Say No To Fruit Juice

Some people may think that fruit juice is a healthy drink that they can give to their child for nutritional benefits. It turns out that it’s not necessarily healthy at all. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released a new guideline urging parents to “stop giving fruit juice to their children in the first year of life”.

If your child is craving something refreshing or fruity, try a piece of fruit. If they need to get hydrated then they should drink water.

Whole fruit beats juice when it comes to fighting tooth decay. When your child is carrying around a sippy cup filled with juice, or sipping from a bottle in bed, their teeth are continuously exposed to carbohydrates which could lead to cavities.

In 2001, the AAP advised parents to avoid 100 percent fruit juice to babies younger than 6 months. Recently, they have toughened their stance against the juice by recommending parents to ban fruit juice from the first year of their baby’s diet.

Store-bought juice is similar to soda in terms of sugar and calories. On average, fruit juice is only a bit less concentrated fructose than sodas. Here’s a comparison of fruit juice to whole fruits:

Fruit Juice Guideline By Age:

For babies, younger than 6 months:

They should not be given fruit juice at any cost. The only thing that should pass an infant’s lips are breastmilk or formula. Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits early in your baby’s life. If juice is substituted for breastmilk or formula, they could be missing out on essential fats, protein, and minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc that their growing bodies require.

Infants ages 6 months to 1 year:

Your baby should be restricted to drinking only breast-milk, infant formula, or water. You can substitute fruit juice by mashing or puree fruits. But if you must give your child fruit juice, the Pediatricians advise:

  • Limit juice intake to 4 ounces per day
  • Rather than a bottle, put the juice in a sippy cup
  • Don’t allow your baby to sip on the juice throughout the night

Children ages 6 years and younger:

Fruit drinks and juice are easily over-consumed by toddlers if they start drinking at an early age because of the sweet taste. They are conveniently packed and easy to drink. Juice can be a gateway drink for your child to other sugary drinks.

You should encourage your child to eat whole fruits rather than drinking juice. Eating fruits can prevent weight gain since it takes much longer to eat the fruit than to drink the juice. Juice can contribute to sugar imbalance because your child could be consuming too many calories.

If you still insist on giving your child juice, limit it to 4 ounces per day for children 1 to 3 years of age, and 6 ounces a day for 4 to 6 years. The AAP advises that you should also make sure the drink is pasteurized to avoid the risk of exposure to dangerous pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.

Teenagers and older children:

Typically, children reduce the amount of juice they intake by the age of 7. They should still limit the amount they drink to only 8 ounces per day. According to the AAP, most American children up to the age of 18 and older, consume almost half of the fruit is in the form of juice. It is always important to read the nutrition labels and to make sure it is a healthy choice to give to your child.

Keep in mind that “fruit juice has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets of children”, stated by the AAP.

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At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, we want to make sure you and your family are aware of all possible oral conditions. Call us today at (516)758-KIDS to reserve your child’s dental care appointment. Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to serve the surrounding cities: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carle Place, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and many more.

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