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Comparisons to Soda Reveal Unexpected Consequences of Drinking Fruit Juice


(Inverse) – For anyone who thinks substituting a tall glass of Coke with a fresh-squeezed orange juice at the diner is a healthy choice, scientists have bad news for you. When it comes to long-term health, there may not be much of a difference between the two. Research published Friday in JAMA Network Open suggests that the sugar content in both soda and juice can contribute to shortened lifespans.

The paper shows evidence that drinking sugary beverages — soda, juice, or otherwise — is associated with an increased risk of death, or “all-cause mortality.” The researchers from Emory University, the University of Alabama, and Cornell University concluded that every additional 12-ounce sugary beverage people drank on a daily basis increased their risk of all-cause mortality by 11 percent.

The risk was more than double for juice: Every 12-ounce daily serving of 100 percent fruit juice increased the risk of all-cause mortality by 24 percent.

These results, drawn from data from 13,440 adults (average age 45 years old) gathered as part of the US-wide REGARDS project, fuel the argument that public health efforts should focus especially hard on reducing the consumption of sugary beverages — including fruit juices, which do not seem to be a healthy alternative.

“Importantly, while an increasing number of program and policy initiatives have focused on reducing the consumption of [sugar-sweetened beverages], our results suggest that these efforts should be extended to include fruit juices,” the team writes.

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