Changes in Fruit Juice Recommendations for Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently released new guidelines regarding fruit juice. These guidelines are published in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the new guidelines, children should not be given fruit juice before they are one-year-old.

Previous guidelines advised parents to introduce juice between 6 and 12 months of age. However, the Academy decided to revise the guidelines due to rising rates of obesity and concerns of tooth decay.

The following is a summary of the current conclusions and recommendations:

Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits – and should be avoided – for infants younger than 1 year.

100% fruit juice can be part of a healthy diet for children older than 1 year; however, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruit to meet their daily fruit intake recommendations.

Fruit juice is not nutritionally equivalent to fruit. And fruit drinks should be avoided – they are not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice.

For toddlers between 1 and 3 years old, fruit juice should be limited to 4 ounces daily.

Juice should be provided in a cup, rather than a bottle or box, to avoid prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugar. This will help decrease the risk of dental cavities.

For children between 4 and 6 years, fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces daily.

For children between 7 and 18 years, fruit juice should be limited to 8 ounces (or 1 cup) daily.

Excessive juice consumption may be associated with overnutrition – it is very easy to consume excessive calories in liquid form.

Excessive juice consumption may be associated with undernutrition – a high amount of juice intake may displace other important nutrients in the diet.

Excessive juice consumption is associated with tooth decay.

When choosing fruit juice, look for those that contain 100% fruit juice, a high amount of vitamin C, and are fortified with other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.

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