The American Academy of Pediatrics set forth new guidelines for fruit juice consumption in children and babies. The rising rates of childhood obesity and dental cavities are the reasons for the new guidelines.
In previous years, the Academy advised against offering fruit juice to children under the age of 6 months. The big shift in the new guidelines state infants should not be offered fruit juice for their entire first year of life. The nation’s top pediatricians say fruit juice is not as healthy as many parents may think. They emphasize that fruit juices offer little nutritional value or benefit early in life. In addition, pediatricians say fruit juice can take the place of what babies actually need, which is the protein, fat, minerals and vitamins found in breast milk and formula.
The Academy’s recommendations also call for limiting fruit juice consumption for children of all groups:
- Less Than 1 Year: No fruit juice
- 1-3 Years Old: 4 ounces per day
- 4-6 Years Old: 4-6 ounces per day
- 7-18 Years Old: 8 ounces per day
The new guidelines hope to educate parents who thought fruit juice is nutritionally equivalent to the fruit itself. Compare the nutritional value of one medium apple to 1 cup apple juice:
The standout difference is the fiber; apple juice is void of fiber whereas the medium apple has 4 grams of fiber. Fiber is important because it helps with digestion and increases fullness.
Whether good or bad, behavior is learned. Give your kids a head start by instilling healthy eating habits early on. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about the new guidelines.
For more on the Academy’s new guidelines published in the journal Pediatrics click here.