Juice might seem like a staple of childhood diets. When’s the last time you drank apple juice out of an apple-shaped container as an adult? But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, juice might not be as sensible a choice for children as you think, and according to new guidelines, children under 1-year-old shouldn’t be given juice at all unless advised by a doctor (to help with a medical issue like constipation).
Previously, the AAP had given the okay on juice for kids as young as six months, but according to Dr. Steven A. Abrams who co-authored the new policy statement, rising rates of obesity and concerns about cavities led his organization to make the change. “We couldn't really see any reason why juice was still part of the potential recommendation for 6- to 12-month-old kids,” he was quoted as saying by CNN. “We recommend breastfeeding or formula in that age group, and there really isn't any need or beneficial role for juice, so we kind of made that adjustment.” He added that the change wasn’t based on “some magical new science,” but instead happened because the guideline, which was last changed in 2001, “hadn't been looked at in a long time, so we thought it was time to take a close look.”
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Infants aren’t the only ones who should be drinking less juice either. The new guidelines also cut back on the amount of juice recommended for children of all ages. Kids between the ages of one and three shouldn’t consume more than 4 ounces of juice per day, down from previous recommendation of 4 to 6 ounces. Meanwhile, from the age of seven onward, children shouldn’t drink more than 8 ounces of juice per day, down from the previous recommendation of 8 to 12 ounces. And keep in mind, these numbers are only for 100 percent fruit juices. If a juice has added sugar, kids probably shouldn’t be consuming it at all.
Instead, the APP suggests that kids eat fruit, not drink it. The group writes that it “recognizes that juice may provide some vitamins — such as vitamin C in orange juice and calcium and vitamin D in some fortified juice products — but lacks the fiber and protein critical for the growth of children.” So next time, instead of apple juice, give your child an apple – and no, if the container is in the shape of an apple, it doesn’t count.