Here's 1 Reason to Feel Less Guilty About Giving Your Kids Juice

kid drinking juice
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While pediatricians and nutritionists often extol the virtues of drinking milk and water, plenty of parents will tell you their child's real drink of choice is juice. Some moms and dads love that kids are sipping their vitamins in fruit-based drinks, but others worry about sugar and the extra weight these colorful concoctions can add. Luckily, there's some good news for concerned parents: A recent review of eight studies found that kids who drink a single serving of 100 percent fruit juice per day really aren't prone to significant weight gain. (Listen closely and you'll hear a collective "phew!") 

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Researchers who combed through the studies determined that there was no correlation between noteworthy weight gain and kids who consumed a lone serving of real fruit juice each day.

"Our study did not find evidence that consuming one serving per day of 100 percent fruit juice influenced BMI (body mass index) to a clinically important degree," noted study coauthor Brandon Auerbach of the Seattle-based University of Washington.

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While this news will certainly make some parents feel better, Auerbach cautioned that this study only looked at 100 percent fruit juice -- not those "fruit-flavored drinks" which are often loaded with sugar or other sweeteners. 

The study also didn't take into account other factors, such as cavities, which also cause parents to limit juice intake.

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For parents who feel super guilty every time they hand their kid a cup of apple juice, the review offered the following comforting conclusion: 

"Consumption of 100% fruit juice is associated with a small amount of weight gain in children ages 1 to 6 years that is not clinically significant, and is not associated with weight gain in children ages 7 to 18 years."

That's music to the ears of moms or dads who serve juice as the go-to way to keep kids hydrated. For others, fruit-based beverages can help alleviate constipation, particularly in picky eaters.

Still, it's important to remember that the study is looking at ONE serving per day. Just how much liquid is that? Well, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids between ages 1 and 6 should only consume 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day. So definitely keep that in mind while pouring!

Many kids like to treat the fridge as an all-day open juice bar, and, undoubtedly, that's where parents can get into trouble.

So, much like everything else, moderation is the key. And sticking to real fruit juice -- versus fruit "flavored" -- is the way to go.

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