Editor's note: The 2017 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Sept. 16-19 in Chicago.
Should you take a hard line on fruit juice, recommending that parents keep it out of their children’s diets altogether? Or can you reassure them that there is no harm in giving kids a small serving each day like some orange juice with breakfast?
Steven Abrams, MD, FAAP, and Natalie Muth, MD, MPH, RD, FAAP, will take up the issue during a point-counterpoint session titled “Should Pediatricians Advise the Elimination of Fruit Juice Completely From the Diets of Children? (D3145)” from 4:00-5:00 pm Monday in McCormick Place West, W183 C.
Dr. Abrams is co-author of the AAP policy statement Fruit Juice in Infants, Children and Adolescents: Current Recommendations and chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition. Dr. Muth is a member of the AAP Section on Obesity Executive Committee.
Dr. Abrams maintains that it is OK to give children ages 1 year and older one serving of juice per day.
“Much of this is based on the idea that juice still provides some fruit for babies and that there is no evidence that one serving per day causes obesity,” said Dr. Abrams, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Dell Medical School, Austin, Texas.
Dr. Abrams also maintains that it is better to recommend moderation than a complete ban on fruit juice. “Although milk and water are the best drinks and should be the primary drinks for kids, I think we need to be cautious when we present guidelines that tell people they can’t drink anything other than two things,” he said.
Dr. Muth, however, says pediatricians should advise against fruit juice consumption (even 100% fruit juice) in children and adolescents.
“The AAP policy on fruit juice in infants, children and adolescents provides an overview of evidence, which supports that fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits to infants and no increased benefit compared to consumption of whole fruit for children and adolescents,” said Dr. Muth, a pediatrician and registered dietitian at Children's Primary Care Medical Group in Carlsbad, Calif.
“Further, fruit juice consumption is associated with increased risk of cavities and excessive weight gain, especially in younger children where the opportunity to prevent future weight problems is greatest,” she said.
During the session, Dr. Abrams and Dr. Muth also will review cost-effective alternatives to juice such as frozen, canned and whole fruit as well as the micro and macro nutritional value of different fruit juices and juice products vs. whole fruit.
Follow Dr. Abrams on Twitter @stableisotope. Follow Dr. Muth @drnataliemuth.
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