When many of us were kids, juice was just what kids drank. Juice boxes went in lunch boxes, and that was what kids drank, and people thought it was healthful, because juice is made from fruit. But now we know a little better about nutrition, and that fruit juice is not actually good for kids. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has released an even tighter set of guidelines recommending limiting juice consumption among small children and babies as much as possible.
According to Parents, the AAP says babies under the age of 1 should just not have juice in general. For kids older than 1, the AAP says it’s still best to limit juice consumption. If parents do choose to give kids juice, the AAP recommends not letting them have more than four ounces–half a cup–in a day, and to make sure the juice is served with meals or snacks and in a regular cup, not a sippy cup. That’s because kids who sip juice from sippy cups during the day can be less likely to eat regular food.
Fruit juice has a lot of sugar–even unsweetened juice has a lot of naturally occurring sugar–and kids can wind up consuming too many calories that way.
There’s also not a ton of fiber or nutritional value in a cup of juice, but it fills kids up so they don’t want to eat whole foods. On top of all that, regular juice consumption is linked with a higher risk for cavities, because the sugary juice washing over the teeth regularly can feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. This is why it is a terrible idea to let toddlers take bottles full of juice to bed with them. I don’t know what happens when a toddler gets a cavity, and I’m devoting my entire life right now to avoiding ever having to find out. Teething was bad enough,
“Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants and children and has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets of children,” the AAP said.
Between the ages of 7 and 18, the AAP recommends that kids drink no more than 8 ounces–one cup–per day, so it looks like that big jug of fresh orange juice is about to join the Oreos and Twizzlers in the secret stash of unhealthful food parents keep for themselves and don’t let the kids have.
(Image: iStockPhoto / Nadezhda1906)