Intake Of Fruit Juice And Body Weight In Children And Adults

Fruit juice is a high-calorie drink. There is concern that fruit juice is one of the factors contributing to the population’s weight gain both among children and adults.

There is a concern that frequent consumption of 100 percent fruit juice may promote weight gain. Current evidence on the relationship between fruit juice consumption and weight gain has yielded mixed findings from both observational and clinical studies. The purpose of the current pooled study and meta-analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics was to summarize the available knowledge about such a possible connection.

The included studies were observational studies with a duration of at least 6 months and randomized studies with a duration of at least 2 weeks. In the randomized studies, 100 percent fruit juice was compared to calorie-free drinks. 

A total of 42 studies were included in the meta-analysis, of which 17 among children with a median age of 8 years, and 25 among adults where the median age was 48 years. In the observational studies in children, each additional serving per day of 100 percent fruit juice was associated with an increase in body mass index of 0.03. Among adults, the increase in body weight was greater according to the observational studies. In the randomized studies (which are considered the gold standard) in adults, the authors found no significant difference in the effect of 100 percent fruit juice versus calorie-free drinks on body weight. 

The authors write in their conclusion that based on available evidence from observational studies, this systematic review and meta-analysis showed that 1 serving per day of 100 percent fruit juice led to body mass gain among children. In adults, the findings were more uncertain, although the observational studies could indicate a similar effect on weight as in children. Further studies examining the relationship between 100 per cent fruit juice and body weight are desirable. The authors nevertheless believe that the findings support advice to limit the consumption of fruit juice to prevent the intake of excess calories and weight gain.

Norwegian experts recommend that you rather eat whole fruit and vegetables than drink a lot of juice. Whole fruit contains dietary fiber and gives a better feeling of satiety than a glass of juice that contains many calories.