Pediatricians: No fruit juice before age 1

Posted May 23, 2017

Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new recommendations state that 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than one year when consumed as part of a well- balanced diet.

Pediatricians also say there's a link between fruit juice and teeth decay.

The longstanding previous recommendation, from 2001, advised that juice should not be given to infants under six-months of age. In small amounts, 100 percent fruit juice may even be a good way to increase fruit intake, particularly as a child's caloric needs increase with age.

The major change is that fruit juice is discouraged for the first year of life - and not just the first six months, as previously recommended.

For toddlers aged 1 to 3 years, the AAP recommend consuming no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice daily, while children aged between 4 and 6 years should consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day.

The bottom line, Abrams said, is that "water and milk are preferable".

Scientists laid out instructions for older children, too.

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At present, the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans does not offer advice on fruit juice consumption in young children.

Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and educated on the benefit of fiber intake.

For instance, where four ounces of apple juice has 60 calories, 13g of sugar and no fiber, a half cup of apple slices has half the calories [30], only 5.5g of sugar and 1.5g of fiber.

Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable "sippy cups" that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day.

The Academy warns parents that they start out at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping juice away from toddlers and preschool-age children. "If you assume fruit juice is equal to fruit, then you're not getting that message".

If caregivers substitute juice for milk or formula, babies risk missing out on all the protein, essential fats and nutrients like calcium, iron and zinc that their growing bodies require.

Some studies have found an association between heavy juice consumption - in excess of 12 ounces per day - and obesity.

Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication's effectiveness.