Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The pediatricians' group previously advised against giving fruit juice to infants under 6 months, but expanded that recommendation given evidence linking juice consumption to tooth decay and to gaining too much or too little weight.
For older kids who are at a healthy weight, 100 percent juice is fine in moderation, but should make up less than half of the recommended fruit servings per day, the AAP says.
"We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children," says Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and an author of the guidelines, which were published Monday in Pediatrics.
Whole fruit is a much better way to get all the vitamins and nutrients of fruit, the guidelines say. Whole fruit contains fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar by the body, and it also makes you feel fuller than juice, which can prevent overeating.