It’s a common misperception that juice is good for kids––it’s commonplace for first time parents to wind up in the juice section of the supermarket reading labels and trying to figure out what juice to serve their kids and even their babies under the age of 12 months.
All things considered, many parents nowadays grew up on sugar-packed juices and beverages such as Tang, Sunny D., and Kool-Aid, so it’s easy to fall for the smart marketing concepts juice makers weave into their packaging––claims that their juice has health benefits, such as a natural source of vitamins and minerals. But don’t be fooled. Whole fruit is the better choice for dietary fiber, as juice still has a higher sugar content, which can lead to an increased calorie consumption and tooth decay.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says in a new guidance statement that kids should drink very little juice, and babies under 12 months of age should not drink juice at all, unless directed by your pediatrician to treat constipation.
Take a look at the following list to help determine an acceptable daily serving size based on age:
Toddlers and preschoolers up to 3 years of age: 4 ounces or less.
Kids aged 4 to 6 years of age: 4 to 6 ounces or less.
Kids 7 years of age and older: no more than 8 ounces a day.
Back in 2001, the academy previously advised parents to wait to offer juice until a child reached 6 months old, but with growing numbers of childhood obesity and concerns about tooth decay, the group published new and stricter guidelines. Dr. Steven A. Abrams, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, and co-author of the policy statement, explains that there are no benefits for babies under the age of 12 months for drinking juice, babies get all the nutrients they need from breast milk and formula in that age category.
Despite this warning, the academy suggests that 100% fresh or reconstituted juice can be part of a balanced diet for children over 1 year old and in moderation. Many fresh juice stores and suppliers can be found in the Ahwatukee area, but water and fresh fruit will always be the best choice.