While the benefits of consuming fruit are widely extolled, many also warn that consumption of sugar-filled fruit juices could be bad news.
Writing in the journal Appetite, a team of Australian researchers examined the association between fruit juice consumption and blood pressure – finding that frequent fruit juice consumption was associated with higher aortic blood pressures.
“Despite a common perception that fruit juice is healthy, fruit juice contains high amounts of naturally occurring sugar without the fibre content of the whole fruit,” said the team – led by Matthew Pase from Swinburne University of Technology. “Frequent fruit juice consumption may therefore contribute to excessive sugar consumption typical of the Western society.”
Indeed, Pase and his team noted that although excess sugar intake is associated with high blood pressure (BP), any association between habitual fruit juice consumption and BP has until now remained unexplored.
“The current investigation showed that the daily versus rare or occasional consumption of fruit juice was associated with higher central BP, central pressure augmentation and PPA,” revealed the researchers.
Pase and his team investigated the association of fruit juice consumption with brachial and central (aortic) blood pressure in 160 community dwelling adults.
Habitual fruit juice consumption was measured using a 12 month dietary recall questionnaire. Frequency of fruit juice consumption was classified as rare, occasional or daily. On the same day, brachial BP was measured and central (aortic) BP was estimated.
The team found that those who consumed fruit juice daily, versus rarely or occasionally, had significantly higher central systolic blood pressure, central pulse pressure, central augmentation pressure and central augmentation index as well as lower pulse pressure amplification. However, there were no differences in brachial BP, said the researchers.
“The present findings suggest that the daily use of fruit juice may increase central BPs, which are known to be associated with cardiovascular disease risk, silent cerebrovascular injury and cognitive impairment,” said the team.
“These findings are important because there is a common perception that fruit juice is healthy.”
Pase and his colleagues conceded that the two main limitations to the study, are the small sample size and the observational nature of the study design, “which precludes us from drawing a causal link between increased fruit juice consumption and the development of high BP.”
“Given that high central BPs are associated with an increased risk of CVD and target organ damage, larger epidemiological studies and ultimately randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the present findings,” they said.
Volume 84, 1 January 2015, Pages 68–72, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.09.019
“Habitual intake of fruit juice predicts central blood pressure”
Authors: Matthew P. Pase, Natalie Grima, Robyn Cockerell, Andrew Pipingas