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Today, I'm gonna talk about fruit juices

When babies start to eat baby food, parents want to feed them various healthy food like fruits, potatoes, mushrooms and such. One of the frequent questions is about if it's okay to feed fruit juice and if so, how much. For our children who have learned the taste of sodas, some may say it's still better to drink fruit juices over sodas. But when seeing children drink too much fruit juice, it starts to become concerned.

Fruit juices have always been recommended because they are tasty and at the same time, provide vitamin C, water, and nutrients. Let's learn more about this, shall we?


Components of juice

Juice is made mostly of water. Second component is carbohydrate. It has relatively low amount of protein and other nutrients. The typical example of another nutrient is vitamin. Different fruits contain different types of vitamins. So vitamins inside juices vary depending on which fruit it's made of. Juices with high calcium additives are seen sometimes, and these juices contain similar level of calcium as milk. Sometimes, vitamin D, which helps bones to absorb calcium better, are contained together for healthier effect. However, fat or cholesterol is rarely found inside. Fibers are also hard to find. Even though fruits contain a lot of fiber, they are destroyed during the blending process.

Is it okay to feed my baby some fruit juice?

I’m not saying you should never. But it's better to avoid feeding fruit juices to babies before they turn 1 year old. When drinking juice, they start to eat less of baby food and powdered formula and the intake of protein, fat and other nutrient that are necessary for growth, start to decrease. Especially under 6months old, feeding juice does not provide a lot of nutrition value. Nutrients from breast milk or baby formula are enough for babies. For babies this young, juice can cause dental cavities. Even if you feed them juice, make sure they drink it out of a cup than a baby bottle. If they are holding a baby bottle with juice inside, the risk of getting cavity becomes increasing.

I've heard that fruit juice gives babies diarrhea. Is that true?

Yes. The most common cause of children's diarrhea is excessive intake of fruit juice. There are different kinds of carbohydrates in juices, and one of them is called sorbitol. It's a type of carbohydrate that is found also in apples, pears, plums and such. Sorbitol, unlike other carbohydrates, is not absorbed in the intestines. If not absorbed by the intestines, it would be excreted as it is. When excreted, it also takes water with it, and it turns into diarrhea. That's why eating too many fruits or drinking too much juice causes diarrhea.


I heard that you shouldn't take medication with fruit juice.

It depends on the kind of medication, and the type of juice. One of the examples is grapefruit. It affects certain medication's activity such as immunosuppressants, lipid lowering agents, etc. It is very rare unless you are taking medication for serious illness. So drinking juice with medication shouldn't be prohibited.

Is it true that too much fruit juice results in obesity?

There are studies saying that excessive fruit juice results in obesity but some say that there is no correlation. Some studies say that 100% fruit juices are okay but the sugar and additives in them cause obesity. There needs to be additional studies and research and it's difficult to make a conclusion at this point.


My children love to drink juice. How much should they drink?

Juice is a good drink for sure. But when drinking too much, it can cause nutritional imbalance, diarrhea and dental cavities like mentioned above. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 110ml for children aged 1 to 3; 110ml to 170ml or children aged 4 to 6; 230ml for children over 7 of juice intakes.
However, fruits, which can provide cellulose are more recommended than fruit juices. It's important for parents to educate their children to eat enough fruits since they are young.

Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations. Pediatrics 2017, e20170967

This is it for fruit juice! If you have any questions, know better posts, or have opinions, please let me know in the comments :)

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