Dietary guidelines often deal with 100% fruit juice (FJ) inconsistently because it represents a source of free sugars. However, FJ also provides bioavailable micronutrients and plant bioactives at levels similar to those found in whole fruits. The present review weighs up the evidence from high-quality studies investigating a potential health harm for FJ against evidence from studies which indicate a potential health benefit. The findings reveal that FJ consumption, at moderate intakes consistent with the dietary guidelines for the US and some European countries (75–224 mL daily), does not increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or poor glycaemic control. In contrast, regular consumption of FJ—even up to 500 mL per day in short-to-medium-term studies—appears to confer a health benefit in terms of vascular function and reduced blood pressure. Emerging evidence for cognitive health benefits requires further investigation in human trials. Observational studies report associations between FJ and nutrient adequacy and suggest that FJ consumption is associated with reduced risk of stroke. In conclusion, FJ appears to offer more benefit than risk and there appears to be no justification for discouraging FJ within a balanced diet for children and adults.
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