Less than a year ago the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new policy statement changing their recommendations for fruit juice for the first time since 2001. So, what changed in the dozen or so years since the last policy change? Now, the AAP recommends that children are even older before drinking fruit juice.
Previously, AAP guidelines said it was okay for children 6 months of age and older to have fruit juice. Now, however, they’ve increased this age to 1 year old citing that fruit juice is “unnecessary” for children under 1 year of age. They explain that infant formula or breastmilk is perfectly sufficient to meet infant’s needs and that fruit juice simply provides extra sugar and calories that these children don’t need. Not only can too much fruit juice increase the risk of childhood obesity, but it also has implications for dental health and cavity development.
For children over the age of 1, the AAP provides more specific guidelines on the amount of juice they should receive. For toddlers, ages 1-3, fruit juice should be limited to 4 ounces per day or less. For children, ages 4-6, this amount increases to a limit of 4-6 ounces per day or less. Children 7-18 years old should receive 8 ounces of fruit juice per day or less.
Fruit juice can be part of a balanced diet, the AAP contends, in moderation. If parents do give their children fruit juice they should ensure it’s 100% fruit juice, and not a “flavored fruit beverage”. Overall, the AAP recommends that children meet their fruit needs through whole fruit if possible.
Read the full AAP statement here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/139/6/e20170967