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Study: Juice offers no nutritional benefit for children under age 1

Posted at 6:31 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 13:46:53-04

It's time to stop giving babies fruit juice, according to new guidelines from the nation's top pediatricians.

In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics told parents to avoid 100 percent fruit juice for babies six months or younger, but the group toughened it's stance Monday.

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.

Replacing milk or formula with juice could prevent babies from getting enough protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

The new report also restricts fruit juice for children of all ages.

Parents are advised to give 1- to 3-year-old children four ounces of fruit juice a day, six ounces for 4- to 6-year-olds and eight ounces for 6- to 18-year-olds.

Experts say juice has empty sugars and that whole fruit is more nutritious. 

This is the first time the group has updated its guidelines on fruit juice since 2001.

Statement from the Juice Products Association

U.S. juice manufacturers have long supported the nutrition guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and we agree with the AAP’s recommendation that 100% fruit juice, in both fresh and reconstituted forms, “can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.” Further, juice manufacturers are aligned with the AAP’s recommendations regarding fruit juice consumption by infants.  These guidelines were first published in Pediatrics in July 2015.

National surveys consistently show that Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, yet research indicates that children who drink juice actually eat more whole fruit than children who don’t drink juice.  Additional research shows that the average child does not over consume juice and that children who drink juice have better overall diet quality.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans classify one serving of 100% fruit juice as equivalent to one serving of whole fruit.  One-hundred-percent fruit juice is a nutrient dense beverage, and when incorporated as a complement to whole fruit in the diet for children older than one year, helps to improve fruit intake, especially among populations with limited access to fresh fruit.