kids who drink fruit juice have healthier diets and no weight gain when they are older

Is giving your young child fruit juice good dietary advice or bad? Will juice make your child healthy, or will it make child fat?

A new American study looked at 100 children between the ages of 3 and 6 and followed them for 10 years. It found that there was a big upside to drinking fruit juice but no downside.

Preschool children who drank more than one cup of 100% fruit juice a day ate more fruit through their childhood and adolescents and had better quality diets.

The kids who drank the fruit juice ate significantly more fruit and whole fruit when they were between 14 and 18. They ate .9 cups a day more fruit and .5 cups a day more whole fruit. The kids who drank less than half a cup a day of 100% fruit juice “had sharply declining whole fruit intake throughout childhood.” The juice drinking kids also scored significantly higher on the Healthy Eating Index: the kids who drank the most 100% fruit juice scored almost 6 points higher than the kids who drank the least. Children who drank more than ¾ of cup of 100% fruit juice a day were a significant 3.8 times more likely to meet dietary guidelines for whole fruit intake when they were adolescents.

But, what about the often claimed downside for drinking lots of fruit juice? Didn’t the kids put on weight? Nope. There was zero association between drinking fruit juice as a young child and changes in body mass index later in adolescents.

This study shows that allowing your preschool children to drink 100% fruit juice predisposes them to healthy diets throughout adolescents with no negative effect on weight.

One more tip. Fruit juice that is cloudy because the fiber and pulp is left in is richer in antioxidant flavonoids and has greater antioxidant activity.

BMC Nutrition 2020;6,25

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