Juice: too much of a good thing
The AAP feels pretty strongly about juice, and not much of it is a strong good feeling. The "Committee on the Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics" (which sounds to me like something out if Harry Potter's Ministry of Magic!) has stated that juice is overused, and can cause potential bad things. But I'll tell you, heading to the baby aisle at my local grocery store, is quite an eye-opener. There is soooo much juice there that you have to figure that kids need the stuff, right?
Well, maybe. If you've surfed enough of this website, you know I'm not going to be a juice cheerleader.
In defense of juice:
Juices that have ascorbic acid in them (you have to read the ingredients) can help with iron absorption if you drink them when you are eating food with iron in it.
The vitamin C in fruit juice can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
It can help fix constipation because it causes diarrhea.
Fruit juice is not the same as a fruit drink-- fruit juices are better for you than fruit drinks, which are not good for you at all.
All the other stuff:
Juice started before 6 months of age is not necessary and can interfere with a child's hunger for food with real nutrition. If you are breastfeeding, there is nothing that the baby needs besides breastmilk. If you are formula feeding and the baby is constipated, then juice is what I use as a medicine to treat the constipation. All other excuses for juice in the diet are not valid. Don't give it. Don't buy it.
Kids older than 6 months of age still don't need juice.
It can mess up their new incoming teeth, can replace good foods with nutrition in them, and cause diarrhea. Excessive intake has been linked to short stature.
If you decide to give juice, use it as a way to get kids off the bottle. Put it in a cup. And as a practical tip, don't put it in a spill-proof cup-- those were invented for us, not our kids. If you are a kid and have never used a cup, the mechanism you need to get stuff out of a spill-proof cup is going to be too hard to figure out. Let it spill on them so that they figure out how the thing works. Then go to the spill proof. Come to think of it, since I am advocating making a mess, use water, not juice.
If you give juice, don't give more than 4-6 ounces a day. And make it as part of a snack and not something that the kids get to walk around with all day. They don't eat a whole lot of calories every day. They are really, really good (if they are left alone to regulate their intake) at taking in enough calories to grow. If a bunch of those calories come from juice, we have not done them any nutritional favors.
If you are giving juice for the vitamin C, give mashed or pureed fruit. Real fruit.
If you are going to give juice
More diet stuff
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