Toddlers under a year old should have zero fruit juice in their diet, while older kids should seriously limit consumption, the American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new guidance statement.
According to the Academy, children under 12 months of age should nix juice completely, unless a doctor advises it specifically to help with constipation symptoms.
For kids up to three years of age, they shouldn’t have any more than four ounces, or 124 milliliters of juice daily. Adolescents between four and six years old should similarly keep intake from four to six ounces; kids over that age should have no more than 8 ounces per day (250 ml).
This is the first update by the Academy on their juice-drinking recommendations since 2001. They’d always advised kids under six months should keep away from juice entirely, with the new guidelines bumping that age limit up by another half year.
Fresh fruit should always be the first option before fruit juice, which has been linked “to excessive weight gain,” the group notes. Real fruit offers dietary fiber, while fruit juice simply contains more needless sugars and calories.
“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 Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, the co-author of the guidelines.
“Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under one.”
While fruit juice is still marketed as a healthy, natural source of vitamins, the group warns that it still has a high sugar content, as well as contributing to increased calorie consumption and tooth decay.
The revised guidelines also note that children of all ages should shy away from unpasteurized juice products. It also states that grapefruit juice can inhibit the effectiveness of certain medications.
The full statement appears in the journal Pediatrics.
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