Children who drink 100% orange juice are not at increased risk for cardiovascular impacts later in life

BARTOW – New research examining the cardiovascular health of adults who consumed 100% orange juice as children indicates no increased risk for high blood pressure or elevated blood lipid levels as a result, building on the scientific evidence supporting 100% orange juice as part of a healthy diet.

The research, published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition,1 specifically looked at 100% orange juice consumption during late childhood and early adolescence and its association with risk for high blood pressure or elevated blood lipids later in adulthood. These findings help support other studies that report no negative impacts of 100% orange juice on predictors of cardiovascular disease.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, Jeju National University in South Korea, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School. They assessed dietary data collected from over 9,000 children and adolescents ages 9 to 16 and examined the incidence of high blood pressure and high blood lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, an average of 17 years later when participants were young adults. The study focused on the potential impacts of the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, diet soda, and 100% fruit juice, including 100% orange juice, on these two key heart health risk factors.

100% orange juice was not associated with increased risk for either high blood pressure or high blood lipids in early adulthood. In males, the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages such as regular sodas and punches was associated with a 16% increased risk for having high blood pressure. The analysis considered other factors that could have affected results, such as age, physical activity level, and the intake of other foods and beverages to better isolate the independent effects of the beverages of interest.

In this study, children and adolescents consumed, on average, less than half a serving per day of 100% orange juice, which falls below the fruit juice guideline/limits established by the American Academy of Pediatrics2 of 8 oz. daily for children over 7 years old. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans count 100% fruit juice toward total fruit intake and recommend that primary beverages either be calorie-free – especially water – or contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice.3

“The consumption of 100% fruit juice by children and adolescents is often a controversial topic when it really shouldn’t be,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “This study found no association between adolescents’ intake of 100% orange juice and increased risk of high blood pressure or elevated blood lipids later in adulthood. Moderate consumption of 100% orange juice can be a beneficial addition to the diet to help meet fruit and nutrient intake recommendations.”

An 8-oz. serving of 100% orange juice delivers vital vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, hesperidin, and more, with no added sugar. From helping improve diet quality to providing key nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system, 100% orange juice offers a number of health benefits, including heart health.

About the Florida Department of Citrus 

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, visit FloridaCitrus.org/newsroom.