Free sugars overconsumption is associated with an increased prevalence of risk factors for metabolic diseases such as the alteration of the blood lipid levels. Natural fruit juices have a free sugar composition quite similar to that of sugar-sweetened beverages. Thus, could fruit juice consumption lead to the same adverse effects on health as sweetened beverages? We attempted to answer this question by reviewing the available evidence on the health effects of both sugar-sweetened beverages and natural fruit juices. We determined that, despite the similarity of fruits juices to sugar-sweetened beverages in terms of free sugars content, it remains unclear whether they lead to the same metabolic consequences if consumed in equal dose. Important discrepancies between studies, such as type of fruit juice, dose, duration, study design, and measured outcomes, make it impossible to provide evidence-based public recommendations as to whether the consumption of fruit juices alters the blood lipid profile. More randomized controlled trials comparing the metabolic effects of fruit juice and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption are needed to shape accurate public health guidelines on the variety and quantity of free sugars in our diet that would help to prevent the development of obesity and related health problems.
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