Drop the juice, say pediatricians: Give the kids fruit instead

For Americans between the ages of 2 and 18, almost half the fruit they consume is in the form of juice. Cut that out, the American Academy of Pediatrics is telling their parents.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some new advice about juice: Kids should resist the urge to drink it.

If you’re craving something fruity and refreshing, try eating a piece of fruit instead. If you’re thirsty, you can wash it down with some water.

Sure, juice has some things going for it. It can be an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium, among other nutrients. It also contains antioxidants, which may help ward off cancer and cardiovascular disease.

All those things are true about fruit as well — plus it contains fiber. That’s good for you because it helps keep your blood sugar in check, reduces cholesterol and cleans your colon. And it can help prevent unwanted weight gain, since it takes much longer to eat a piece of fruit than it does to drink the juice it contains.

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Fruit also beats juice when it comes to fighting tooth decay. When kids carry around sippy cups with juice — or worse, take it to bed with them in a bottle — their teeth are continuously exposed to carbohydrates. That leads to cavities.

Despite all this, juice remains a popular beverage for kids and teens. For Americans between the ages of 2 and 18, almost half the fruit they consume is in the form of juice.

That needs to change, pediatricians say. The Academy’s position statement, released Monday, boils it down succinctly: “Fruit juice offers no nutritional advantage over whole fruit.”

Here’s a look at the new advice and how it breaks down for kids of different ages:

Infants younger than 6 months

No juice at all. Zip. Zilch.

For about the first six months of life, the only thing that should pass an infant’s lips is breast milk or infant formula. (The Academy prefers breast milk…

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