Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a new set of guidelines regarding juice intake. Fruit juice has some health benefits as it’s a natural source of different nutrients. However, it can cause excessive weight gain, diarrhea and cavities.
Juice, even 100% fruit juice, has about as much sugar as soda does. Yes, it’s natural, but sugar is sugar and calories are calories. It’s never good to drink a lot of calories because this generally doesn’t make you feel full and satisfied like eating solid foods does. Liquids have a faster gastric emptying time, meaning it doesn’t stay in your stomach as long as food does. Therefore, you’re not going to be as satisfied drinking 100 calories worth of juice compared to eating 100 calories worth of food.
As always, fruit juice is not recommended for infants less than 6 months old. The new guidelines also state that, unless recommended by a physician for a medical reason, infants less than 1 year old should also not be given any juice.
Daily intake for toddlers ages 1-3 should be limited to 4 ounces, and children 4-6 should have a limit of 4-6 ounces. For children 7-18 juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces. In my opinion, this is a good limit for adults as well.
How you're giving juice to your child is almost as important as how much you’re giving them. Juice should never be given in a bottle and a child should never be put to bed or a nap with juice as these habits can lead to cavities. Give juice to your child as part of a meal or snack in a cup. If children are walking around with sippy cups of juice and taking sips throughout the day, this can also lead to cavities as there’s a consistent exposure of sugar to the teeth.
Choose whole fruits over fruit juice. They contain fiber which juice does not (unless it contain pulp), and they can also help with the feeling of fullness unlike juice.