You may pride yourself on reaching for a healthful glass of 100% fruit juice instead of sugary sodas. After all, fruit juice comes from nutrient-packed fruits and should be dripping in vitamins and minerals. However, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that drinking fruit juice increases your risk of death. In fact, this study found that each 12-ounce daily serving of fruit juice increases the risk of death by 24%. There are several reasons that these seemingly healthy beverages can have negative effects on your health. Read on for eight of them.
8. Excess Sugar
Yes, fruit is healthy. It contains many of the vitamins and minerals that promote good health. However, whole fruits also supply the fiber and roughage important for proper digestion. Fruit juices contain all the sugar of whole fruits without the fiber. Furthermore, while eating one orange provides 9 grams of sugar, a 12-ounce glass of orange juice yields 33 grams of sugar. Fruit juice contains natural sugars like fructose. However, as far as your body is concerned, sugar is sugar. Excess amounts of any type of sugar will have negative effects on your health.
7. Weight Gain
Consuming excess amounts of sugar is bound to show up on your waistline. Your body stores excesses of glucose and sucrose from foods like fruit juice as glycogen in your muscles or as fat. This means that if you consume more sugary juice than your body can burn as fuel, it will store those sugars as fat cells. Furthermore, you are more likely to overeat if you consume your calories through fruit juice rather than through whole fruit. The fiber in whole fruits helps you feel full and prevents you from overeating.
6. Type 2 Diabetes
Drinking sugary drinks such as soda or fruit juices has been linked to type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association notes that sugar is not the cause of diabetes. However, consuming excess sugar contributes to the weight gain that may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in susceptible individuals. Type 2 diabetes carries the risk of many serious complications. These include eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. They also include nerve disorders, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
5. Fatty Liver
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the fructose in fruit juices can also cause fatty deposits to build up in your liver. This condition, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, can lead to inflammation, hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. The effects of excess sugar in the liver can also lead to dangerous increases in cholesterol, blood pressure, and visceral fat. Some studies suggest that fatty liver disease increases the risk of death not only from liver disease but from heart disease as well.Related: Fatty Liver Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & Home Remedies
4. Heart Disease
The excess amounts of sugar found in fruit juices can contribute to obesity, which in turn increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends swapping sugar-laden soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices with plain water or beverages you make at home. Instead of consuming a glass of sugary fruit juice, try adding just a splash of juice or a slice of fruit to a glass of plain water. Blend up an energizing fruit smoothie with frozen fruit, veggies, and the milk of your choice for refreshing flavor with fiber and nutrients.
3. Tooth Decay
Sugary juices can also contribute to cavities and tooth decay. Citrus juices have the added issue of bathing your teeth in acids, which can erode your tooth enamel. Furthermore, some studies suggest that tooth decay and gum disease can introduce bacteria to your bloodstream and increase your risk of heart disease. While drinking apple juice washes your teeth in sugar, consuming a whole apple is good for your teeth. The process of eating an apple helps produce saliva, which rinses away bacteria. The crunchy fibers of the apple flesh also stimulate your gums and scrub your teeth free of debris.
2. Increased Risk of Gout
Gout is a form of arthritis in which uric acid crystallizes in the joints, causing pain and inflammation. Risk factors for gout include a family history of the condition, certain medications, and obesity. Foods high in purines, such as meat or shellfish, can trigger a gout attack. In addition, the Arthritis Foundation lists the fructose found in sugary beverages as a culprit in increasing the risk of gout. The uric acid crystals associated with gout can also build up in your kidneys, increasing the risk of kidney stones and kidney disease.
1. Less Room for Nutritious Foods
Consuming fruit juice can also deprive your body of necessary nutrients by preventing you from enjoying other nutritious foods. When your tummy is full of juice, you may not reach for the lean meats, leafy greens, and whole grains that provide your body with the protein, nutrients, and fiber you need. This can leave you lacking in the nutrition you need for a clear mind, strong muscles, and healthy bones. Instead of drinking your calories, grab a fresh piece of whole fruit to enjoy as part of a well-balanced diet.Related: Top 9 Fruits That Help Lower Uric Acid