New fruit juice guidelines include big change for babies

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Previous recommendations said parents should wait to give their babies juice until after six months, but its latest update is suggesting that they wait one year.

"Historically, fruit juice was recommended by pediatricians as a source of vitamin C and as an extra source of water for healthy infants and young children", the new recommendation says.

Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised that to avoid feeding fruit juice to infants up to 6 months of age.

The Academy said it chose to extend the guidelines through the first year because of rising obesity rates and growing concerns about cavities.

"We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children", says Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and an author of the guidelines, which were published Monday in Pediatrics.

When you do serve juice, stick with 100 percent fruit juices. The new advice indicates that fruit juice should not be provided to children younger than 1 year of age unless there is a strong clinical basis for it in the management of constipation. Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body.

Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, four ounces (113.3 gram) daily for toddlers age 1-3, according to the recommendations.

Families should be educated that human milk and/or infant formula is sufficient to satisfy fluid requirements for infants, and low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children.

"Parents feel their infants need fruit juices, but that's a misconception", she said.

By age 7, children typically consume less juice, so there's less for parents to worry about.

Drinking unpasteurized juice drinks is discouraged for all ages. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime. Now, they have extended the earlier recommendation up to a year which means that babies should not be given fruit juice any time during their first year of birth. She recommends eating whole fruit for vitamins instead.

Routinely discuss the use of fruit juice vs. fruit drinks, and educate older children and parents about the differences.

Some studies have found an association between heavy juice consumption - in excess of 12 ounces per day - and obesity.

"There's just no need for fruit juice in infancy", said Dr.

Grapefruit juice should be avoided in those taking certain medications (see policy). "We have to take a step back and realize that there are harmful consequences to children consuming large amounts of juice". "High sugar content in juice contributes to increased calorie consumption and the risk of (cavities)".