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Babies under a year old don’t need fruit juice and older kids should take it easy on juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.
Fruit juice is loaded with sugar and can cause tooth decay. And because it tastes so good and is easy to suck down from a bottle or sippy cup, it’s easy for little kids to get too much, the Academy said in new guidance.
“Fruit juice and fruit drinks are easily overconsumed by toddlers and young children because they taste good,” the AAP said in updated advice on fruit juice.
While kids and adults alike need plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, juice is not the best way to get that nutrition, the AAP said.
“Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits for infants younger than 1 year,” it said. Juice is loaded with sugar and calories and doesn't have the fiber that whole fruit has.
“One hundred 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.”
The new guidance:
- Infants don’t need juice unless a doctor says so. Toddlers aged 1 to 3 should get no more than four ounces a day of juice and up to six ounces for kids up to age 6. Kids aged up to 18 need no more than eight ounces a day.
- Don’t give toddlers juice in bottles or sippy cups or at bedtime.
- Instead, encourage children to eat fruit.