In May 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for children ingesting fruit juice. This was the first update on children drinking fruit juice in sixteen years and long overdue.
It is now recommended that parents abstain from serving fruit juice to infants under the age of 12 months.
These new recommendations are divided by age group:
Birth to age one:
According to the new guidelines, breast milk or infant formula should be the only nutrient supplied to infants until six months.
There is no indication that an infant under six months should ingest fruit juice. Important nutrients (fat, protein, calcium, and iron) supplied by breast milk or formula can be eliminated if the baby ingests too much juice.
Parents can begin to introduce mashed or pureed whole fruit after six months.
Toddlers- Ages 1 to 4:
Toddlers may have four ounces of juice per day which replaces the previous allowance of six to eight ounces. Also, labels must be carefully investigated. Avoid the words drink, beverage, or cocktail. Look for 100 percent fruit juice which is pasteurized.
Furthermore, the juice should be finished in one sitting, perhaps with a meal. Sippy cups and bottles should be avoided. The key is to have the child finish the juice promptly and not carry the beverage around for long periods of time because sipping on even 100 percent juice all day can lead to cavities. Diluting the juice with water doesn’t lower the odds of forming cavities either.
Children ages 4 to 6:
Children ages four to six may consume four to six ounces of 100 percent juice per day. The same guidelines apply to this group as the toddlers in regards to finishing the juice in one sitting.
Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruit with an abundance of fiber such as apples, oranges, berries, and pears. Ingesting too much juice can lead to obesity and kids who fail to thrive.
Children ages 7 to 18:
Older children and teenagers are allotted two to two and one-half cups of fruit per day. 100 percent fruit juice can be one of those servings. It’s easier for this age group to serve themselves, so parents can make whole fruit more available by purchasing fresh and frozen fruits. Many teens like making smoothies by using conveniently frozen fruits.
The bottom line is that even 100 percent juice must be used sparingly. It’s far better to have children and adults eat whole fruits to reap the nutritional benefits.