While giving your child fruit juice may seem like a good idea—after all, it’s fruit!—the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting how much juice your child drinks.
According to a recent policy update, the AAP recommends:
- Infants younger than 12 months of age shouldn’t have juice at all.
- Children ages 1 through 3 should consume no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice per day.
- Children ages 4 through 6 should consume no more than 6 ounces of fruit juice per day.
- Children ages 7 through 18 should consume no more than 8 ounces of fruit juice per day.
The Truth About Juice
Fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals. It can help reduce the risk for heart disease, potentially protect against cancer, and prevent you from consuming too many calories.
“Fruit juice, however, lacks the fiber and some other nutrients found in the whole fruit. Fruits have natural sugar,” explains Jennifer Rauntenberg, RN, LDN, a Steward Health Care clinical nutrition manager. “Juicing fruit isolates that sugar making it high in calories. Drinking too much juice would then lead to cavities and weight gain, setting the stage for childhood obesity.”
If your child is at least 12 months old and enjoys drinking juice, you don’t have to eliminate it completely. Try to stick to the recommended amounts from the AAP. In addition, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to what you put in your kids’ cups:
- If you offer your children juice, make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice. Juice that’s labeled as “drink,” “beverage,” or “cocktail” isn’t made entirely of fruit.
- Encourage your children to eat whole fruits.
- Avoid unpasteurized juice in all ages as it may make them sick due to the hidden bacteria.
- In following with the above recommendations, avoid providing juice in a bottle, sippy cup, and before bed after brushing teeth. Casually sipping juice promotes cavities and overconsumption beyond the recommendation.
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