A study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined the diets of over 36,000 adults in the Netherlands and reports that the intake of pure fruit juice, such as 100% orange juice, was not associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Consumption of any amount of fruit juice, including the highest intake category of eight or more glasses per week, was not associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the study. When the researchers isolated citrus juice intake (orange and grapefruit juice combined), the results were consistent – intake of citrus juices was not associated with an increased risk for diabetes.
This study reinforces the case that fruit juices are not the same as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), particularly with respect to metabolic effects and risk for diabetes. One hundred percent fruit juices have lower glycemic index compared to SSBs and contain beneficial nutrients not found in SSBs, including vitamins, minerals, and bioactive/polyphenolic compounds.
An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin, and supplies hesperidin, a polyphenol that has been shown to have health benefits. Orange juice also counts as a fruit serving to help meet fruit intake recommendations.
The study used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands cohort, which began collecting diet and health data in 1993 through 1997 from adults age 20 through 70. The study examined dietary records completed at baseline and categorized fruit juice intake into several intake categories ranging from none to eight or more glasses per week (one glass was considered to be approximately 5 ounces). The study identified 1,477 verified cases of type 2 diabetes over an average 14-year follow up period.
The advantage of this study is that it examined data from a large number of individuals who were followed for a long period of time. However, as a prospective cohort study, data are self-reported, and it cannot show cause and effect. While the analysis took into account important factors that could affect results, such as age, sex, education level, physical activity level, body mass index and overall diet quality, prospective cohort studies are not able to consider each and every factor that could potentially affect results.
Pure Fruit Juice and Fruit Consumption Are Not Associated with Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes after Adjustment for Overall Dietary Quality in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Netherlands (EPIC-NL) Study
Floor R Scheffers, Alet H Wijga, WM Monique Verschuren, Yvonne T van der Schouw, Ivonne Sluijs, Henriëtte A Smit, and Jolanda MA Boer.
Journal of Nutrition. 2020 Jan 14. pii: nxz340. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz340. [Epub ahead of print]