Too much sugar in fruit juices is hurting children’s teeth and health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday updated its guidelines on fruit juice, recommending that parents give no juice to babies under 1, and heavily limiting the amount of juice they recommend for older kids.
The updated guidelines come as nutritionists and dentists alike worry about obesity and dental problem caused by a childhood filled with too much sugar.
Here's what the AAP is suggesting—
Babies 0-1: No fruit juice for children 1 and under.
Toddlers age 1-3: Intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces daily.
Children age 4-6: Fruit juice should be restricted to 4 to 6 ounces daily.
Children ages 7-18: Juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
Pro tips: Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups" that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay, as well.
What's a mama to do instead?
1. Reach for whole fruits and vegetables instead
The AAP notes, “Fresh fruit is preferable for older children because it provides dietary fiber and less sugar than juice."
2. Stay close to the juice/ food source
Serve 100-percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice rather than processed juiced with added sugar.
3. Offer your kids plenty of water
The experts also offer low-fat/nonfat milk as an alternate fluid options.
4. Try low sugar smoothies
If you're been relying on fruit drinks to get healthy foods to your picky eater, try instead a low-sugar smoothie with ingredients like unsweetened almond/ coconut milks, and fruits like frozen blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. By blending the whole ingredients together, your little one gets the full benefit of fiber and all the vitamins and minerals of fruits + vegetables.
Pro tip: Just be sure to brush their teeth afterwards to prevent decay on those little chompers.