A recent analysis of 42 previous studies, published in JAMA Pediatrics on Tuesday, has revealed a correlation between the daily intake of 100% fruit juice and weight gain in both children and adults.
The study, which defines 100% fruit juice as devoid of added sugars, specifically examined the relationship between this beverage and Body Mass Index (BMI), factoring in both weight and height.
The research found a positive association between the consumption of 100% fruit juice and BMI in children and adults. Although the increases were modest, such as a 0.03 higher BMI with each additional serving of 100% fruit juice for children, variations were observed based on age. Younger children, specifically those under 11 years old, exhibited a greater BMI gain for each additional 8-ounce serving of 100% fruit juice compared to their older counterparts.
The study does not advocate for completely avoiding fruit juice but rather emphasizes the importance of mindful consumption. The authors align their findings with public health recommendations to limit the intake of 100% fruit juice to prevent overweight and obesity.
The authors suggest that the link between 100% fruit juice and weight gain may be attributed to the consumption of “liquid calories,” known to contribute more significantly to weight gain compared to solid calories. Additionally, they point out that juice lacks the fiber present in whole fruits, leading to lower satiety and potentially increased overall calorie consumption.
The study echoes guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommending that children under 6 consume less than a glass of fruit juice per day. For those younger than 1, both the AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise avoiding juice entirely. Recommendations for other age groups range from limiting daily juice intake to 4-8 ounces.