Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics encouraged parents to wait until their children turned 6-months old before offering them fruit juice. A new study shows that this same organization has changed their recommendation and stated that parents should now wait until their children reach the age of 1 prior to giving them fruit juice. The increasing concerns about cavities and obesity rates is the reasoning behind this changed recommendation.
Fruit Juice Offers No Benefits to Children Between 6 and 12 Months
Dr. Steven Abrams, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas explained that breastfeeding and formula is suggested for children in the 6 to 12-month old age range and fruit juice will not provide them with any benefits. He stated that all too often, parents give their children a sippy cup or bottle with juice and leave it with them for an entire day. When this happens, children get used to the sugar and refuse to drink water.
100% Fruit Juice is Recommended for Children 1 and Older
The American Academy of Pediatrics does advise 100% fresh fruit juice for children who are older than 1. However, this juice intake should be limited to 4 ounces each day for children between the ages of 1 and 3, 4 to 6 ounces daily for children between 4 and 6, and no more than 8 ounces a day for children between 7 and 18. This juice should be given to children in a cup, rather than a bottle or box which encourages all day juice drinking. Additionally, parents should avoid serving grapefruit juice to children taking ibuprofen, warfarin, and amitriptyline because it may hinder the effectiveness of these medications.
Real Fruit is Superior to Fruit Juice
Whenever possible, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends real fruit instead of juice. Nutritionist Sharon Zarabi from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City explained that people often make the mistake of believing juice is filled with vitamins. She stated that when fruit is transformed into liquid, it’s all too easy to take in excess calories which do not provide any fiber or protein to keep children full. For this reason, Zarabi promotes whole fruit, rather than juice to all of her patients.