Pediatricians Group Urges Parents to Stop Giving Juice to Babies
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The new guidelines are a revision to previous recommendations that advised parents to avoid giving babies juice before they were 6 months old. Now that timeframe has been expanded to include a child’s first 12 months.
The full set of recommendations, entitled “Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations” is set to be published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics.
In response to the AAP's announcement, the Juice Products Association, an industry group, released a statement supporting the new recommendations while focusing on research indicating that "children who drink juice actually eat more whole fruit than children who don’t drink juice."
"The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans classify one serving of 100% fruit juice as equivalent to one serving of whole fruit," the statement concludes. "One-hundred-percent fruit juice is a nutrient dense beverage, and when incorporated as a complement to whole fruit in the diet for children older than one year, helps to improve fruit intake, especially among populations with limited access to fresh fruit."
In our house, we’ve avoided having juice as a regular beverage for years now, since learning of its potential harm and lack of benefits. We don’t insist that our kids refrain from it entirely—they can have it sometimes as a treat, and I am sure they drink it at friends’ houses, school, and elsewhere, and that’s fine with me. But all in all, they don’t miss it as a regular fixture in the fridge, and are perfectly fine sticking with water most of the time.
Updated 5/23/17 to add response from the Juice Products Association.