Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for infants and children and has no essential role in the healthy, balanced diets of children, said an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement.
While 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be healthy when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet for children older than 1 year, it offers no nutritional benefit to children under 1 year and should not be included in their diet, reported Melvin B. Heyman, MD, and colleagues from the AAP Committee on Nutrition.
Published in Pediatrics, the statement is the first change in recommendations on fruit juice since 2001.
“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories. Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1,” stated Heyman.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a product must be 100% fruit juice in order to be labeled as fruit juice, and juices that are reconstituted from concentrate must be labeled accordingly. Any beverage that is less than 100% fruit juice must list the percentage of the product that is fruit juice and include a descriptive term, such as “drink,” “beverage,” or “cocktail,” noted the authors.