"The label says it’s 100% real fruit juice."
"It's organic and full of vitamins."
"It's all natural with no sugar added. Besides, it’s better than drinking soda, right?"
Sound familiar? These are some of the statements I hear from parents when discussing how much juice their child drinks. Clearly, juice companies are doing an excellent job marketing their products, but here is the real truth from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the amount of juice that children should drink:
- Younger than 6 months old: No fruit juice.
- 6 months to 1 year: Eat whole fruits instead of juice. Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruits.
- 1 to 6 years: Limit juice to 4 to 6 ounces per day and try to eat 5 servings of fruit or vegetables daily.
- 7 to 18 years: Limit juice to 8 to 12 ounces per day and try to eat 5 servings of fruit or vegetables daily.
Drinking juice does not need to be a part of your child's normal daily diet. Low-fat milk and water are the healthiest beverage options for your child, with the exception of children age 1 to 2 years who should drink whole milk.
I urge my patients and their families to go one step further and limit sweet drinks, including juice, to occasional treats or, better yet, to eliminate them completely from their household. Too much juice contributes not only to obesity, but also tooth decay, cavities and poor nutrition. Whole fresh fruits and vegetables are far better sources of vitamins and fiber, which are necessary for a healthy diet.
Ada Fenick, MD, FAAP
Erin Nozetz, MD, FAAP