New Orleans (April 22, 2009) – If you enjoy a glass of 100% juice as part of your daily routine, chances are you also have fewer risk factors for several chronic diseases when compared to your non juice-drinking peers. New research presented today at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2009 meeting highlights this association among adult men and women, with evidence showing that 100% juice drinkers were leaner, had better insulin sensitivity and had lower risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that increases risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Looking at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004 – an ongoing data collection initiative through the Centers for Disease Control and Promotion – University of Minnesota’s Dr. Mark Pereira and co-author Dr. Victor Fulgoni found that, compared to non-consumers, 100% juice consumers had lower mean Body Mass Index (BMI), smaller waist circumference and lower insulin resistance (as estimated by homeostasis model assessment, HOMA). The researchers noted an inverse association between level of juice intake (oz/day) and these parameters.
Based on the analysis, risk for obesity was 22% lower among 100% juice drinkers, while risk for metabolic syndrome (defined as the presence of three or more of the following: central obesity, elevated blood glucose, elevated fasting triglycerides, low HDL-cholesterol, elevated blood pressure) was 15% lower compared to non-consumers.
“We know that maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to decreased risk of some chronic diseases,” notes Dr. Pereira, who is an associate professor in the University of Minnesota’s Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. “One cup of 100% fruit juice counts as a serving of fruit and, based on our analysis, 100% juice consumption is associated with some of these same benefits.”
According to the researchers, intake of 100% juice was generally associated with other healthful behaviors. Among more than 14,000 participants in the survey – a multiethnic sample of U.S. adults ages 19 and older – juice consumers had higher physical activity levels and more favorable dietary intake patterns (including: lower fat intakes, higher fiber intakes, lower added sugar intakes). After taking these lifestyle factors into account, the inverse relationship between 100% fruit juice consumption and metabolic syndrome was no longer statistically significant. However, risk for obesity remained 14% lower among juice consumers even after the adjustment.
Few studies have looked at the role of foods that naturally contain sugar, like 100% juice, in relation to obesity and related metabolic outcomes. Many previously published analyses have failed to separate 100% fruit juice from those juices with less than 100% juice and those containing added sugar. Recent studies in children and adolescents that have isolated 100% juice intake, report a similar positive association between juice consumption and an overall healthier diet, and no significant differences in weight status among young juice drinkers and non-drinkers.