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Fruit juice consumption and high blood pressure: A new link

Posted:  Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fruits and their juices generally escape the stringent health radar as they are considered healthy. Fruits are certainly healthy as they are nature’s package of natural sugars and fibre. Fruit juice, on the other hand, is devoid of fibre and many times has added sugar. Australian researchers have found that frequent consumption of sugar-filled fruit juice was associated with higher aortic blood pressure (BP).

The association between frequent fruit juice consumption, typical of the Western lifestyle, with blood pressure had never been explored before. Hence, the researchers aimed to identify the association between fruit juice consumption with brachial and central blood pressure in 160 community dwelling adults. The results of the study were published in the journal Appetite.

The frequency of fruit consumption was measured using a 12 month food frequency questionnaire. The respondents had to mark their consumption as daily, occasional or rare. Their brachial BP was measured and the central BP was also estimated the same day.

The study found that daily consumption of fruit juice as compared with occasional or rare consumption, was associated with higher central systolic BP, central pulse pressure, central augmentation pressure and central augmentation index as well as with lower pulse pressure amplification. The researchers did not note any difference in the brachial BP.

“These finding are important because there is a common perception that fruit juice is healthy”, said the lead researcher Matthew Pase. He further added “The present findings suggest that daily use of fruit juice may increase central BPs which is known to be associated with cardiovascular disease risk, silent cerebrovascular injury, and cognitive impairment.”

Although these results warn against frequent consumption of sugar-filled fruit juices, a caution is necessary while interpreting the link with higher blood pressure. Small sample size and the observational nature of the study warrant large epidemiological studies to validate this association.

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