Experts are now calling for parents to avoid giving juice to babies before their first birthday — and to seriously limit intake among older children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which recently released new fruit-juice guidelines in the online journal Pediatrics.
Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits for infants younger than 1 year.
Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants and children and has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets of children.
One hundred percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet. Fruit drinks, however, are not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice.
Juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or the management of diarrhea.
Excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition (overnutrition and undernutrition).
Excessive juice consumption is associated with diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention, and tooth decay.
Unpasteurized juice products may contain pathogens that can cause serious illnesses and should be given to children cautiously, if at all.
A variety of fruit juices, provided in appropriate amounts for a child’s age, are not likely to cause any significant clinical symptoms.
Calcium-fortified juices provide a bioavailable source of calcium and often vitamin D but lack other nutrients present in human milk, infant formula, or cow milk.
How Much Fruit Juice Is Healthy for Kids?
For infants (<1 year old): None, unless your pediatrician recommends it for something like constipation.
For toddlers (ages 1 to 3): Cap it at 4 ounces of juice per day, served in a cup, not a bottle. (Nursing a bottle of fruit juice can prolong sugar exposure, which could lead to cavities.)
For young kids (ages 4 to 6): No more than 4 to 6 ounces per day, although whole fruit is preferable.
For older kids (ages 7 to 18): No more than 1 cup a day — but again, the first choice should be fruit.
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