Tart cherries have a lot of nutritional benefits. They can boost heart health and even help treat insomnia. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should drink it in excess. If you drink too much tart cherry, it can cause some unpleasant side effects. Luckily, these can be avoided.
According to a study published in January 2019 by the journal Nutrition, tart cherries contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
Despite their potential side effects, tart cherries and juice are less harmful than the over-the-counter medications typically used to reduce inflammation. According to Oregon Health & Science University, long-term anti-inflammatory medication use such as ibuprofen has been linked to kidney, heart, and stomach issues.
This would make tart cherry fruit juice a better option for controlling inflammation. However, the liquid has some drawbacks.
Side effects of drinking too much tart cherry juice
Do cherries cause gas? If you eat them in excess, this is possible. The same is true of sour cherry juice.
The high sorbitol content in tart cherry juice can cause abdominal discomfort or diarrhea. According to a study published in October 2016 in the International Journal of Dentistry, sorbitol is a sugar alcohol found in some fruits and plants.
Natalie Rizzo, RD, tells us that sorbitol can cause stomach pain, gas, or bloating in people with conditions such as irritable bowel disease (IBS).
Potential weight gain
This is because tart cherry juice has a lot of sugar in it. According to USDA, a one-cup serving contains 159 calories and 33 grams of sugar.
As a reference, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that adult women consume 1,600 to 2,400 cal per day and adult men consume 2,000 to 3,200 cal per day. Of course, these figures should be adjusted to account for height and activity levels.
Sarah Pflugradt RDN says that the drawback of drinking tart cherry juice is the additional calories consumed by drinking enough to make a difference. Pflugradt points out that in most studies on the health benefits of sour cherry juice, participants drink around 16 ounces, or two cups, of liquid. This is approximately 318 calories.
The Bottom Line
If you want to incorporate tart cherry juice into your diet, reduce your sugar intake the rest of the time to compensate for the added sugar and calories.
It’s also important to remember that tart cherry fruit juice is not a miracle cure. Pflugradt warns against getting overly excited about one food. “The research on tart cherry juice may be impressive, but you shouldn’t expect it to compensate for a bad diet.”