Pediatricians Advise No Fruit Juice Until Kids Are 1

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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.

"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, co-author of the policy, in a statement.

When you see a bottle stating that the contents are "100 percent fruit juice", you might assume that the beverage is a healthful alternative to whole fruits, but this is not the case.

Among the concerns are the risk of replacing milk or formula with juice in the diet, which could then not provide enough protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Do not give toddlers juice at bedtime.

Dr. Wolynn said his practice has been advising parents to avoid fruit juice for years, as evidence grew showing little value in juice.

The AAP has advice on getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables.

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What's so bad about fruit juice? "Even though it's natural sweetness, (juice) doesn't have the same benefits as real fruit, because the fruit has fiber to be more filling, whereas juice is just easy to drink and overdo", said Shu, who did not contribute to the new recommendations. This is because whole fruit contains fiber. The policy also strongly discourages consumption of unpasteurized juice.

"It is optimal to completely avoid the use of juice in infants before 1 year of age", the statement says. In fact, excess consumption of juice may lead to diarrhea, abdominal distension, flatulence, and tooth decay. Daily intake should be limited to 4 ounces in toddlers ages 1-3 years, 4-6 ounces for those 4-6 years.

Families should be educated that human milk and/or infant formula is sufficient to satisfy fluid requirements for infants, and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children.

However Carol Freysinger, executive director of Juice Products Association, does say that children who drink fruit juice actually end up eating more whole fruit than children who don't.

Fruit should be pureed, with no chunks or seeds - "so a child can get used to the taste", Ms. Montgomery said.

"In both of those groups they do consume a lot more than the recommended amount of juice". For those 7-18 years, limit juice intake to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2-2½ cups of fruit servings/day. "In general, the time that I tend to recommend juice is if kids have constipation, and apple juice and prune juice can sometimes help with that", she said.