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Is Fruit Juice a Healthier Alternative to Soda?

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When shopping for groceries, you may assume that fruit juice is a healthier and more nutritious alternative to soda. After all, soda contains lots of added sugar, whereas fruit juice consists mostly of naturally sweetened sugar -- at least that's what many people assume. There's new evidence, however, suggesting that fruit juice is no better than soda, and drinking either of these beverages on a regular basis could take a toll on your health.

According to a new study, the risk of death from all causes increases by 11% for every additional 12-ounce serving of sugary beverages a person consumes per day. If you only drink one soda or cup of fruit juice, your risk of death will be 11% higher than someone who refrains from drinking soda or fruit juice. If you drink three servings, however, your risk of death will be 33% higher.  For the study, researchers analyzed health data involving a six-year survey of men and women aged 40 and older.

Why does fruit juice have such a negative impact on your health? Researchers didn't theorize regarding how exactly sugary beverages affect a person's health, but there are a few plausible possibilities. First, all sugary beverages, including soda and fruit juice, cause blood sugar levels to spike when consumed. As a result, people who consume sugary beverages on a daily basis are more likely to develop diabetes than their counterparts.

Second, even fruit juices are often loaded in processed sugar. Very rarely do store-bought fruit juices contain 100% fruit juice. They may contain 5% or 10% fruit juice, but the rest consists of ingredients like water, high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar.

Third, sugary beverages often contain dyes and coloring, which can also pose health risks. You can still enjoy an occasional cup of fruit juice, but you shouldn't make it a regular part of your daily diet. As revealed in this study, drinking any sugary beverage, whether soda or fruit juice, on a daily basis can increase your risk of death.

The key thing to take away from this study is that you should consume sugary beverages in moderation. Avoid drinking soda, fruit juice, sweetened tea or other sugar beverages on a daily basis. Instead, drink them more sparingly, such as once or twice a week. By sticking with water as your daily beverage, you'll have a lower risk of chronic disease and, therefore, better overall health and wellness.

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