The Dangers of Early Fruit Juices
The American Academy of Pediatrics published in 2001 a recommendation about fruit juices for children. It said that fruit juice should not be given to infants under the age of 6 months. Sixteen years later, due to a wealth of evidence, the AAP have extended this time frame suggesting that fruit juice may do more harm than good in the first 12 months of life.
Parents are so taken by fruit juices themselves. They consider them healthy and natural, rich in vitamins and minerals, and so want them for their own infants and toddlers. When they see commercial products stating they are “100 percent fruit juice”, they might readily believe. However that the juices are vitamin-rich, they also are loaded with sugar and low in other important nutrients, like fiber. There are even fruit juices containing as much as 2 teaspoons of sugar per 100-milliliter serving. Fruit juices may be tasty because of the sugar and calories, but they are not good substitutes for real fresh fruit.
It is without doubt how damaging high-sugar drinks can be for adults, much more for growing babies. One study published in 2015 cited fruit juice as one of the biggest culprits for dental erosion, and other research has linked fruit juice intake to childhood obesity.
Here are some recommendations of the AAP regarding daily intake for kids above one year. For toddlers aged 1 to 3 years, they should be consuming no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice daily, while children aged between 4 and 6 years should consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day. Fruit juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces per day for children and adolescents aged 7 to 18 years.
The AAP guidelines also recommend that toddlers should not be given fruit juice in bottles or sippy cups that allow them to drink freely throughout the day. This exposes their teeth to sugar and can lead to tooth decay. They also strongly discourage the consumption of unpasteurized juice products for children of all ages, and that grapefruit juice should be avoided for children taking any medications due to potentially harmful interactions. Children should also be educated about the benefits of whole fruit consumption over fruit juice.
Connecting Child Nutrition to Oral Health
We work well with your child’s pediatrician in what’s good and what’s not in child nutrition. Come visit us in downtown Seattle for consultations.