By age one, nearly 90% of all children in the U.S. drink some
form of fruit juice. Although fruit juice is marketed as a
source of vitamins and minerals, the potential drawbacks from
regular juice consumption in early childhood are worthy of
This sentiment is echoed by the authors of a recent study
published in the journal Pediatrics. The authors suggest
that offering juice to infants, especially before solid foods
are introduced into the diet, can result in deficiencies in
protein, fat, vitamins and minerals found in breast milk.
Also, prolonged exposure to the four major sugars found in
most fruit juices (sucrose, glucose, fructose and sorbitol)
can contribute to early dental problems.
In their conclusions, the authors emphasize a number of points
for parents to consider:
- Fruit juice offers little or no nutritional benefit for
infants younger than six months, and no added benefits over
whole fruit for infants older than six months and young
- 100% pure fruit juice or reconstituted juice can be a
healthy addition to a well-balanced diet; however, fruit
drinks (often containing 10% or less of actual juice and
larger quantities of artificial sugar and/or flavor) are
not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice.
- Juice is not considered appropriate in the management
of dehydration or diarrhea.
- Excessive juice consumption is associated with diarrhea,
flatulence, abdominal distention and tooth decay.
- Calcium-fortified juices provide a bioavailable source
of calcium, but lack other important nutrients found in
breast, formula or cow’s milk.
Consult your team of health care professionals before, during
and after pregnancy to ensure that your child grows up healthy
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition.
The use and misuse of fruit juice in pediatrics. Pediatrics
2001: Vol. 107, No. 5, pp1210-13.