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Brandon J. Auerbach, MD, MPH
Brandon J. Auerbach, MD, MPH

SEATTLE – (Feb. 8, 2018) – A new study that analyzed data from more than 49,000 women concludes that drinking 100 percent fruit juice leads to weight gain, while consumption of fresh whole fruit results in weight loss.

The study, led by Brandon Auerbach, MD, MPH, an internal medicine and primary care physician at Virginia Mason Medical Center, was recently published in the journal, Preventive Medicine.

“American adults gain an average of one pound per year, and it is a public health priority to determine which foods and beverages contribute the most to this gradual weight gain,” the report states.

Specifically, this study analyzed data from 49,106 women in the United States enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative between 1993 and 1998. Food frequency questionnaires assessed food and beverage consumption, while their body weight was measured during in-person clinic visits.

The study found that an increase of one six-ounce serving of 100 percent fruit juice per day was associated with a modest amount of long-term weight gain. The average weight gain of 0.4 pounds (6.4 ounces) per person over three years was similar to two earlier published studies on this topic. This amount of weight gain was also similar to weight gain associated with increasing regular soda consumption (0.6 pounds or 9.6 ounces). On the other hand, increasing consumption of whole fruit by one serving per day resulted in the loss of 0.9 pounds (14.4 ounces) over three years.

“It is biologically plausible that drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with long-term weight gain,” the study concluded. “One six-ounce serving of 100 percent fruit juice contains 15-30 grams of sugar, 60-120 calories, little or no dietary fiber, and has a moderately high glycemic load. Even high-pulp, 100 percent orange juice is not a significant source of dietary fiber.”

The study’s findings support recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that individuals should drink 100 percent fruit juice in moderation and choose whole fruits over fruit juice when possible.

“Adults should have at least two servings of fruit a day, ideally more,” Dr. Auerbach said. “Even though 100 percent fruit juice has lots of vitamins, minerals and nutrients like antioxidants, it’s really better to get your daily fruit in the form of whole fruit. Especially for adults trying to lose weight, 100 percent fruit juice is not your friend.”

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@VirginiaMason.org

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