Does Fruit and Fruit Juice Consumption Affect Adolescent Asthma?

Child’s hand holding mandarin at home. Happy little girl with fruits at home. Concept of child’s healthy eating.
Is the presence of asthma in adolescents affected by their consumption of whole fruits, pure fruit juice, or sugar-sweetened beverages?

The occurrence of adolescent asthma is not associated with consumption of pure fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverages, or fruit. Low pure fruit consumption is linked with higher asthma prevalence at 11 years of age but not at the ages of 14, 17, and 20 years. These were among cross-sectional analysis findings published in Preventive Medicine Reports.

Previous studies link whole fruit consumption with reduced occurrence of asthma symptoms. Similar to whole fruit, pure fruit juice contains vitamin C and polyphenols which may guard against asthma. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), especially those with sodium benzoate and high-fructose corn syrup, have been associated with greater risk of asthma. Fructose is also found in pure fruit juice. Researchers aimed to investigate the associations of pure fruit juice, SSBs, and whole fruit consumption with the prevalence of adolescent asthma.

The investigators conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from 3046 children, aged 11 to 20 years, in the Dutch Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) birth cohort. Begun in 1996, the cohort data includes self-reported health data from questionnaires completed by both parents and adolescents. Asthma occurrence was determined by parental reports of asthma diagnosis, symptoms, and medication use in the previous 12 months. Pure fruit juice, SSBs, and fruit consumption were self-reported at 11, 14, 17, and 20 years of age.

Fruit was consumed most frequently at 11 years of age. SSBs were most frequently consumed at 17 years. Pure fruit juice was most frequently consumed at 14 years. There was no overall correlation between any of these 3 variables and the occurrence of asthma among children from 11 to 20 years of age. Possible associations in those who were 11 to 20 years of age were analyzed for each exposure variable and adjusted for potential cofounders that included the other 2 exposure variables as well as other foods/beverages consumed, smoking status, and other demographic and clinical factors.

Study limitations include the cross-sectional nature of the study, the imprecise measure of food/beverage consumption, and possible misclassification of foods/liquids consumed.

Researchers confirmed the association between pure fruit juice consumption and asthma prevalence at 11 years of age; however, they found “no evidence that pure fruit juice, SSBs, and fruit consumption were associated [with asthma] at later ages or with overall prevalence of asthma from 11 to 20 years.” In relation to asthma occurrence, it is still undetermined whether pure fruit juice is more similar to SSBs or to whole fruit. “[O]ur findings do not support the idea that pure fruit juice consumption should be limited to prevent asthma development,” study authors concluded.


Scheffers FR, Boer JMA, Gehring U, et al. The association of pure fruit juice, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit consumption with asthma prevalence in adolescents growing up from 11 to 20 years: the PIAMA birth cohort study. Prev Med Rep. Published online June 27, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101877