Everybody should eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals—nutrients associated with improved health and longevity. And it’s tempting to believe these benefits extend to 100% fruit juice.
Not so fast, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in an updated statement on fruit juice consumption by infants, children and adolescents. Unless juice contains pulp, it has no fiber. Fiber boosts heart health, improves gastrointestinal function and increases feelings of satiety. And while a 6-ounce glass of juice may contain nutrients like potassium and vitamins A and C, it also has about 14 grams of sugar (just over 1 tablespoon) and 80 calories. A single orange has similar nutrient content plus 3 g of fiber.
What’s more, juice is generally consumed more quickly, in larger quantities, with less impact on fullness and food intake. In its report, the AAP concluded that fruit juice offers no benefit over whole fruit and has no essential role in a child’s healthy, balanced diet.
The AAP advises that children younger than aged 1 consume no juice. If older children occasionally drink juice, it should be limited to 4 ounces for toddlers aged 1–3; 4–6 ounces for children aged 4–6+; and no more than 8 ounces for children aged 7–18.