Hidden Dangers of Fruit Juice

cecaff_127f1a34b11d4fca820f4477ba7f4b98Fruit juice is one of the most common drinks given to children. Did you know that it could actually be harming your child? Just this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents that children under the age of 1 should not be given fruit juice at all.  They reported that too large of quantities of juice can lead to energy imbalances, digestive issues, tooth decay, and metabolic distress.

For children ages 4-6, it’s recommended they be given no more than 4-6 oz a day. Children ages 7 to 18 shouldn’t consume more than 8 oz a day. When comparing those servings to typical bottle sizes you can buy at the store, children are getting 2 or 3 servings!

Back in 2012, Consumer Reports found that 10% of apple and grape juices contained arsenic levels higher than US drinking water standards. These harmful levels of arsenic get into the fruit juice via insecticides that are unable to be removed from the fruit.

When it all comes down to it, the risks of obesity, arsenic levels, and digestive side effects appear to outweigh the benefits of drinking fruit juice for children.  To get the nutritional benefit from fruit, it’s much simpler to eat fresh fruit! If you’re still looking for a juice that would be safe for your child, there are some options.

Pomegranate juice is packed full of antioxidants and small amounts can actually reduce inflammation.  Vegetable-based juices are also an excellent alternative. These juices will be free of the high sugar levels.

Like all things, juice should be consumed in moderation. Make sure you educate yourself on the quality of the juice and where exactly it’s coming from!

Dr. Meghan

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