The new guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics says children shouldn’t drink fruit juice in their first year of life. Previously, fruit juice was off-limits only during their first six months when babies should get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or formula.

Here’s the problem with fruit juice. It might be 100% natural, it might even be organic but it’s still liquid sugar. Sure, there are some vitamins in there, but if you really want your kid to get them you’re better off feeding them the whole fruit. Opposed to drinking just fruit juice, eating the fruit doesn’t give that much of a blood sugar spike thanks to the resistance added by fiber.

Children shouldn’t drink fruit juice¬†during their first year of life

The AAP is imposing stricter rules regarding fruit juice consumption for children so that a one-year-old shouldn’t get more than four ounces a day and kids that are at least seven years old can drink eight ounces at the most.

I like to think I have a decent amount of common sense so I would say that even if you follow the AAP guidelines at the upper value might not be a good idea. After all, why give your seven-year-old eight ounces of fruit juice EVERY DAY? The best way to think of fruit juice is to consider it a treat (not the worst one though) and not a healthy snack. Just give it to your kid occasionally and you’ll be fine. Children will always love anything sugary but they should also have limited access to them. And if your child is not that into sweets you should actually be happy. Your job is exceptionally easy!

Fruit juice does not equal whole fruit

Fruit juice will never be the same as the whole fruit, nutritionally speaking. Besides the fiber contained by whole fruits, they are also less likely to cause tooth cavities.

Actually, fruit juice has about as much sugar and calories as store-bought soda. Of course, the good kinds don’t have food coloring, artificial flavors and other types of shady chemicals that usually lurk in sodas but they can still contribute to obesity. Us grown-ups make no exception.

The AAP hasn’t updated their guidelines since 2001 so the fact that they stepped up now might suggest a high number of parents are fooled by the marketing of fruit juice producers into giving too much of it to their youngsters.

The marketing techniques employed by fruit juice manufacturers can be extremely misleading. Some enrich it with vitamins and make it seem like a health supplement, and others advertise it as an essential part of a balanced diet.

It looks like there are also studies linking increased juice consumption during first years of life to drinking more sugary beverages during adulthood. Even other organizations have taken steps to ensure children don’t drink fruit juice during their first year. For example, in 2010 a private nonprofit called the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies asked that all kinds of fruit juice should not be served to babies before the age of 1 year in federally supported day care centers.

While I definitely agree, I’d say we have even bigger problems to solve. I think we’re all seeing the mind-boggling amount of candies, chocolates and other sweet treats (even home-made ones) that are full of food coloring and other unhealthy substances which are being served to kids these days. Yes, they might be older than one year but I think we can ensure they have much better diets.

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