Fruit Juice

The Hidden Culprit Behind Your Weight Gain

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, Weight Loss

As we get older, many of us slowly pack on weight. You may figure it’s just an inevitable part of aging.

But a major new study has discovered a culprit that has nothing to do with getting older.

Researchers at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle followed the eating and drinking of habits of more than 49,000 post-menopausal women for five years. And they tracked their weights.1

After controlling for exercise, total calories consumed, and other variables, the scientists found that one dietary factor led to weight gain more than all others…

Drinking fruit juice.

Subjects who had a single 6-ounce daily serving of 100% fruit juice were more likely to put on weight as they got older. But participants who ate whole fruit instead of drinking juice were more likely to lose weight.

‘100% Fruit Juice Is Not Your Friend’

Dr. Brandon Auerbach is a primary care doctor at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. He led the study. “For adults trying to lose weight, 100% fruit juice is not your friend,” he said.

Why is fruit juice so fattening compared to eating fruit? Dr. Auerbach says it’s because of the lack of fiber.

“In terms of weight gain, there’s a striking difference between fruit juice and whole fruit,” he said. “Fruit juice does have the same vitamins and minerals as whole fruit does. But it has hardly any fiber. The sugar in fruit juice gets absorbed very quickly, and we think that’s why it acts differently in the body.”

The study was recently published in the journal Preventive Medicine. It points out that “one 6-ounce serving of 100% fruit juice contains 15-30 grams of sugar.” That’s about 4-8 teaspoons.2

You’d probably never spoon 4 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth at breakfast. But that’s essentially what you’re doing when you drink a glass of orange juice.3

Healthy Fruit Juice Alternatives

We’ve warned you before about the sugar content of juice drinks. Many people think they are doing their health a favor by switching from soda to juice.

But a British study last year found that many juice drinks have even more sugar than soda. The researchers tested 203 fruit drinks. More than half had as much sugar in a 7-ounce serving as a 12-ounce can of soda.

Here are healthier alternatives to fruit juices:

Eat fruit, not the juice. That way you get the benefits of fiber. Fiber has been shown to fight weight gain.4

Drink vegetable juice. Vegetable juices are rich in vitamins and antioxidants but are lower in sugar.

Drink lemon water. Simply squeeze lemon juice into a glass of water. It’s refreshing and has zero calories or sugar. A German study found that drinking lemon water first thing in the morning increases metabolic rates. This leads to greater calorie burning.5 6

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