Doctors: No juice for babies in 1st year

Kathleen Mckinney
May 23, 2017

For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day. The group had previously advised parents to wait to offer juice until a child reached 6 months old, but decided to make the change based on rising rates of obesity and concerns about tooth cavities.

The new policy also recommends only four ounces of juice a day for toddlers and six ounces for pre-schoolers.

The advice is the first update to the AAP's stance on fruit juice in 16 years.

In the report, doctors say the new recommendation is based on rising rates of obesity and concerns about tooth decay in kids. Kids like the way it tastes - in fact, children and adolescents continue to be the highest consumers of fruit juice and juice drinks. Fruit juice may not be able to give adequate nutrition in terms of vitamins and minerals that babies requires. Practicing good eating habits while they're young will help them later on in life, she said.

"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, M.D., and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), who co-authored the statement.

These new guidelines don't apply to fruit drinks, which contain less than 100 percent juice and have added sweeteners. Even then, they should drink it sparingly. Abrams said the point is not to "get dogmatic about it", and kids can have some juice as part of a healthy diet.

Drinking unpasteurized juice drinks is discouraged for all ages.

As part of the initiative, the authors suggested that pediatricians support policies that work to reduce the consumption of fruit juice and instead promote whole fruit for toddlers and young children already exposed to juices.

Pediatricians would prefer parents give their children fresh fruit instead of fruit juice because it has more dietary fiber and less sugar than juice.

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.

"We don't need to be giving them juice to replenish fluids", she said.

"Water and low-fat milk are much better choices for most children", Abrams noted.

Grapefruit juice should be avoided in those taking certain medications (see policy).

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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