No Juice for Babies According to the AAP

The American Academy of Pediatrics just came out with new recommendations about fruit juice for babies and children, in which they recommend that no juice be given to babies less than 1 year old (unless it is needed to treat constipation). Please visit my article on baby food for ways to raise a healthy child through great nutrition. This article reports the recent worries about fruit juice for babies and children, and the AAP’s recent recommendations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommend:

  • 4 ounces maximum of 100%fruit juice (not fruit drink) to toddlers 1-3 years old.
  • 6 ounces maximum of  pasteurized 100% fruit juice to children 4-6 years old.

 

“No-Juice-for-Babies” Scientific Rationale :

Whole fruits have the following health advantages:

  • They provide Vitamins and minerals.
  • They contain fiber.
  • They lower the risk of heart disease.
  • They may lower the risk of cancer.
  • Eating fruits may lower the chance of your baby and child taking in excess calories for two reasons:
    • They contain fiber which makes your child feel full.
    • It takes longer to eat a piece of fruit than it does to drink juice so your baby will feel when he is full and stop.

 

Fruit Juices, on the other hand:

  • Even 100% fruit juices provide no nutritional advantage over whole fruit.
  • They do not contain fiber.
  • They are easy and fast to drink which could lead to your baby and child taking in too many calories and overweight.

 

“Fruit drinks” that are sold as “fruit juice”:

  • Are mainly water and sugars with some Vitamins and calcium. They contain small, varying amounts of real fruit juice.
  • Do not contain fiber.
  • Take less time for your baby drink than eating the whole fruit which may lead to taking in too many calories by the baby or toddler and overweight.

 

Why no juice for babies less than one year of age:

  • Infants less than a year only need breast milk and/or formula for all their nutritional and fluid requirements.
  • Offering fruit juice to younger infants (less than a year) may cause them to take less breast milk or formula. This leads to them not getting enough of the vital nutrients they need to grow such protein and fat. They also get less Vitamins and minerals such as, Calcium, Zinc and Iron. Malnutrition and short stature have been associated with babies taking too much juice.
  • In young babies who are given too much juice the sugars become difficult to absorb and may lead to diarrhea, gassiness, tummy aches and bloating. The unabsorbed sugars:
    • Draw water into the baby’s intestines causing loose stools.
    • Get fermented by the normal bacteria in the intestines producing gas and acids which lead to gassiness, bloating and diarrhea.

 

Instead of fruit juice the recommendation is to give your baby one or two servings of the whole fruit depending on his age.

For toddlers, the recommendation is to limit fruit juice to 4 ounces(120ml) 100% pasteurized fruit juice per day. It is much better for them to eat the whole fruit than the juice.

Why restrict fruit juice in toddlers and older children?

  • Toddlers and older children just need clean water or low fat/nonfat milk to give them their fluid requirements.
  • Toddlers and older children may prefer the sweet taste of juice to low fat milk leading to them getting less protein, Vitamins and Calcium than they need and cause undernutrition.
  • Drinking juice does not take as much time as eating the fruit leading to many toddlers and children drinking more than the recommended amounts of juice. The extra calories they get from the juice may lead to overweight as the excess calories get turned to fat.
  • The extra sugar in the juice may lead to cavities especially if the toddler is given juice in a bottle, is allowed to carry it around the house and drink from it constantly or is allowed t to sleep with it.
  • The lack of fiber in juices leads to the sugar getting absorbed very quickly. This causes sharp rises in blood sugar which leads to large amounts of Insulin being released which lowers the blood sugar quickly and makes your toddler or child hungry soon after drinking the juice. This roller coaster of blood sugar is dangerous in the long run as it causes overeating, overweight and Insulin resistance which is the precursor to diabetes.

My goal is to help you raise health holistic children. Toward that goal, I will regularly notify you of updates from the medical and scientific literature, explain them, and share my opinion here on this blog. 

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you make your own baby food? Tell us about it!
Please post your comments and questions below.

To your Holistic health,

Ask Dr. Linda

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Resources:

American Academy of Pediatrics Press Release, May 2017:
https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Recommends-No-Fruit-Juice-For-Children-Under-1-Year.aspx