It may surprise you to hear that over consumption of juice can contribute to obesity. A recent study of small children found that those who consumed more than 12 ounces a day were more overweight than other children. While this study is not conclusive evidence, it is worthy of mention. It is not uncommon, for children to want to drink juice all day long. For children, juice can be a refreshing drink, but drinking too much is not good. Along with a potential link to obesity, juice can replace healthier foods, cause diarrhea and promote tooth decay.
100% Juice in moderate servings can be perfectly fine for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics has the following recommendation about juice:
- Children under 6 years old, should not drink more than 4-6 ounces (1/2 – 3/4 cup) of juice per day.
- Juice can be introduced at 8 months old.
- Never put juice in a bottle, offer it in a cup.
- Use only 100% juice diluted 50/50 with water.
- Avoid unpasteurized juices until over the age of 12 months.
Juice should not be considered a substitute for your child’s need for fresh fruit. When compared to fresh fruit, juice lags behind nutritionally. 100% juice does contain some vitamins and minerals, but far less than whole fruit. Whole fruit also contains fiber, which is not present in juice.
If you have a picky eater, pay special attention of the amount juice this child drinks. She may be filling her tummy with juice, leaving no room for healthier foods.
If you think your child drinks too mcuh juice you can reduce the amount slowly by dilute servings with water. And remember, water and milk (cow, soy or rice) are the healthiest drink choices for your child.