Not news that pediatricians recommend against juice. But the news this week is clearer: no juice for babies, only tiny bits for toddlers, and less than a cup a day for the rest of us. Fruit juice is widely thought of as a healthy and natural source of vitamins and hydration. And although I won’t vilify having juice in the diet of an older child, I can’t endorse it’s ever good for a child. Pediatric recommendations for juice got stricter this week. Juice is never really recommended in an a child’s diet past ounces to a cup a day but now it’s recommended as a NEVER during infancy.
Although whole fruit (i.e. an apple or an entire avocado or apricot) is one of the main focus foods in the Dietary Guidelines of Americans, fruit juice may feel a thoughtful substitute, but it’s not. In fact, even 100% fruit juice offers no real nutritional benefit and it’s never needed. The short list for why?
- Juice is just a bunch of water and simple sugars (naturally occurring sugar is sugar) and lacks fiber or protein.
- When you obtain calories from juice you take them in at a faster rate than is ideal. Juice is known to contribute to overweight and excess energy imbalance in children. We don’t need to drink these calories.
- Whole fruit has the advantage of containing quality fiber that’s good for us.