Parents should avoid giving fruit juice to children under the age of 1, according to new guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Previously the academy advised parents to avoid giving fruit juice to infants under the age of 6 months, but that time frame was expanded in response to rising rates of obesity and concerns about dental health.
“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Melvin Heyman, the co-author of the policy statement. “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”
The new recommendations also call for limiting the juice intake to 4 ounces daily for toddlers ages 1-3; 4-6 ounces for children ages 4-6 and 8 ounces for children ages 7-18.
The academy added that children who take certain forms of medication should not drink grapefruit juice because it can interfere with its effectiveness.
The new guidelines emphasize that "children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be educated about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice, which lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain."