Sep 27 2010

Can Juice Replace Fruit and Vegetables?

Published by at 5:02 pm under Uncategorized

Historically pediatricians recommended juice as a source of vitamin C and as a thirst quencher but that was when juice was sold as 100% juice and before juice was sold in boxes and pouches. The new packaging allows kids to drink anytime anywhere and that is a problem, though juice carries nutrition it still has the same calories as soda.
In the late 1990′s just as we became aware of the emerging childhood obesity epidemic the American Academy of Pediatrics took a look at what kids were drinking. Most infants drank 2 oz of juice but a small percentage of infants ( 3%) were drinking 16 oz to 21 oz daily an amount that could lead to poor nutrition and obesity. Ten percent of 2 to 3 year olds and 8% of children 4 to 5 years old drank on average 12 ounces of juice per day.

Juice labeled  “drink,” “beverage,” or “cocktail”  is not 100% fruit. To the government these descriptions mean the product is not 100% juice but to parents it still looked and tastes like juice even though it might have added sweeteners and fortifiers added. So in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement to help parents decide how much and often to serve juice. Here is what they recommend:
• Serve only 100% fruit juice – (read the label).
• Serve juice only in a cup not a bottle- this helps control portions.
• Avoid serving juice to infants under six months unless advised to do so by their health care provider.
• Limit all juice to 4 to 6 ounces total for the day for kids under six years.
• Instead of juice encourage kids to eat whole fruits and vegetables.

Parents are often tempted to serve juice with claims such as; “contains a full serving of fruit” or “contains a full serving of vegetables”. It is okay to give your child six ounces of 100% fruit or vegetable juice to replace one serving of fruit or vegetable but I would not recommend more. In most cases fruit and vegetable juice will have less fiber and more sodium and drinking juice can be less filling than eating the real thing. A 1/2 cup portion of fruit will contain about 1-2 grams of fiber and lots of vitamin A and C. A 1/2 cup portion of vegetables will contain 1-2 grams of fiber, lots of vitamins A and C and virtually no sodium. Most fruit and vegetable juices contain little fiber and some can contain lots of sodium. A 1/2 cup of juice takes about 8 seconds to drink but a small apple or a handful of carrot sticks could take 8minutes to eat, all that chewing helps your child feel full and the natural fiber helps with digestion.
So for good nutrition follow the AAP recommendations serve 6 ounces of 100 percent real juice in a cup once a day and offer real fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks.

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