Pure fruit juice provide provides essential nutrients and in moderation may actually help children maintain a healthy weight.
Inconsistent research findings have led to continued debate over the potential associations between drinking one hundred percent fruit juice nutrient intake and overweight children.
In their study, researchers analyzed the juice consumption of 3,618 children ages 2 to 11 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The bottom line, is that one hundred percent juice consumption is a valuable contributor of nutrients in children diet and it does not have an association with being overweight, a child nutrition specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has said.
There are at least seven studies made that show no associations between 100% pure juice intake and being overweight among children.
The average daily consumption of pure fruit juice in the study population was 4.1 ounces (about half a cup), an amount in line with the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
And while there were a few children (13 percent) who consumed a larger amount of juice (12 ounces or more), their intake was not associated with overweight or at risk for being overweight.
It was noted that children in the 2-3 year old category who drank the most juice were nearly three times less likely to be overweight or at risk of overweight than children who drank no juice at all.
The study also found that children who drank any amount of 100 percent pure fruit juice ate less total fat, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars and added fats.
Pure fruit juice drinkers also had higher intakes of a number of key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, vitamin B6 and iron.They also ate more whole fruits like apples.
The child nutrition specialist encourages parents who are concerned about their child being overweight to look beyond their juice consumption.
The word of advice is to look at the total number of calories that the child is taking and find out where the bulk of those calories are coming from. Equally important, look at the level of activity the child is in.