The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that children under 12 months old should not drink fruit juice and older children and teens should limit consumption of juice.

Steven Abrams, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, co-authored the policy statement, released today.

“There’s never been a question that whole fruits are the best choice for children — adults, too, for that matter,” Abrams says.

Experts say fruit juice lacks the dietary fiber of whole fruits. So, a young child who drinks fruit juice instead of eating whole fruit may consume too many calories, develop a taste for excessive sugar and experience weight gain.

But for older children and teens, a moderate amount of 100 percent fruit juice can be a good way to increase fruit intake. Juice offers conveniences that whole fruit sometimes lacks: juice can be stored in a locker without going bad or carried in a backpack without going mushy. Even so, juice should be limited to two 4- to 6-ounce servings.

“At the end of the day, it’s about instilling good eating habits in kids,” Abrams says.

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