Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Putting the Squeeze on Juice

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

When you hear the phrase "All things in moderation," fruit juice probably doesn't come to mind, but most pediatricians caution parents that allowing kids to drink excessive amounts of juice is a recipe for poor health.

Studies over the past decade have shown a host of potential problems with fruit juice consumption in children, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition even issued a policy statement in 1991 telling doctors to caution parents about the dangers.

The Dangers of Excess Juice

  • Juices fill kids with empty calories. "Fruit juices can fill kids up so that they're not hungry at the dinner table and are too full to eat more nutritious foods," warns Carlos Lifschitz, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
  • Certain juices are associated with tummy troubles. Some fruit juices -- including apple, pear, and prune -- contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring but problematic sugar alcohol. Because sorbitol is not completely absorbed in the small bowel, it makes its way to the large bowel where it ferments and produces gas, says Lifschitz. In addition, many of the juices that contain sorbitol also have an imbalance in the ratio of the sugars fructose and glucose, which may reduce fructose absorption. These factors can lead to cramps, diarrhea, or loss of appetite in a child, says Lifschitz.

    Several studies have reported this malabsorption, or incomplete digestion, including a study published in the October 1999 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. In the study, researchers gave infants either pear juice, which contains sorbitol and a "bad" fructose to glucose ratio, or white grape juice, which contains no sorbitol and has a "good" fructose to glucose ratio. The infants drank between 90 and 120 milliliters (between .4 and .5 cups). Researchers found signs of malabsorption in five of the seven infants given pear juice, as compared to only two of the seven who drank grape juice. The authors recommended giving children only non-sorbitol juices (for example, grape and citrus).

  • Unpasteurized juices may contain the Salmonella organism. The Food and Drug Administration issued a nationwide alert to consumers in July 1999 warning of a Salmonella muenchen outbreak due to contaminated unpasteurized juice; the juice had labels identifying it as "freshly squeezed" or "fresh." The Salmonella organism can cause serious and even fatal infections in young children. To stay safe, buy pasteurized juice for children.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd