One of the best aspects of science is that scientists are always learning something new and finding novel solutions to common, ongoing problems. In this search for knowledge, medical and dental scientists often establish new health behavior guidelines based on evidence and research that emerges over time. As practitioners, we believe it’s our duty to pass along this new information to the general public and our patients to help spread new knowledge and give people the best chance to live a healthier life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their recommendations for the first time since 2001 and established new guidelines for the consumption of fruit juice in infants, children, and adolescents. The new recommendations state that children under the age of 1 should not be given fruit juice of any kind. Toddlers between the ages of 1-4 should be given only up to 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day. Between the ages of 4-6, this amount increases to 6 ounces. Children ages 7-18 can be given up to 8 ounces of 100% fruit juice a day, according to the new guidelines.
The other major recommendation unveiled by the AAP is that parents should refrain from using ‘sippy cups’ when feeding children juice, as these cups prolong the amount of time that teeth are in contact with the sugar present in fruit juice. The presence of sugar in the mouth enables acid-producing bacteria to thrive and eat away at the enamel that protects our teeth.
In the end, pediatricians are urging parents to consider feeding children whole fruits rather than giving them any fruit juice at all. “Pediatricians should support policies that seek to reduce the consumption of fruit juice and promote the consumption of whole fruit by toddlers and young children.”
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