Although many parents perceive fruit juices, including boxed juices as healthy, the reality is most are not. Typically, packaged juices often contain large amounts of added sugar and are of no comparison to 100% fresh juice or whole fruit which offers several nutritional benefits.
According to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, when served with a well-balanced meal in children over the age of one, 100% fresh or reconstituted juice in moderation can be a healthy part of a child’s diet. It is important that the amount of juice consumed is moderated as studies have found that drinking too much can result in obesity and compromise dental health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following recommendations to help parents with making better health decisions for their children and moderating their juice intake:
- Juice should not be given to children under the age of one because it offers no nutritional benefit.
- If juice is given, intake should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily for toddlers age 1-3. For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily; and for children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
- Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
- Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
- Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness. In addition, fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
- Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.
The best options for children’s health are water and fresh fruit. Fruit juice offers no nutritional advantages when compared to whole fruit. Water is ideal for hydration and offers more benefits. To speak with a doctor at Flushing Hospital Medical Center about your child’s nutrition, please call 718-670-5406.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.