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A new study suggests substituting 100 % fruit juice in the diet in place of beverages containing added sugars may lower health risks for cardiovascular-related disease, including type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Researchers performed a modeling analysis simulating the substitution of 100 % fruit juices for fruit and sugar-sweetened beverages in more than 34,000 Dutch participants ages 20 to 70. The findings, published in Public Health Nutrition, support previous research and hypotheses suggesting that substituting fruit juice for sugar-sweetened beverages would be associated with lower cardiometabolic risk with no change in risk when fruit juice was substituted for fruit.

When more than three-quarters of sugar-sweetened beverages in the diet were replaced with 100 % fruit juice, researchers found the risk for diabetes was lowered by 17 % when compared to the lowest substitution level of less than one-quarter. A similar substitution analysis found the risk for coronary heart disease was reduced by 12 %. Substituting 100 % fruit juice for whole fruit resulted in no change in risks. These calculations were made while considering other factors such as age, sex, educational level, physical activity, smoking, family history of diabetes, healthy diet index, alcohol, coffee, fruit intake, body mass index, and waist circumference.

“100 % fruit juice is frequently equated to sugar-sweetened beverages because of similar sugar content, but this study suggests their effects on diabetes and heart disease risk could be very different,” said Gail Rampersaud, Florida Department of Citrus registered dietitian nutritionist. “Substituting nutrient dense 100 % orange juice for sugar-sweetened beverages may be quite beneficial toward enhancing the intake of key nutrients, meeting daily fruit recommendations, reducing the intake of added sugars as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and reducing the risks for some health conditions.”

Other research supports findings that the consumption of 100 % orange juice or 100 % fruit juice is not related to risk of metabolic syndrome or diabetes and may have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. Eight ounces of 100 % orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin. Oranges and 100 % orange juice are the primary dietary sources of the polyphenol, hesperidin, which may have beneficial effects on blood pressure in some individuals.