A new policy statement released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends some children should be consuming less 100 percent juice products than previously advised.
The new policy, titled “Fruit Juice in Infants, Children and Adolescents: Current Recommendations,” recommends that 100 percent fruit juice should not be provided to children younger than 1 year of age, with the exception of cases in which there is a strong clinical basis for use in the management of constipation. The previous version of the policy, written in 2001 and reaffirmed several times subsequently, had suggested infants could begin consuming juice at around six months of age.
For children aged 1-3 years, the new AAP statement recommends a maximum daily intake of 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice products. For children ages four to six years old, the new policy suggests a limit of 4 to 6 ounces per day; for children between the ages of seven and 18, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces, down from 12 ounces, or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2.5 cups of daily fruit servings.
While noting that fruit juice has historically been recommended by pediatricians as a source of vitamin C, the AAP statement cited high sugar content, along with a lack of protein and fiber, as potential detrimental effects of excessive juice consumption in children. Adding to concerns, data from 2008 to 2013 revealed that children two to 18 years of age consume nearly half of their fruit intake as juice.
“Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants and children and has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets for children,” read the second of nine conclusions included at the end of the policy statement.
As such, the statement recommends that “children should be encouraged to eat whole fruit to meet their recommended daily fruit intake and should be educated regarding the benefit of fiber intake and the longer time to consume the same…