By Dr. Deanna Lites

DETROIT (WWJ) – For years, parents have been advised to avoid giving their babies anything to drink other than breast milk or formula while under the age of six months. Now, a children’s health organization is expanding that recommendation.

No fruit juice for all kids under the age of one year — that’s the word from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The concern is that fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit and could potentially replace things that a growing baby needs.

“Breast milk or formula has the carbohydrates, the proteins, and the fats necessary for optimal growth,” Pediatrician Richard So told WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites. “Now, if you replace those nutrients – carbohydrates, fats, proteins – with just sugar and water, which is most fruit juices – your child’s not going to grow.”

Another problem with fruit juice, So said, is it is typically high in sugar, which if consumed too often can pre-dispose a child to become overweight.

The new recommendations state that 100-percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of a diet of children ages 1 and older, but consumption should be limited. For older children, maximum daily intakes should be 4 ounces for children ages 1-3 years, 4-6 ounces for children ages 4-6 years, and 8 ounces for those 7 and older.

Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime, or from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day, according to the report. The excessive exposure of teeth to carbohydrates could lead to tooth decay.

Pediatricians say instead of drinking their fruit, children should be encouraged to eat fresh fruit.

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