May 25, 2017, 11:05:14 AM CDT Jan 14, 2019, 12:14:23 PM CST

New fruit juice guidelines Q&A with Children’s Health expert

Do you give your child fruit juice instead of fruit? Learn why that may not be such a good idea.

Teen boy lying down on fresh green grass field and drinking tasty juice, eating fruits, enjoying healthy nutrition on a summer day Teen boy lying down on fresh green grass field and drinking tasty juice, eating fruits, enjoying healthy nutrition on a summer day

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their fruit juice guidelines, recommending no fruit juice for children under 1 year. Denon Stacy, Clinical Dietitian, MS, RD, CSP, LD from Clinical Nutrition at Children’s Health℠ answered a few questions regarding the new recommendations.

What do the new guidelines state?

The new guidelines from AAP were released on Monday, May 22, 2017. This is the academy’s first update on fruit juice recommendations since 2001.  The policy statement recommendations suggest:

“Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit servings per day.

Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to sugar can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.”

What are the reasons juice is not a healthy choice before a child turns one?

Juice is not a necessary part of a healthy diet. Infants can meet their fluid and calorie needs with breastmilk or infant formula until age-appropriate solid foods are introduced.

What are possible negative effects of giving juice to your children before the age of one?

Juice is high in sugar, low in fiber, and high in calories. Drinking sugary beverages also promotes tooth decay and cavities.

What ingredients should parents be looking out for in juice?

100% juice with No Added Sugar. If your child is used to drinking large quantities of fruit juice, a good way to help him cut down the amount of sugar is adding half water and half juice.

What are some common mistakes parents make when giving drinks to their kids? 

Many parents believe juice is a healthy beverage that has the same nutritional benefits as whole fruits and vegetables. It takes about 3-4 oranges to make one cup of juice, and one cup of juice contains 6-7 teaspoons of sugar. As a registered dietitian, I would like to encourage parents to offer their children whole fruits and vegetables, which have both the vitamins and fiber that children need.

In addition, parents should refrain from giving children fruit juice in sippy cups and use a cup instead. The reason being that children who drink from a sippy cup have juice and sugar washing over their teeth for longer periods of time than children who drink from a cup. This could help prevent dental decay and cavities.

What are some good substitutes for juice, either for infants or young children?

Water and milk are excellent beverage choices. Low fat milk is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth. After 2 years of age, offer your child low fat milk, which is 1% or skim milk.

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