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Is Fruit Juice Safe for Kids?

American Academy of Pediatrics Statement Advises of Possible Gastrointestinal Effects from Fruit Juice

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on consumption of fruit juice by children contains suggestions for daily consumption and a warning that too much fruit juice can cause gastrointestinal and other problems.[1] They define fruit juice as 100% fruit juice labeled to disclose if it comes from concentrate.

For children between the ages of 1 to 6 years old, the AAP nutrition committee recommends fruit juice consumption of no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day, and 8 to 12 ounces for children between the ages of 7 to 18 years old.

The statement further advises:

  1. Fruit juice should not be given to infants before 6 months of age.
  2. After 6 months of age, infants should not get juice from bottles or cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day.
  3. Infants should not get fruit juice at bedtime.
  4. All children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.

The statement cautions that, because fruit juice contains large amounts of carbohydrate, it can lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence if consumed in large quantities.

Water is the predominant component of fruit juice. Carbohydrates, including sucrose, fructose, glucose, and sorbitol, are the next most prevalent nutrient in juice.

In appropriate amounts, the AAP acknowledges that 100% fruit juice can be a healthy part of a child’s diet.

More recently, the AAP has added the recommendation that for children older than six months, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit. Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients. Infants should not be given fruit juice at bedtime, nor as a treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.[2]

1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. The use and misuse of fruit juice in pediatrics. Pediatrics. Vol. 107 No. 5 May 1, 2001 pp. 1210-1213. (doi: 10.1542/peds.107.5.1210)
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Where We Stand: Fruit Juice., Updated 7/9/2014 (Accessed Dec 19, 2014)

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