New juice recommendations for children

Caucasian blonde little girl drinking natural juiceAmerican Academy of Pediatrics changes policy on juice recommendations for children

St. Anthony Pediatrician explains why

Juice has been a childhood staple for years. From filling bottles and sippy cups, to packing those popular juice boxes in lunch pails, juice for most people has just been a part of growing up. Now, more information comes to light and juice might not be the healthiest option for our little ones.

In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy stated that juice should not be given to children younger than six months of age. However, recently the AAP revised this policy recommending no juice should be given to children before the age of one. “This change has been brought on given the concerns for increasing obesity rates among the pediatric populations, as well as dental risks such as tooth decay and cavities,” said Dr. Brittany Daniels, pediatrician, St. Anthony Healthplex Mustang.

According to Dr. Daniels, juice recommendations for children over the age of one are as follows:

  • 1-4 yrs: No more than 4 ounces daily
  • 5-6 yrs: No more than 4-6 ounces daily
  • 7 yrs and up: No more than 8 ounces daily

Some of the concerns that led to these recommendations is the fact that there is so much processed sugar in our diets. The American Heart Association recommends less than 25 grams of sugar a day, as a way to reduce the risk of future heart disease.

“To put this amount in perspective, an 8 oz. glass of apple juice has 27 grams of sugar. Diets high in added sugars have been connected to heart risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels,” explained Dr. Daniels.

With the recent new recommendations it is encouraged to use whole fresh fruit instead of 100 percent fruit juice or other juice products. “Infants can be given pureed fruit followed by mashed fruits as they reach age one,” said Dr. Daniels. “However, the AAP has emphasized there is no nutritional benefits to fruit juice for children under the age of one. Also, juice can actually lead to decreased intake of food, breast milk, or formula resulting in reduced intakes of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals,” she added.

Another disadvantage of giving fruit juice instead of whole fruit as a serving is that it lacks fiber of whole fruit. “Eating whole fruit and reducing juice intake can help parents promote a healthy lifestyle and appropriate dietary choices in their growing children.”

For an appointment with Dr. Daniels, call 405-578-3250 or schedule online.

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