Children are the single largest group of juice consumers. By the age of one, almost 90% of infants in the U.S. are drinking fruit juice. One percent of infants consume more than 21 ounces of juice per day!
Fruit juice is not a substitute for natural fruit, and it has fewer nutrients. Water and carbohydrates are the main ingredients in juice. The major carbohydrate components of juice are: sucrose, glucose, fructose, and sorbitol. Fruit juice also lacks the fiber in whole fruit.
Excessive consumption of juice by infants can cause diarrhea due to poor absorption of the carbohydrates in juice. Abdominal pain is also common in heavy juice drinkers.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that juice be offered to infants in a cup – not in a bottle or sippy cup. Infants should not be put to bed with a juice bottle or sippy cup.
It is recommended that fuit juice be consumed during meal time. Juice should not be used to pacify a child, and should not be sipped all day.