Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Juice Healthy for Kids?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated recommendations for juice intake in children on Monday, May 22, 2017. This is the first update to the juice guidelines since 2001. Today, we're covering a few of the questions I've received from parents. Is juice a healthy beverage for kids?

What do the new guidelines state?

The APP guidelines encourage parents to limit fruit juice provided to kids. Here is a summary of the new recommendations:

            No juice before age 1

            For toddlers ages 1-3, up to 1/2 cup per day (4 ounces)

            For children ages 4-6, up to three-quarters cup per day (6 ounces)

            For children and teens ages 7-18, up to 1 cup per day (8 ounces)

Why isn't juice healthy for children under one year of age?

Juice is not a necessary part of a healthy diet. Infants can meet there fluid and calorie needs with breastmilk or infant formula.

What are possible negative effects of giving juice to your children before the age of one?

Juice is high in sugar and low in fiber. It’s easy to drink too many calories when you drink sugary beverages. If you take in excess calories, this leads to weight gain. Excess calories from beverages decreases intake of other vitamin and mineral-rich foods. Drinking sugary beverages also promotes tooth decay and cavities.

What ingredients should parents be looking out for in juice?

I always encourage people to read the nutrition facts label. Look for 100% juice with no added sugar. Check the ingredients on the food label, which should contain fruit juice.

What are common mistakes parents make with juice? 

Many parents believe juice is a healthy beverage. Often people assume that juice has the same nutritional benefits as whole fruits and vegetables. However, it takes 3-4 medium-sized oranges to make one cup of juice. Juice is high in sugar and often lacks pulp or fiber. One cup (8 ounces) of juice contains 6-7 teaspoons of sugar! As a registered dietitian, I would encourage parents to offer their children whole fruits and vegetables, which have both the vitamins and fiber that children need.

What are some healthy beverage substitutes for juice?

Our bodies are primarily water, and we loss water throughout the day, so water should be our primary beverage.

Low fat milk is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is important for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is especially important for children because of growth spurts. After 2 years of age, offer your child low fat milk, which is 1% or skim milk. If your child does not tolerate dairy products, I encourage low fat, low sugar dairy alternatives. 

Let me know if you have any more questions on the new juice recommendations for kids. Comment below. You can read more on the American Academy of Pediatrics' website and the journal article. You can also watch the television spot here. Thank you for having me Fox Good Day!

Remember that I am a registered dietitian, not your personal registered dietitian (RD). Please check with your child's pediatrician or personal RD before making a dietary change. Everyone is unique. Different people have different dietary needs. To find a RD in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' website to find an expert near you.

For more tips, encouragement, and recipes for a healthy lifestyle, you can follow me on FacebookPinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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