No fruit juice for kids under 1, pediatricians advise

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New recommendations advise parents to ban fruit juice entirely from a baby's diet for the first year, over concerns that juice offers no nutritional benefits early in life.

The AAP policy published in 2001 recommended no fruit juice for children younger than 6 months of age, 4 to 6 ounces daily for children ages 1 to 6 years, and 8 to 12 ounces for children 7 and older. "Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories", Melvin B. Heyman, MD, FAAP, co-author of the statement said to Fruit juice may not be able to give adequate nutrition in terms of vitamins and minerals that babies requires.

And what about kids who won't eat 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. They state that small quantities of such beverages are still alright for older aged children. This is because whole fruit contains fiber. Consumption, however, should be limited depending on a child's age.

"The literature regarding the contribution of 100% juice to obesity development remains uncertain with recent studies failing to identify a clear connection, especially in children over age 6." the academy's website says.

Fruit should be pureed, with no chunks or seeds - "so a child can get used to the taste", Ms. Montgomery said.

For children ages one to four - stick to four ounces of *100-percent juice.

However Carol Freysinger, executive director of Juice Products Association, does say that children who drink fruit juice actually end up eating more whole fruit than children who don't.

"We know that excessive fruit juice can lead to excessive weight gain and tooth decay", says statement co-author Dr. Steven A. Abrams, also a fellow of the AAP. For children between 4 years old and 6 years old, fruit juice should be restricted to four to six ounces daily.

Due to appear in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics, the latest guidance notes that pediatricians have historically advised juice to deliver vitamin C, deal with constipation and to help children move from a exclusively milk-based diet to one with gradually increasing amounts of solid food.

"In both of those groups they do consume a lot more than the recommended amount of juice". The best ways to meet a child's fluid needs are water and low-fat milk, says Abrams. "Don't serve fruits that are waxy", she said.

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