Infant nutrition

Fruit juices for children. They seem healthy but they are not


Many children tend to be reluctant to eat fruit, so many parents turn to fruit juices (natural or industrial) as a healthy alternative to a piece of fruit. Although they may have some benefits (they provide vitamin C and phytochemicals), they also have their negative side: they do not contain fiber and they do contain a lot of sugar, which poses a danger to dental health and weight gain. What then would be the way to proceed? Than consumption of fruit juice is it advisable in children according to their age?

The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that fruit juices should NOT be introduced into the infant's diet before one year of age. Infants should consume fruit initially pureed or porridge and, later, crushed and then passed to the texture of pieces, or whole, and not offered in any case in juice. And is that the consumption of fruit juices does not offer nutritional benefits for babies.

From that age, what would be the parameters to follow? What amount would be the most recommended according to the child's age?

-From 1 to 3 years, do not exceed 4 ounces per day (equivalent to 118cc / day)

-From 4 to 6 years, limit to a maximum of 4 to 6 ounces per day (equivalent to 177cc / day)

- From 7 to adolescence, limit to 8 ounces a day (equivalent to 236cc / day)

* Each ounce is approximately 29 grams.

Water and milk should be the primary beverages for children and adolescents, while juices should be a sporadic option due to poor nutritional quality.

In recent years, the excess consumption of sugar in the diet has been the subject of research by the scientific community. There is currently evidence of the negative effect on health in terms of the intake of sugary drinks, as well as the consumption of fruit juices, which has come to be considered as one more sugary drink and is not as beneficial as it seems, despite coming from of the fruit.

It is known that there are diseases that are preventable from childhood and it is well documented that from an early age, diet plays a fundamental role in preventing diseases in adolescence and in adult life.

Currently the Fruit juice They are considered an unhealthy alternative in children's diet, but they are very palatable for the little ones. Parents generally worry that they are part of the daily diet, considering them of great importance in the diet of their children, since they are perceived by the population as healthier beverages because they come from fruit.

When using the blender or juicers, a large amount of vitamins, antioxidants and the natural fiber of the fruit are broken, in addition, at the time of preparation, parents generally add refined sugars to "improve the flavor" or to are more accepted by children, which provides more calories and carbohydrates, favoring poor nutritional practices and the consumption of sugars. Of course, once these are offered without adding sugar, they are often rejected by children, encouraging the consumption of more sugar in addition to what the fruit naturally brings.

On the other hand, there are parents who believe that sweetening natural juices with other sugar alternatives other than refined sugar, such as panela, honey or products known in the market as "light sugar", has some benefit for conception that it provides less sugar, a totally wrong concept that goes beyond reality, it simply continues to be a mixture of water and carbohydrates (sucrose, fructose, glucose and sorbitol).

Fruit juices lack dietary fiber, plus they do not provide nutritional benefits over whole or chunky fruit. On the other hand, they contain a high amount of simple sugars, which provides a large amount of calories and a high intake of them can contribute to inadequate weight gain (overweight or obesity) by displacing the consumption of other foods (including breast milk and / or infant formula) due to the excessive amount of calories it provides.

Not forgetting that they reduce the intake of proteins and fats, increase the risk of an insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals and are associated with chronic diarrhea, intestinal malabsorption, appetite disorders, and last but not least, the risk potential to develop tooth decay.

With regard to industrialized juices, the industry has been in charge of applying marketing strategies whose sole purpose is to sell their products favoring their consumption through labels that involve "vitamin additions" or "energy inputs" and that the eyes of the consumer becomes tempting, "overshadowing" the amount of added sugar and what its consumption entails for health.

To summarize and as a final and very important idea: fruit, better in bites!

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Video: What are the most healthy drinks for my child? (September 2020).