My last blog, does fructose intake raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, spurred my interest in whether or not 100% fruit juice is healthy. I knew that the juices had a lot of sugar but I was not familiar with studies linking fruit juice to diabetes. 100% fruit juice often contains amounts of sugar similar to soda. Orange juice has 24 grams of sugar, apple juice also has 24 grams while Pepsi has 41 grams. When removed from the fruit, the consumed fructose (sugar) in apple juice and orange juice is treated by our body the same way as the fructose found in soda.
This blog will discuss the ways in which a high intake of fructose can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (disease involving blood vessels and the heart). Fructose may cause heart disease by altering our lipid profile, raising blood pressure and causing the body to store more fat in the abdominal area. Excessive fructose intake also causes obesity, but this may be because we are consuming too many calories overall, not just as fructose. Most people are aware that added sugar causes diabetes and weight gain, but are not aware of the link between sugar intake and heart disease.
Almost everyone knows that processed sugar often leads to the development of diabetes. Some people are lucky and can eat all the sugar they want without getting diabetes. My parents are an example. I recently visited them and was amazed at how much sugar they were eating. My father would substitute dinner for three chocolate bars and ice cream. Since he is unlikely to develop diabetes at this point I had to come up with another reason to get him to cut back on his sugar intake. I was thinking about telling him to switch to sugar free snacks but remembered that these snacks often substituted fat for sugar and were therefore more calorie dense (fat contains more calories per gram than sugar). This could lead to weight gain and increase his risk for problems related to obesity.