Do you give your child juice? New guidelines say it 'should always be avoided'

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have concluded that a baby's diet should not include sugar.

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a US group, designed to create bi-annual science-based outlines of a daily recommended diet, have created the first-ever official dietary guideline specifically for children under two years.

The report explains the board's motivation in focusing on babies from birth-to-two: “This report continues the traditional emphasis on individuals ages 2 years and older and, for the first time, expands upon it to reflect the growing body of evidence about appropriate nutrition during the earliest stages of life.

“Nutritional exposures during the first 1,000 days of life not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices.”

The main conclusion of the 2020 study is that no serving of sugar should be given to children in this age bracket. It can have negative impacts on their development and health.

“Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life,” states the report. “The energy in such products is likely to displace energy from nutrient-dense foods, increasing the risk of nutrient inadequacies.

“Moreover, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked with increased risk of overweight or obesity.”

There are added sugars present in a lot of processed and pre-made foods. They are different to the naturally occurring sugars in apples or plain yogurt, for example.

Speaking to CNN, Dr Steven Abrams, chair of the American Acadamy of Pediactrics' committee on nutrition, said: “Apples and oranges all contain sugar, but they also provide fiber and overall nutrition."

You might think that juice, even 100% fruit juice, would provide the same nutritional benefits as a piece of fruit, but this is not the case.

“Fruit juice, especially for kids in the first year of life, is a source of sugar without many nutrient benefits,” said Dr Abams. “So this should always be avoided.”

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