Should your children avoid fruit juice altogether?

Don’t let your kids get juiced up: according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all children should focus on eating whole fruits, rather than drinking sugary juices. The pediatricians’ group also recommends that kids under the age of one avoid juice altogether, while older children should drink it only sparingly.

 

Previously, the AAP advised against giving fruit juice to infants under six months. However, they have now expanded that recommendation, due to evidence linking juice consumption to weight gain and tooth decay.

 

The AAP notes that for older kids who are at a healthy weight, drinking 100 per cent juice is fine in moderation. That being said, it should account for less than half of the recommended fruit servings per day.

 

The guidelines note that whole fruit is a much better choice, as it contains fibre, which slows the body’s absorption of sugar and provides a feeling of fullness.

 

“I think there’s still a prevailing notion among some parents that juice is a reasonable substitute for fruit,” says Mark DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who was not involved in the report. DeBoer adds that it is best for kids to meet their fruit requirements entirely through whole fruit—especially those who are above a healthy weight.

 

If your kids do drink juice, cap their consumption at 4 ounces per day for toddlers, 4 to 6 ounces for kids 4 to 6 years old, and 8 ounces for children from 7 to 18.

 

Instead of giving your children juice or smoothies, try making a fresh fruit salad. They’ll love the taste—and you’ll love the health benefits.