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Can Fruit Juice Give a Baby Diarrhea?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 30, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Baby drink juiceIt is true that too much fruit juice can give babies diarrhoea.

 

Fruit juices contain sorbitol, a non-digestible form of sugar. Excess sorbitol causes the body to extract water from the blood stream into the intestine, which results in loose stools, otherwise known as diarrhoea. Apple, pear and cherry juice also contain high amounts of sorbitol and can cause diarrhoea in children.

 

Sorbitol is not digestible by adults, as well. But babies have smaller bodies and the effect is far more pronounced. Till the age of four to six months, when a baby starts eating solid food, fruit juices should be avoided; breast milk or formula is all that it needs.

 

Many parents fill up a bottle with juice at bed time to help the baby to sleep. This can be harmful and cause tooth decay. The juice remains in the mouth, comes in contact with the baby’s teeth which may promote growth of bacteria, plaque and eventual decay, a condition described by doctors as ‘juice bottle syndrome’.

 

Juices that have a high fructose to glucose ratio and contain sorbitol can aggravate the intestines, especially in those babies who are sensitive to infection. Theexcess fructose ferments in the large intestine and cause abdominal pain and lead to diarrhoea.

 

The American Academy of Paediatrics Committee on nutrition therefore recommends babies be given citrus juices like orange juice and some others like  strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and white grape juice that have high amounts of Vitamin C and no sorbitol during intestinal illnesses.

 

Fruit juices can be tastier alternative to water but too much juice could lead to higher amounts of stomach problems, and fill up the stomach. This results in the child refusing other foods that contain the nutrition it requires. So paediatricians recommend the following chart of juice consumption vs. age of the baby:

 

Age

Ounces per day

6 – 12 months

         4

 1 – 4 years

         6

 4 – 12 years

        

 

The immature intestines of babies allow thegreater amount of unabsorbed sugars to reach the colon; they ferment in that region causing gas and diarrhoea in babies that have excessive amounts of juice.

 

In conclusion, it is true that fruit juices can cause diarrhoea in babies. The reasons are as follows:

 

  • Most fruit juices are high in sorbitol
  • Sorbitol is a non-digestible form of sugar.
  • To digest it the baby’s body extracts water from the blood stream into the intestines, leading to loose stools, a sign of diarrhoea
  • Adults also face difficulties in digesting sorbitol, but comparing a baby’s size to that of an adult, the effects on the child can be far more.
  • Till the age of four to six, when the baby starts having solid food, juices should be avoided, breast milk and formula is all that it needs.
  • The immature intestines of babies allow greater amount of unabsorbed sugars to reach the colon; where they ferment causing gas and diarrhoea in babies that have excessive amounts of juice
  • The American Academy of Paediatrics Committee recommend the amounts of juice a baby should have which would be sufficient to give it the nutrients it needs in a chart of age vs ounces per day. The chart is given in the body of the article and covers the ages of 4 to six months, till it reaches early teens.

 

Read more articles on Kids(4-7)

 

 

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