- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 23 May 2017, 11:04AM
Fruit juice is dangerous for children under one-year-old, health officials have declared.
Until now, experts said babies can start trying the sweet drink from six months old.
But in a new policy published on Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents that the seemingly healthy beverage could be damaging for the entire first year of life.
While fresh fruit contains ample levels of fibre and vitamins, juices are mainly sweetener with fruit flavour - which can send blood sugar levels skyrocketing and trigger obesity, the report explains.
In fact, the AAP says parents should only let their child drink juice if a medical professional prescribes it to treat constipation - and even then, it must be 100 percent fruit juice, not concentrate.
The previous policy said that children aged six months to six years could have up to six ounces a day of fruit juice.
Once they hit seven years old, they could double that quantity.
Since that policy was published in 2006, however, there has been a swell of medical research into fruit juice as a driver of obesity rates and risks for dental care.
Photo / Getty Images
In the new recommendations, AAP researchers urge paediatricians to tell parents to mash up fresh fruit for their children, instead of giving them juice.
Water and milk should be their main - if not only - liquid for young children.
Writing an accompanying commentary, Dr Steven Abrams, incoming chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition, says parents should feel comfortable with feeding limited amounts of 100 percent fruit juice to their older children.
But, he strongly discourages consumption of unpasteurized juice.
"The policy clarifies that there is virtually no role for juice during the first year of life and that expensive juice products designed specifically for infants are not of value," Dr Abrams writes.
"These recommendations, taken together, represent a policy goal of decreasing juice consumption, especially in small children, while ensuring an adequate intake of whole fruits.
"It balances the role of a small amount of 100 percent fruit juice in meeting these intake goals while limiting the exposure to juice and emphasising the key roles of water and milk in a healthy diet.
"It recognises that juice may provide some vitamins — such as vitamin C in orange juice and calcium and vitamin D in some fortified juice products — but lacks the fiber and protein critical for the growth of children."
He adds: "When juice is served to older toddlers, it is important that it not be sipped throughout the day or used to calm an upset child.
"It is not useful for the management of diarrheal illnesses and may predispose infants or young children to the development of hyponatremia."
This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.