No fruit juice for kids under 1, pediatricians advise

Pediatricians say kids should avoid drinking fruit juice until they're at least a year old.

Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit to children under the age of one and may contribute to excessive weight gain, say experts who recommend not including juices in the diet of infants.

One of the most common questions parents ask pediatricians is how much 100% fruit juice they should give their children.

No fruit juice for children under one.

The group had previously advised parents to wait to offer juice until a child reached 6 months old but decided to make the change based on rising rates of obesity and concerns about tooth cavities.

These new guidelines don't apply to fruit drinks, which contain less than 100 percent juice and have added sweeteners. Plus, sippy cups and bottles allow kids to easily sip on juice all day.

The report will be published Monday in the journal "Pediatrics".

No fruit juice for kids under 1, pediatricians advise

The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well.

Further recommendations emphasize the importance of fresh fruit in children's diets.

According to Crim, it's important for children to learn healthy eating habits from an early age - which includes developing a taste for whole fruits and vegetables rather than juice. After that, parents can introduce mashed or pureed fruit, but not juice. His research suggests an association between consistent juice consumption at age 2 and higher odds of becoming overweight by age 4.

Dropping sliced berries or citrus slices into dinner salads or a child's glass of water is another way to increase whole fruit intake, and it's tasty, said King. After the first year, children between the age of 1 and 3 can have 4 ounces of juice a day and no more than 6 ounces for ages 4-6 and 8 ounces for ages 7-18.

Human milk or a prepared infant formula should be the only nutrients fed to infants until approximately 6 months of age. The authors specifically mentioned policies for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), provided that they do not have negative nutritional consequences for children without access to fresh fruit. Finally, pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for policies that reduce consumption of fruit juice in favor of increasing availability and thus consumption of whole fruits and vegetables.

"[Hundred percent] fruit juice has some nutrition, but the variety and quality is not the same", Ms. Montgomery said, adding that chewing fruit is a more satisfying experience and whole fruit is more filling.

Children taking certain types of medications should not be given grapefruit juice, the study authors noted.

  • Joanne Flowers