Conducted by researchers at Emory and Cornell, the study included the first comparative analysis of sugary contents found in 100 per cent fruit juice and sweetened carbonated drinks.
Findings of the study reveal that excessive intake of sugary beverages increased the risk of premature death by 11 per cent while high consumption of fruit juice doubled the risk of early death by 24 per cent.
Using existing data of 13,400 adults above 45 years in the US, researchers surveyed their intake of sugary drinks and 100 per cent fruit juice within a span of years.
The study found that participants derived 8.4 per cent of their daily calorie intake from sugary drinks and 4 per cent from fruit juice.
Linking this result to health complications, the research revealed that 168 death cases were traced to coronary heart disease.
Previous scientific enquiries have confirmed that a high intake of sugar-packed diet stimulates the liver to pump more harmful fats into the bloodstream, thereby increasing heart disease risks.
While the emphasis has focused on sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas and energy drinks, this new study shows that 100 fruit juice also contains a high percentage of naturally produced sugar.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the researchers noted that although 100 per cent fruit juice contains more vitamins and phytonutrients than sweetened drinks; the predominant component of both drinks are sugar and water.
“These results suggest higher consumption of sugary beverages, including fruit juice, is associated with increased mortality,” they wrote.
“Although the sugar in SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages) is added during processing and the sugar in 100 per cent fruit juice occurs naturally, the specific sugars they provide for the body to process are essentially the same, and the biochemical response when metabolized is the same.”