Saturday, September 5, 2015

Reader question: Is juice good for you?

Gary Emmett, MD, FAAP weighs in on the pros and cons of juice.

Reader question: Is juice good for you?

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Editor's Note: We would like to thank the readers who have submitted questions to Healthy Kids! Our experts will periodically answer questions in their areas of expertise.

Question: Please comment about the pros and cons of fruit juice in general and orange, in particular. One hears so many bad comments about juice. Many times it's compared to soda, which I think obfuscates the 'eating healthy' message. — Robert

Gary Emmett, MD, FAAP weighs in:

Positives of juice:

  • 100% fruit juices without additives (especially sugar) such as prune, grape and apple (in reasonable quantities of  4 to 6 ounces daily) are excellent laxatives that are very natural for those who have trouble with regular bowel movements.
  • Orange juice in small quantities (less than 6 oz per day) supplies Vitamin C but so does a multivitamin, and it supplies potassium but so does bananas.

Negatives of juice:

  • Juices are 10 to 14 calories per ounce and in 20 ounce servings (which is common now) can be 250 calories and if given three times daily will supply a 1/3 to ½ of a child’s entire caloric needs – sweetened drinks, no matter what the source – are a major contributor to overweight
  • Juice in bottles or sippy cups can lead to cavities if left on the teeth during sleep.
  • The problem is much more with amount of juice rather the juice itself – keep juice to 6 oz daily and do not use just before sleep and there is little damage but Americans drink liquids in huge quantities and that is the problem with juice, sweetened tea and soda – loads of calories from sugars especially fructose which the body does not process well.
  • Fruit juice does not contain the fiber and antioxidants that are in the whole fruit.

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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D., CBIS Assistant Professor of Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist of The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Gary A. Emmett, M.D., F.A.A.P Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Adolescent Medicine Specialist at Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Registered Dietitian at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Emiliano Tatar, M.D. Pediatrician at Einstein Healthcare Network Roxborough Plaza
Jeanette Trella, Pharm.D Managing Director at The Poison Control Center at CHOP
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D. Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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