Consumption of fruit juice has increased drastically within recent years as children and adolescents continue to be the highest consumers. An excessive amount of juice consumption can lead to not only an increase in calories, but also an increased risk for childhood obesity and dental caries.
Fruit juice can include minimal nutrients such as protein, minerals, and vitamins, and little to no dietary fiber. Children and adolescents are consuming nearly half of their fruit intake through consumption of fruit juice and are missing all the wonderful benefits whole fruits provide. Whole fruits are vital in providing dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C!
If your children are consuming a high amount of fruit juice, here are some things that you should consider along with different suggestions!
Check the label to ensure that the fruit juice contains 100 percent fruit juice. Beverages that have only 25-50 percent fruit juice are considered sugar-sweetened beverages made with added-sugars.
Follow these intake guidelines from the the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- children 1-3 years of age should limit 100 percent fruit juice to 4 ounces per day
- children between 4-6 years of age should limit intake to 6 ounces per day
- children 7-18 years of age should limit intake to 8 ounces per day.
Fruit juice should not be introduced until after 12 months of age. Instead of offering fruit juice, whole fruits should be introduced into the diet. Offer water and/or fruit-infused water instead of fruit juice when children are thirsty.
If providing fruit juice, it is best to offer juice as part of a meal or a snack while seated at a table. Offer fruit juice in a cup to avoid dental cavities (i.e. no bottles or transportable covered cups). Infants and children should not be given juice at bedtime.
Written by Priscilla Clayton
Priscilla Clayton is a first-year Ph.D. student, receiving her doctorate degree in Dietetics and Nutrition under a McNair Scholar Fellowship at Florida International University. She has received her master’s degree at FIU and her bachelor’s degree at Abilene Christian University in Texas in both Dietetics and Nutrition. She is a new volunteer for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital for the clinical nutrition team. She currently works as a Research Assistant for the Miami MASH Cohort at FIU, assessing both HIV and HIV/HCV-co-infected individuals and how drug, alcohol, and other external factors may affect the risk for liver fibrosis.
Heyman MB, Abrams SA. Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations. Pediatr. 2017;139(6):e20170967.
United States Department of Agriculture; ChooseMyPlate: All About the Fruit Group. Washington, DC. Available at: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit.
US Department of Health and Human Services; US Department of Agriculture. 2015–2020 Dietary guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. Available at: http:// health.gov/dietaryguidelines /2015/guidelines/.