According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, consumption of fruit juice should be limited due to its high carbohydrate content. Other studies have linked it to diarrhea, tooth decay and obesity. It is suggested that children (1-4 years olds) can drink 6-8oz of 100% fruit daily, (4-12 years old) can drink up to 8oz per day.
Many children are addicted to fruit juices. Most juices have added sugar and are high in natural sugar. They have empty calories, with few nutrients. It is important to moderate their consumption by slowly weaning them off juices. A few good suggestion are:
– Add water to the juice, to dilute it down.
– Keep water on hand for children between meals instead of juices.
– To flavor water use raw lemon, lime, cucumber, orange or watermelon .
– Set a good example of drinking water yourself, so that your children learn from you.
Understanding labels is very important – do you know what makes 50% fruit juice different than 100% fruit juice and what is added to it? 100% fruit juice means that there is no added sugar and it is natural fructose from the fruit. A label that reads apple and peach drink may only contain 25% fruit juice will have added high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Labels may be masked with “fruit punch, cocktail or juice blends.” Freshly squeezed juice contains more vitamins then canned or frozen juices. Adding ascorbic acid and Vitamin C can mask the sugar content of the juice because it hides the other nutrients that are not included. The key to reading the labels is that it contains 100% fruit juice, no additives, is not from concentrate, and is USDA organic. Organic means that there are no pesticides in the juice.
My favorite 100% pure fruit juices are:
– Orange juice, high in Vitamin C and Potassium
– Grapefruit, second highest in Vitamin C,
– Apricot nectar, high in Vitamin A
– Prune, high in fiber, iron and zinc.