No fruit juice for kids under 1, pediatricians advise

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has some new advice about juice: Kids should resist the urge to drink it. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced Monday new guidelines for giving juice to young children.

Past guidelines advised against juice for babies under six months, but doctors are concerned about childhood obesity and dental health. Even then, they should drink it sparingly.

Next time you're grocery shopping for your kids, think twice before adding a carton of fruit juice to your basket.

And what about kids who won't eat fruit? Juice consumption can also lead to malnutrition, through excessive consumption and/or reliance on juice to serve as a substitute for whole fruits.

"We couldn't really see any reason why juice was still part of the potential recommendation for 6- to 12-month-old kids", said Dr. Steven A. Abrams, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, and co-author of the policy statement.

Scientists laid out instructions for older children, too. This is because whole fruit contains fiber. (If the label calls it a fruit "drink", "beverage" or "cocktail", that's a sign it is not 100 percent juice.) Many beverages look like fruit juice and say they have vitamins, but they can also be packed with sugar and other ingredients that do not have nutritional value.

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Fruit juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces per day for children and adolescents aged 7 to 18 years, say the AAP.

Furthermore, 100 percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet. "Fruit drinks, however, are not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice". Toddlers who are ages 1 to 4 should only have one cup of fruit a day. Because juice tastes good, children readily accept it.

Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3.

Pediatricians also say there's a link between fruit juice and teeth decay.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2003 and 2010, only 40% of kids were getting their recommended daily servings of fruits per day, which is one to two cups, depending on age, gender and level of activity. They are more satisfying, fill you up easily and a much better way to get all the fiber and minerals.

Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication's effectiveness.