Pediatricians Advise Parents: No Fruit Juice for Kids Under 1

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that fruit juice should not be given to children under 1 year old. [1]

The new guidance replaces the group’s previous recommendation of no fruit juice for children under 6 months. The AAP has also recommended limits in the past for older infants and children.

One of the reasons for the change is that fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit for very young children, the organization said in a statement published online on May 26, 2017 in the journal Pediatrics.

The AAP says it’s still acceptable to give small amounts of fruit juice to older children. Still, if given the option, parents should give their kids whole fruit, which has less sugar and more fiber, instead. Dr. Steven Abrams, co-author of the new report and chair of pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin, said likewise, consuming too much fruit juice can cause weight gain and tooth decay.

Read: Fruit & Veggie Consumption While Young Reduces Cancer Risk Later

“The problem is, parents will stick a bottle or sippy cup in the kid’s mouth and kind of leave it there all day. That’s not good from the calorie-intake perspective, and it’s sure not good for the teeth. What happens is, the kid then gets used to all the sugar, and then they won’t drink water.” [2]

Read: “Healthful” Fruit Juice may Have More Sugar than Soda

Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, co-author of the new guidelines and director of the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at the University of California, San Francisco, said:

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories. Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.” [1]

Actually, fruit juice isn’t necessary for any children, the academy pointed out.

Additional Recommendations

  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 years old should consume no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice per day. Juice should be served in a cup, not a bottle or box, as they make it easier to drink juice all day, AAP’s recommendations state. [2]
  • Parents should restrict fruit juice to 4-6 oz. for children between 4 and 6.
  • Children between 7 and 18 should have no more than 1 cup of juice a day, which accounts for 1 of the recommended daily 2-2.5 cups of fruit.
  • The academy discourages unpasteurized juice products, and says grapefruit juice should not be given to children taking ibuprofen, flurbiprofen, warfarin, phenytoin, fluvastatin and amitriptyline, because they it interferes with the medications’ effects. [2]
  • The organization says fruit juice is not an appropriate treatment for dehydration or diarrhea.

Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City who did not participate in the recommendations, noted that many people incorrectly think that fruit juice is rich in vitamins.

“When you isolate fruit into a liquid form, you’re mostly getting sugar water, and it’s easy to consume excess calories in liquid form, and those calories can add up, and they’re void of any protein or fiber, which is usually what helps keep people satiated.

Another common mistake that people make is believing that fruit drinks and fruit juice percentage are one in the same. The truth is, fruit drinks don’t contain 100% juice, and are flavored with added sugars. They fall into the category of sugar-sweetened beverages, right beside soda, energy drinks and sports drinks, some smoothies, and coffee drinks. [3]

Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other poor health outcomes.


[1] Live Science

[2] CNN

[3] NPR

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100% Fruit Juice: A Healthy Drink for Kids, or Liquid Candy?

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that drinking one serving a day of 100% fruit juice is linked to a slight weight gain in children age 6 or younger, but no weight gain in children age 7 or older. [1]

Health experts and nutritionists have been concerned that the content of naturally-occurring sugars in fruit juices can cause obesity and other health problems in youngsters.

In order to make 8 ounces of orange juice, for example, 4 to 5 medium oranges are needed; and each orange contains about 9 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association says that children and teens should consume no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week. [1] [4]

Read: “Healthful” Fruit Juice May Have More Sugar than Soda

Dr. Brandon Auerbach, a primary care physician and instructor at the University of Washington’s Division of General Internal Medicine in Seattle, says:

“I think caution is definitely in order and that when possible, parents should give whole fruit to kids, instead of fruit juice.

I share the concern that 100% fruit juices have a lot of sugar, even though it’s naturally occurring sugar. There are other health concerns about drinking 100% fruit juice, besides weight gain, especially related to risk of cavities and risk of future metabolic syndrome or diabetes.” [1]

The Study

The study was a systemic review and meta-analysis of 8 previous observational studies on 100% fruit juice consumption and weight gain among children, based on their body mass indexes (BMIs).

Among children ages 1 to 6, consumption of one daily serving of 100% fruit juice was associated with 0.3 pounds of weight gain or less over on year. In kids age 7 and older, the juice consumption was not associated with any weight gain.

Dr. Dean Schillinger, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the study, says:

“While the amount of annual weight gain may be small … two points should be made.”

He explains:

“For a 5-year-old, 40-pound girl, consuming 4 to 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice daily for a year will be associated with her gaining an extra quarter-pound, compared to if she had not been drinking that juice.”

Schillinger adds that:

“the effect of daily consumption appears to be amplified the longer a young child is exposed to daily fruit juice. Consuming fruit juice daily for two years was associated with a significantly greater amount of weight gain.”

To put it in simpler terms, the study does not show that gaining a quarter-pound due to fruit juice consumption over 2 years causes a half-pound weight gain. Rather, it suggests that there is a risk of much greater weight gain with prolonged fruit juice consumption.

Says Schillinger:

“This study determined that the individual effect on obesity was ‘clinically small.’ However, they acknowledge that, from a population health standpoint, such small changes may, in fact, have important public health implications with respect to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. The evolving consensus is that children should not be exposed to fruit juices, especially in the first 6 years of life.”

Additionally, the researchers write, even though weight gain in children ages 2 to 6 was not clinically significant, individual studies in the analysis pointed to clinically significant weight gain in children under age 2.

The Value of Whole Fruit

Source: Fooducate

Ironically, some of the same foods that can prevent diseases like type 2 diabetes can also cause them if consumed in juice form. Take blueberries, grapes, and apples, for example. Eating these fruits lowers your risk of diabetes; but greater consumption of fruit juice, in general, is associated with a greater likelihood of developing the disease, according to Harvard University researchers.

Read: WHOLE Foods Harness Amazing Protective Properties

Whole fruit contains fiber, phytonutrients like antioxidant-rich carotenoids, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and vitamins and other nutrients that you simply can’t get in a glass of juice because it doesn’t include the skin or pulp. [5]

Many store-bought fruit juices have added sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup, so juicing at home is better.


[1] CNN


[3] Spark People

[4] American Heart Association

[5] The Daily Meal

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