Experts Recommend Kids Drinks Less Fruit Juice

While giving your child fruit juice may seem like a good idea—after all, it’s fruit!—the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting how much juice your child drinks. The AAP recently released a policy statement on the topic of kids and juice.

According to the statement, the AAP recommends:

  • Infants younger than 12 months of age shouldn’t have juice at all.

  • Children ages 1 through 3 should consume no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice per day.

  • Children ages 4 through 6 should consume no more than 6 ounces of fruit juice per day.

  • Children ages 7 through 18 should consume no more than 8 ounces of fruit juice per day.

The Truth About Juice

Fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals. It can help reduce the risk for heart disease, potentially protect against cancer, and prevent you from consuming too many calories.

Fruit juice, however, is far from perfect. It doesn’t have fiber, which is found in whole fruits. Fruit juice is also high in sugar, which can lead to weight gain and cavities. And since fruit juice tastes good, it’s easy for kids to take in too many calories from juice, which can set the stage for obesity.

The Takeaway 

If your child is at least 12 months old and enjoys drinking juice, you don’t have to eliminate it completely. Try to stick to the recommended amounts from the AAP. In addition, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to what you put in your kids’ cups:

  • If you offer your children juice, make sure it’s 100 percent fruit juice. Juice that’s labeled as “drink,” “beverage,” or “cocktail” isn’t made entirely of fruit.

  • Encourage your children to eat whole fruits.

  • Don’t give unpasteurized juice to infants, children, or adolescents—it may contain bacteria that can make children sick.

  • If your children drink juice, avoid giving it to them in a bottle or sippy cup that allows them to easily drink it throughout the day. In addition, don’t offer juice at bedtime.