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Infants Should Not Drink Fruit Juice, Study Says

US News Health

Fruit juice is a drink many parents may consider to be healthy for their infant, but it may not be as beneficial to their growth and development in the first year of life. Dr. Steve Abrams, a Fellow at the American Academy of Pediatrics, co-authored the study.


He says from the time a child is born until their first birthday, children should only be drinking water, breast milk or instant formula. He said fruit juice doesn’t provide the nutrients a child needs in their first year of life.


"We’re mostly concerned about getting a lot of the sugar that the kids wouldn’t need, and certainly, even some affect on the baby teeth later in the first year," Abrams said. "But also the protein and the minerals and things the baby needs for his or her growth are provided by the milks that they get from breast milk or instant formulas — not by fruit juice. So [the juice] takes the place of what they really need."


Abrams said infants drinking fruit juice has been a tradition in the American diet for a long time and it is something the Academy is seeking to change.


The policy he co-authored says children over the age of one should have fresh fruits in their diet rather than juice because it provides kids with dietary fiber and has less sugar.


"I think that people have always thought that fruit juice is always beneficial and always healthy," Abrams said. "We’re not saying it’s bad for kids over a year of age, we’re just saying it should be very limited. But the idea that babies really don’t benefit from fruit juice and the fruit juice should be limited is an idea that even though it has been out there, it is not very well-known by parents.


Since 2001, the Academy advised against offering fruit juice to children under six months of age but announced the one-year modification to the policy on May 22.