"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Weight gain in children related to drinking fruit juice: study

Jan. 17, 2024 — Limiting the quantity of pure fruit juice children drink might be one strategy to combat childhood obesity, especially young children, recent research shows.

The study was published this week within the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The findings are essential because previous research has shown that children who were obese or obese in childhood are more likely to remain so in maturity. The authors of this latest study really useful “limiting fruit juice consumption to prevent excessive calorie intake and weight gain.”

Led by researchers on the University of Toronto in Canada, the team examined data from 42 previous research studies and searched for links between drinking 100% fruit juice and weight gain in adults and youngsters. They also found evidence that drinking 100% fruit juice is linked to weight gain in adults, but said more research is required on this area. Researchers found clear patterns between children's juice intake and weight gain.

The 100% fruit juice within the study was defined as having no added sugar and one serving was 8 ounces.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 46,000 children ages 1 to fifteen. They found that every additional serving of 100% fruit juice was related to a rise in body mass index, a measure of height and weight that might be used to find out whether someone is obese or obese. Compared to whole fruit, juice comprises little or no fiber, and drinking it may well leave you feeling unsatisfied despite the fact that you're consuming numerous calories, the authors say.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving fruit juice to infants under one 12 months of age and limiting it to 4 ounces per day as a part of a meal for infants and young children. Children between 1 and 6 years old should drink not more than 6 ounces per day, the group recommends.

“Fruit juice offers no nutritional advantages over whole fruit,” the academy explains in its article Parent website. “Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients. Children should not be given fruit juice before bedtime. Additionally, juice should not be given to children to treat dehydration or to treat diarrhea.”

Health officials and researchers have raised alarms about childhood obese and obesity in recent times, with one in five U.S. children ages 2 to 19 years old being medically obese. Obesity puts children liable to serious obesity-related health problems corresponding to hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea and joint problems CDC warns.

Children on this latest study gained more weight than children who drank calorie-free drinks corresponding to water or who had juice intentionally added to their day by day intake, and in comparison with children on a daily eating regimen. The best increase in BMI in children who drank fruit juice was seen in children aged 8 years and younger, in comparison with children of the identical age who drank other calorie-free drinks.

The juices the youngsters drank included pomegranate, berry, tart cherry, apple, citrus and grape juices. The researchers found no differences within the impact on BMI based on the variety of juice consumed. They said a possible explanation for weight gain from drinking 100% fruit juice is “the consumption of liquid calories, which has been shown to cause greater weight gain compared to the consumption of solid calories.” Compared to whole fruit, 100% fruit juice comprises less fiber, which results in faster absorption of fructose within the liver.” They explained that this rapid absorption of naturally occurring sugars from fruits can affect liver function and in addition affect levels of cholesterol within the body.

“Our results support public health guidelines to limit pure fruit juice consumption to prevent overweight and obesity,” the study authors concluded.