Though many little ones may enjoy some fruit juice in their bottle once in a while, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now recommending parents hold off on offering this beverage until the child is at least one year old. The old recommendation from AAP stated that it was okay for children to have juice once they reach 6 months of age, but it is now believed that the added sugar from fruit juice in a baby’s diet in unnecessary and not very healthy.
CNN reports about the new guidelines from the AAP that announced their fruit juice recommendation in a new policy statement. Two reasons the AAP had come to the conclusion that parents should wait to offer fruit juice were rising rates of childhood obesity as well as tooth decay. Co-author of the policy statement Dr. Steven A. Abrams explains the decision saying, “We couldn't really see any reason why juice was still part of the potential recommendation for 6- to 12-month-old kids. We recommend breastfeeding or formula in that age group, and there really isn't any need or beneficial role for juice, so we kind of made that adjustment.”
Dr. Abrams and his colleagues feel that drinking juice at such a young age only promotes sugar consumption. And when children under the age of one drink juice it is often out of a bottle or sippy cup, sometimes before sleeping and will only promote tooth decay due to the lingering sugars in the mouth. Abrams explains why juice can have such a negative impact on kids at this age. He says, “The problem is, parents will stick a bottle or sippy cup in the kid's mouth and kind of leave it there all day. That's not good from the calorie-intake perspective, and it's sure not good for the teeth. What happens is, the kid then gets used to all the sugar, and then they won't drink water.”
But after the age of one, the AAP believes that fruit juice can have its place in a healthy well-balanced diet. About 4 ounces of fresh squeezed and reconstituted juices can be offered daily to kids aged 1 - 3, 4 - 6 year olds can have between 4 and 6 ounces and older children should have no more than a cup. But as you may have guessed, doctors still say having plain fruit is the best thing for kids.
What do you think of the AAP’s new recommendation to eliminate fruit juice from the diets of children under the age of one?
Does your child drink juice? Do you try to place limits on how much fruit juice they can drink per day?