New fruit juice guidelines include big change for babies

Kids love their juice, but new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advise parents to pull back on fruit juices of all kinds for children of all ages.

It’s the first update to the group’s guidelines on fruit juice for kids in 16 years. One of the biggest changes is the recommendation that parents avoid giving fruit juice at all during a baby’s first year of life. Previous recommendations said fruit juice was OK after six months.

The AAP’s latest advice on fruit juice is broken down by age group:

Babies from birth to age 1

Breast milk or infant formula should be the only nutrient fed to infants until approximately 6 months of age, according to the new guidelines, published Monday the journal Pediatrics.

“There is no nutritional indication to give fruit juice to infants younger than 6 months,” the authors write, noting that if a baby fills up on juice it could sideline other important nutrients they need for healthy growth, including the protein, fat, calcium and iron that come in breast milk and formula. They warn that drinking too much juice early in life can even stunt a child’s growth.

After 6 months, parents can introduce fruit, but not in the form of juice. Instead, offer infants ready for solid foods whole fruits that have been mashed or pureed.

Toddlers ages 1 to 4

Children ages 1 to 4 need one cup of fruit a day, and up to 4 ounces of that can come from 100 percent fruit juice, the recommendations say.

“Four ounces of juice is a half a cup. It’s a very small amount, like a Dixie cup,” Kristi King, a clinical dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital, told CBS News.

“In the past, we’ve always said generally 6 to 8 ounces per day and we weren’t really focusing on the age group. The new recommendations are much more tangible,” said King.

When you do serve juice, stick with 100 percent fruit juices. (If the label calls it a fruit “drink,” “beverage” or “cocktail,” that’s a sign it is not 100 percent juice.)  Many beverages look like fruit…

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