Is your child drinking too much juice?

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Is your child drinking too much juice? Wait a second…why are we talking about this?….Isn’t juice healthy? 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation for fruit juice intake based on age.
Youngsters ages 7 to 18 should limit consumption to eight ounces a day.
Kids ages 4 to 6 can have four to six ounces a day.
Children ages 1 to 3 can have four ounces a day.
Babies under the age of one should not drink any juice at all. Yes! You read it correctly…no juice for babies.

While most parents think that juice is a healthy option for their children, that is not the case. Most store-bought juices and fruit drinks are packed with added sugar and preservatives. Fruit drinks are not nutritionally equivalent to 100% fruit juice.

In general, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants and children, so it would be better to consume the fruit and not the juice. Juice is not necessary, the fact is that human milk or infant formula is enough for infants, whole milk and water are enough for children ages 1 and 2, and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children. However, one hundred percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet and in the serving sizes mentioned above.


Tips and facts about juice

  • Consider making your homemade version of any fruit juice. That way you know exactly what’s in it and eliminate extra sugar and preservatives.
  • Encourage your child to eat the fruit instead of drinking the fruit juice. For example, it would be healthier to eat a few apple slices than to drink the apple juice. Remember, fruits are packed with fiber and vitamins, while the fruit drink is not.
  • If your child must drink juice, keep track of the serving sizes mentioned above. By keeping track of the serving size, you are also keeping track of the caloric intake.
  • Dental caries has been linked to juice consumption. Prolonged exposure of the teeth to the sugars in juice is a major contributing factor to dental caries. Juice should be offered to toddlers in a cup, not in a bottle. Toddlers and children should not be allowed to carry juice around for prolonged periods of time.
  • Juice should not be sipped throughout the day or used to calm an upset child.
  • The consumption of unpasteurized juice products is not acceptable for children of all ages.
  • The use of juice is not recommended for the re-hydration of children with vomiting and diarrhea. Juice contains too much sugar and will probably make the diarrhea worse. On the other hand, it does not contain the appropriate electrolytes necessary for re-hydration. It would be a much better option to use Pedialyte in this situation.
  • Excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition because kids might prefer the sugary drink over a nutritious meal. Also, kids may feel full after drinking juice, and not be hungry for mealtimes.
  • Do not give juice to your child at bedtime.
  • Excessive juice consumption can cause diarrhea, flatulence, and abdominal distention to some children.

Resources:

new-guidelines-for-fruit-juice-portions

juice-recommendations

Disclaimer: The content in this blog is not to be considered medical advice and it is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your primary care provider. If you have specific questions, please contact your physician.