Experts recommend no fruit juice for children under one

Frederick Owens
May 23, 2017

But there is no reason to include them in the diets of children less than a year old, the American Academy of Pediatrics now says.

Sixteen years later, the AAP have extended this time frame, based on a wealth of evidence that suggests that fruit juice may do more harm than good in the first 12 months of life.

"Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories", said Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement.

The group said that while a correlation between fruit juice and childhood obesity remains uncertain, it recommends eliminating 100 percent fruit juice from the diets of children with excessive weight gain, but not from the diets of all children. Even then, they should drink it sparingly. "That is really important for [gastrointestinal] issues, so you always want to reach for the whole fruit versus the juice".

"The AAP report was welcomed by the chief of the division of general pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, Dr Elsie M Taveras who thinks it is 'a fantastic recommendation for infants, and it's long overdue".

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Parents can make it easier for older children to eat fruit by keeping bags of frozen fruit on hand to toss into smoothies or yogurt bowls, and keeping easy-to-eat fruits such as clementines in bowls on the kitchen counter, said Prout. "Whole fruit offers fiber and other nutrients". The academy also strongly discourages unpasteurized juice products and says grapefruit juice should not be served to children taking certain medications - ibuprofen, flurbiprofen, warfarin, phenytoin, fluvastatin and amitriptyline - because it interferes with their effects.

"It is optimal to completely avoid the use of juice in infants before 1 year of age", the statement says.

Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3.

Instead, they encourage parents to give young children whole fruit instead of juice. "One hundred percent fruit juice should be offered only on special occasions, especially for kids who are at high-risk for tooth decay", she said. In it, the specialists claimed that drinking fruit juice brings no nutritional benefits for young kids.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2003 and 2010, only 40% of kids were getting their recommended daily servings of fruits per day, which is one to two cups, depending on age, gender and level of activity. The best ways to meet a child's fluid needs are water and low-fat milk, says Abrams.

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