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Children under two years of age should not consume foods or drinks with added sugars. Fruits naturally contain sugar (fructose), they are a healthy option and pediatricians recommend that children consume them, although this does not apply to fruit juice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that fruit juice should not be included in the diet of children under one year of age. According to the AAPfruit juice does not offer any nutritional benefit to young children.
“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just contains more sugar and caloriessaid pediatric gastroenterologist Melvin B. Heyman, who directs the UCSF Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program.
Pediatricians point out that breast milk or infant formula is enough for babiesand low-fat or fat-free milk and water are sufficient for older children.
The consumption of fruit juice can even have negative effects on the health of children. It is a drink that lacks dietary fiber and can contribute to excessive weight gain in children.
“Too much fruit juice can lead to excessive weight gain and tooth decay”said pediatrics professor Steven A. Abrams, who co-authored, with Heyman, the AAP statement “Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations.”
Children older than one year can consume fruit juice, although in moderation.
Juice intake should be limited to a maximum of 4 ounces a day for young children ages 1 to 3. For children ages 4 to 6, fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces a day; and for children ages 7 to 18, intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup.
Young children should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sipping cups” that allow them to easily consume juice throughout the day.
Pediatricians suggest that children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and educated about their benefits.
Unpasteurized juice should not be consumed by children. These drinks increase the risk of an infection from infectious bacteria.
Pediatricians rule out that fruit juice is adequate to treat dehydration or diarrhea. They also warn that children taking specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juiceas it can interfere with the effectiveness of drugs.
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