Is it okay or not to give children fruit juices or smoothies? Can consumption of fruit juices cause obesity? Isn't it better, however, to offer our children whole fruits?
These are just a few of the questions we have encountered on various parenting forums and groups and which we have decided to answer with the help of Dr. Serban Damian, specialist doctor in family medicine with the right to free practice, graduate of the General Medicine Faculty of the "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, member of the Medical College of Bucharest. At the same time, Dr. Serban Damian is also specialized in sports nutrition, being the only doctor in Romania who has followed the program organized by the International Olympic Committee and led by nutrition specialists from the largest universities in the world.
Juice in children's nutrition remains a topic that concerns parents at any age of children. Even if some parents have the impression that if it is made naturally, from fresh fruit, it can be consumed anytime and anyway by the little ones, it gets chilly. For example, babies who are breast-fed do not need any extra fluid or food until the age of 6 months, when diversification begins.
We advise you to invest in a professional blender or fruit juicer and prepare a juice, smoothie or fruit mousse for the whole family. Thus, you make sure that the fruits do not lose their nutrients and have no added sugar. However, juices and smoothies should not always replace whole fruits, but rather represent a way to make the little ones easier to accept fruits or vegetables.
Here's what Dr. Serban Damian says about eating fruit juices and smoothies:
1. What are the benefits of consuming fruit juices and smoothies?
Dr. Serban Damian: Fruit juices and mousse retain much of the nutritional qualities of whole fruits, so they can be integrated into the nutrition of any of us. For children it presents an additional benefit, to be accepted more easily, so that we can replace at least one daily portion of fruit with such preparations.
2. Wouldn't it be preferable to eat whole fruits, though?
Dr. Serban Damian: Yes, this is the first choice. Juices and mousse are excellent alternatives. No one says we should just choose these, but it is good to be aware that I maintain a good portion of the benefits of whole fruits.
3. From what age do you consider the consumption of natural juices appropriate?
Dr. Serban Damian: Fruit juices are introduced into children's nutrition when diversification begins, after the age of 6 months and in small quantities. Apple puree is one of the first preparations that the children in Romania come into contact with.
4. What would be the maximum amount of juice a child should consume daily?
Dr. Serban Damian: If we talk about juice, the optimal quantity is 1, maximum 2 glasses per day. At the same time, one of the portions of fruits and vegetables recommended for daily consumption, can be replaced with a 100% juice or a fruit and vegetable mousse.
5. When do you recommend children and adults to consume juice?
Dr. Serban Damian: There is no specific rule in this regard. Probably best with meals, but can be drunk in the morning at breakfast or between meals as a snack.
6. Given the fructose content, which is also a form of sugar, can eating fruit juice cause obesity?
Dr. Serban Damian: Excess sugar, regardless of its origin, can promote the development of obesity. In the context of a balanced diet, if you drink one glass of juice a day, there is no such risk. However, if you drink a liter of juice and your diet is unbalanced / chaotic, then yes, your fat level will increase. It is wrong to believe that a 100% juice can cause obesity because it is full of valuable nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
This interview is part of the information and education campaign funded by the European Union on the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables "Mousse and 100% juice - here are the smart vitamins".
Tags Juices for children Fruit juice for children nutrition Natural juices