Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A 2006 AAP policy recommended no juice for children younger than 6 months of age, 4-6 ounces daily for children ages 1-6 years and 8-12 ounces for children 7 and older. Since then, however, considerable concern has been expressed about increasing obesity rates and risks for dental decay.
The new policy advices against giving children under the age of 1 any fruit juice at all unless there is a strong clinical basis for it in the management of constipation. For older children, maximum daily intakes of 100% juice products should be 4 ounces for children ages 1-3 years, 4-6 ounces for children ages 4-6 years and 8 ounces for those 7 and older.
When juice is served to older toddlers, it is important that it not be sipped throughout the day or used to calm an upset child.
Instead of juices, the AAP recommends fresh fruit in children’s diets. Fruit generally contains additional fiber compared to juices. Consistent with recent AAP recommendations, water and cow’s milk are preferred as primary fluid sources after breastfeeding or formula ceases.
The policy clarifies that there is no reason to give juice during the first year of life and that expensive juice products marketed specifically for infants have no value.
The guidelines also strongly discourage unpasteurized juice products, which can carry pathogens such as E. coli.
As far as which juice is better for kids, the AAP does not favor one juice over the other, but does recommend 100 % fruit juice and not fruit drinks – which contain less than 100 % juice and have added sweeteners.
"Some juices naturally have certain vitamins or minerals in them," Abrams said, noting that orange juice has lots of vitamin C. "But that doesn't mean that apple juice doesn't provide vitamin C, because it's usually fortified."
Story sources: Steven A. Abrams, M.D., FAAP, http://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/05/22/FruitJuice052217