Parents should avoid offering fruit juice to infants under one, unless advised by a doctor, as it provides “no nutritional benefit” and may harm their oral and general health. This is the according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Concerns have been raised about the health effects of fruit juice intake among children. 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.
Previous guidelines on fruit juice consumption from the AAP recommended that fruit juice should not be given to infants under the age of six months. The AAP has extended this time frame, based on a wealth of evidence that suggests that fruit juice may do more harm than good in the first 12 months of life. The new policy statement was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.
When you see a bottle stating that the contents are 100% fruit juice, you might assume that the beverage is a healthy alternative to whole fruit, but this is not the case.
While some fruit juices are naturally high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium, they are also high in sugar and low in other important nutrients, such as fibre. In fact, a 2016 study found that some fruit juices contain as much as two teaspoons of sugar in a 100ml serving. The new AAP policy statement reflects these concerns by presenting a number of recommendations to limit children’s fruit juice consumption.