Once a week.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Fruit juice can be twice as harmful as soda
No one should be drinking more than 8oz. a day. Here's why.
- A new study finds that the risk of all-cause mortality from over-consumption of fruit juice is significant.
- Other sugared beverages are still bad for you, but too much fruit juice is actually worse.
- Fructose, "real" or "natural," is still fructose and problematic.
While fruit juice largely retains its reputation as a healthy thing for kids to drink, it's not exactly news that it can contain just as much sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) like soda. Savvy parents and caregivers know it should be dispensed only in moderation. Along with all that sugar, of course, come beneficial vitamins, and previous research has linked the antioxidants and flavonoids in orange juice, in particular, to preventing cancer. (Not everyone agrees that the value of antioxidants has been proven.) In addition, brains of all ages consume the lion's share of a body's available sugar for energy.
Now, however, a study published in Jama Network Open from Emory University, the University of Alabama, and Cornell University, finds that the consumption of fruit juice more than doubles the risk of "all-around mortality" over SSBs.
Comparing oranges to orangesGiphy
The study was concerned with the effect of fruit-juice consumption on "all-around mortality." Earlier studies have examined the possible link between juice consumption and risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) such as dyslipidemia, diabetes, and obesity. So the current study's intent was to see whether or not juice consumption similarly increased the chance of mortality in general.
The data analyzed in the study was drawn from the nationwide REGARDS (REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke) study and involved 13,440 adults with a mean age of 63.6. The cohort was 59.3 percent male/40.7 percent female, and 68.9 percent were non-Hispanic white. Seventy percent were technically overweight or obese.
REGARDS researchers re-interviewed subjects every 6 months until 2013, and mortality events were reported by family members and derived from private as well as public medical records. There were ultimately 1,000 all-cause deaths among participants, as well as 168 CHD-related deaths.
Subjects self-reported their previous year's consumption of SSBs — such as sodas, soft drinks, or fruit-flavored drinks — and naturally sweet 100 percent fruit juices. The possible responses ranged from "never" to "every day." They were also asked to report everything else they ate as a number of units or as portion sizes. The researchers then calculated the percentage of each participant's total energy (TE) consumption and the percentage of that was derived from SSBs or fruit juice. Official U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and those from the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association allowed the study's authors to classify these percentages as low (<5 percent), medium (5 – <10 percent), and high (≥10 percent).
Not so sweet
Image source: Collin, et al
On average, participants got 8.4 percent of their energy from SSBs and juice — that's just below the high-consumption threshold. After making adjustments for other cardiovascular risk factors, those who ingested above 10 percent of their energy from SSBs and fruit drinks had a 44 percent greater risk of CHD mortality and 14 percent of all-cause mortality. Looking at fruit juice alone, though, left researchers with their conclusion that each additional 12 ounces above 10 percent of your TE raises your overall risk of dying by a whopping 24 percent. By comparison, SSBs increase it by 11 percent.
Image source: molekuul_be / Shutterstock
The main issue seems to be the digestion of fructose when too much juice is consumed. The researchers suggest, "The metabolism of fructose, which is unique from all other sugars, occurs unregulated and almost exclusively in the liver. Fructose consumption is known to alter blood lipid levels, markers of inflammation and blood pressure, while high glucose consumption has been associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, independent of weight status." In a commentary accompanying the study, experts from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health note that "Although the sugar in 100 percent fruit juices is naturally occurring rather than added, once metabolized, the biological response is essentially the same."
What to do about this information
Image source: Roxana Bashyrova/Shutterstock
Other research has shown that a moderate level of juice consumption may lower one's risk of CHD problems. At the same time, the high level of sugar in juice will continue to pose a threat as a potential trigger for weight gain, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other serious health issues.
The guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that juice intake be limited to:
- 4 to 6 ounces a day for children aged 1–6
- 8 ounces a day for children over 7, adolescents, and adults
In addition, the Academy recommends consuming only 100 percent fruit juice, without added sugar, in both standard beverages smoothies.
A man's skeleton, found facedown with his hands bound, was unearthed near an ancient ceremonial circle during a high speed rail excavation project.
- A skeleton representing a man who was tossed face down into a ditch nearly 2,500 years ago with his hands bound in front of his hips was dug up during an excavation outside of London.
- The discovery was made during a high speed rail project that has been a bonanza for archaeology, as the area is home to more than 60 ancient sites along the planned route.
- An ornate grave of a high status individual from the Roman period and an ancient ceremonial circle were also discovered during the excavations.
Foul play?<p>A skeleton representing a man who was tossed face down into a ditch nearly 2,500 years ago with his hands bound in front of his hips was dug up during a high speed rail excavation.</p><p>The positioning of the remains have led archaeologists to suspect that the man may have been a victim of an ancient murder or execution. Though any bindings have since decomposed, his hands were positioned together and pinned under his pelvis. There was also no sign of a grave or coffin. </p><p>"He seems to have had his hands tied, and he was face-down in the bottom of the ditch," <a href="https://www.livescience.com/iron-age-murder-victim-england.html" target="_blank">said archaeologist Rachel Wood</a>, who led the excavation. "There are not many ways that you end up that way."</p><p>Currently, archaeologists are examining the skeleton to uncover more information about the circumstances of the man's death. Fragments of pottery found in the ditch may offer some clues as to exactly when the man died. </p><p>"If he was struck across the head with a heavy object, you could find a mark of that on the back of the skull," Wood said to <a href="https://www.livescience.com/iron-age-murder-victim-england.html" target="_blank">Live Science</a>. "If he was stabbed, you could find blade marks on the ribs. So we're hoping to find something like that, to tell us how he died."</p>
Other discoveries at Wellwick Farm<p>The grim discovery was made at Wellwick Farm near Wendover. That is about 15 miles north-west of the outskirts of London, where <a href="https://www.hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/hs2-green-corridor/" target="_blank">a tunnel</a> is going to be built as part of a HS2 high-speed rail project due to open between London and several northern cities sometime after 2028. The infrastructure project has been something of a bonanza for archaeology as the area is home to more than 60 ancient sites along the planned route that are now being excavated before construction begins. </p><p>The farm sits less than a mile away from the ancient highway <a href="http://web.stanford.edu/group/texttechnologies/cgi-bin/stanfordnottingham/places/?icknield" target="_blank">Icknield Way</a> that runs along the tops of the Chiltern Hills. The route (now mostly trails) has been used since prehistoric times. Evidence at Wellwick Farm indicates that from the Neolithic to the Medieval eras, humans have occupied the region for more than 4,000 years, making it a rich area for archaeological finds. </p><p>Wood and her colleagues found some evidence of an ancient village occupied from the late Bronze Age (more than 3,000 years ago) until the Roman Empire's invasion of southern England about 2,000 years ago. At the site were the remains of animal pens, pits for disposing food, and a roundhouse — a standard British dwelling during the Bronze Age constructed with a circular plan made of stone or wood topped with a conical thatched roof.</p>
Ceremonial burial site<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzMTk0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDgwNTIyMX0.I49n1-j8WVhKjIZS_wVWZissnk3W1583yYXB7qaGtN8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C82%2C0%2C83&height=700" id="44da7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="46cfc8ca1c64fc404b32014542221275" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="top down view of coffin" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
A high status burial in a lead-lined coffin dating back to Roman times.
Photo Credit: HS2<p>While these ancient people moved away from Wellwick Farm before the Romans invaded, a large portion of the area was still used for ritual burials for high-status members of society, Wood told Live Science. The ceremonial burial site included a circular ditch (about 60 feet across) at the center, and was a bit of a distance away from the ditch where the (suspected) murder victim was uncovered. Additionally, archaeologists found an ornately detailed grave near the sacred burial site that dates back to the Roman period, hundreds of years later when the original Bronze Age burial site would have been overgrown.</p><p>The newer grave from the Roman period encapsulated an adult skeleton contained in a lead-lined coffin. It's likely that the outer coffin had been made of wood that rotted away. Since it was clearly an ornate burial, the occupant of the grave was probably a person of high status who could afford such a lavish burial. However, according to Wood, no treasures or tokens had been discovered. </p>
Sacred timber circle<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUzMTk0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDAwOTQ4Mn0.eVJAUcD0uBUkVMFuMOPSgH8EssGkfLf_MjwUv0zGCI8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C149%2C0%2C149&height=700" id="9de6a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ee66520d470b26f5c055eaef0b95ec06" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="An aerial view of the sacred circular monument." data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
An aerial view of the sacred circular monument.
Photo Credit: HS2<p>One of the most compelling archaeological discoveries at Wellwick Farm are the indications of a huge ceremonial circle once circumscribed by timber posts lying south of the Bronze Age burial site. Though the wooden posts have rotted away, signs of the post holes remain. It's thought to date from the Neolithic period to 5,000 years ago, according to Wood.</p><p>This circle would have had a diameter stretching 210 feet across and consisted of two rings of hundreds of posts. There would have been an entry gap to the south-west. Five posts in the very center of the circle aligned with that same gap, which, according to Wood, appeared to have been in the direction of the rising sun on the day of the midwinter solstice. </p><p>Similar Neolithic timber circles have been discovered around Great Britain, such as one near <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/stonehenge-sarsens" target="_blank">Stonehenge</a> that is considered to date back to around the same time. </p>
Research reveals a new evolutionary feature that separates humans from other primates.
- Researchers find a new feature of human evolution.
- Humans have evolved to use less water per day than other primates.
- The nose is one of the factors that allows humans to be water efficient.
A model of water turnover for humans and chimpanzees who have similar fat free mass and body water pools.
Credit: Current Biology
Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.
- It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time.
- Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth.
- As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology.