potassium and folate, and delivers other important nutrients such as vitamin B6 and magnesium.

    Citrus juices are nutrient dense and provide a high amount of nutrients relative to their calorie content. A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that 100 percent orange juice was more nutrient-dense than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pineapple and prune.3

    As mentioned in your article, a comprehensive review of studies regarding 100% fruit juice intake and increased weight in children and adolescents reported that the preponderance of evidence does not support such an association.4 In fact, this review suggests that consuming 100% fruit juice in moderate amounts “may be an important strategy to help children meet the current recommendations for fruit.” A recent analysis of NHANES 1999-2002 data reported that 50% of children age 2-5, 74% of children age 6-11, and 81% of adolescents age 12-18 are not meeting MyPyramid fruit intake recommendations based on a single day’s dietary intake.5 An evaluation of the same NHANES data reported that 100% fruit juice intake was associated with higher daily intakes of whole fruit in children age 2-11 years.6 We strongly support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 100% juice intake guidelines for moderate intakes of juice
    (i.e., 4-6 ounces per day for children age 1-6 years and 8-12 ounces per day for older children7) as we believe these can help children get the nutrients they need and help meet fruit intake recommendations.

    Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss in more detail. I can also put you in touch with Gail Rampersaud, MS, RD, LDN, at the University of Florida Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. Gail was the lead researcher on the aforementioned nutrient density study and can provide additional information regarding children’s health and nutrition issues.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Karen Bennett Mathis, APR
    Director of Public Relations


    1. Schleicher RL, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. EPub ahead of print August 12, 2009.
    2. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin C. In: DRI Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000:95-185.
    3. Rampersaud GC. J Food Sci. 2007;72:S261-S266.
    4. O’Neil CE, Nicklas TA. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2008;2:315-354.
    5. Lorson BA, et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:474-478.
    6. Nicklas TA, et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162:557-565 .
    7. American Academy of Pediatrics: Committee on Nutrition. Pediatrics. 2001;107:1210-1213.

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