“The majority of children in the U.S. consume greater than the recommended amount of juice per day,” says Elizabeth Murray, clinical dietitian at Augusta Health. Too many kids are drinking too much fruit juice and suffering serious health consequences, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to Murray, “Juice provides significantly less vital nutrients than a dairy beverage, so many children end up underconsuming nutrients such as calcium and vitamins — particularly D — and overconsuming sugar.” Problems like malnutrition, tooth decay, obesity, and diarrhea are all too common among kids who overdo sucrose-laden fruit drinks, the academy warns. In its report, the group said 20 percent of American kids are overweight because of too much juice and soda.
It also made these observations:
- Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit for infants under 6 months old. For kids, it contains only trace amounts of nutrients, except vitamin C.
- Parents shouldn’t substitute juice for milk or formula, both of which deliver hefty amounts of calcium — vital for kids’ bones and cells.
- Children ages 1 to 6 should drink no more than six ounces of juice a day; from ages 7 to 18, no more than 12 ounces a day.
“Best beverage choices for your children are 2-3 cups of milk/day and water,” says Murray as a recommendation to parents, as summer is quickly approaching.