Does Your Child Need Juice?

May 10, 2019 / Pediatrics

By Jocelyn Durrenberger, NP
Department of Pediatrics

The evidence clearly says “no.” Even though I raised my three kids on water, juice and milk and my mother raised us the same way, I now recommend to all my patients to avoid juice completely. Why the change?

It turns out, that soda and juice (especially apple juice) have about the same amount of sugar per ounce. So just imagine all those sippy cups of juice you’re giving to your kids as being filled with soda. In fact, eight ounces of apple juice has about six TEASPOONS of sugar! Drinking apple juice is not like eating an apple – far from it.

But that’s not all: Drinking juice increases the risk of being overweight or obese. Drinking 16 ounces of juice a day DOUBLES the risk that a child will grow to be an obese adult. It also encourages a desire for sugary drinks instead of water, such as flavored iced teas, energy drinks, sports drinks and soda.

So, how can you encourage drinking more water, and less juice in your home?

  • Pack a water bottle whenever you go out.
  • Have family members choose their favorite reusable water bottle.
  • Keep a bottle of cold water in the fridge.
  • Water down juices and sports drinks.
  • Avoid soda, except perhaps as the occasional treat.
  • Use smaller glasses when drinking sugary drinks.

What to drink during sporting activities

  • Staying well-hydrated, especially in hot weather and when exercising, helps your body function at its best.
  • Dehydration – not having enough fluid in your body – can cause headaches and fatigue, make you feel cranky and affect your concentration.
  • Thirst is a sign you are already beginning to be dehydrated, so drink water regularly and especially before any physical activity.
  • Have a few mouthfuls of water during any breaks in playing games or sport.
  • After sport or exercise, drink plenty of water to make up for what you’ve lost in sweat.
  • Keep in mind that sports drinks are NOT necessary for all but the most competitive student athletes.

So just say “no” to juice and have a plentiful supply of tap water, bottled water, and sparkling water available for the whole family!

Does Your Child Need Juice?

About Jocelyne Durrenberger, DNP

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Bentley College and Regis College, Jocelyne Durrenberger has been caring for patients as a nurse practitioner for over 20 years. Originally a mechanical engineer, Jocelyne decided to enter medicine after being inspired by a friend who is a nurse practitioner. “Although I loved the challenges of engineering, I kept hearing the call to practice medicine.” she explains. “Now I find it...

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