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USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine

Consumer News-- Facts and Answers

   

   


Too much juice can cause intestinal discomfort usually blamed on milk

Don't automatically blame milk for a child's intestinal discomfort.  Too much juice containing sorbitol, a naturally occurring nondigestible form of sugar, can cause similar symptoms.

"Most children experience some stomach cramping, gas and even mild diarrhea after consuming too much juice containing sorbitol, said Dr. Carlos Lifschitz, a pediatric gastroenterologist with the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  

Although humans can't digest sorbitol, when intestinal bacteria feast on this sweet treat they generate gas and discomfort.  High levels of sorbitol can also pull water into the intestines, causing loose stools.  The laxative affect of prune juice is due to its high sorbitol content.

According to Lifschitz, the most common sorbitol-containing juices to cause problems in children are apple, pear, peach and cherry. 

To help keep juice a healthy part of a young child's diet, offer no more than one or two four-ounce servings per day and avoid offering juice before mealtime to avoid ruining appetites, Lifschitz said.

Mean Carbohydrate Content of Fruit and Fruit Juices (g/100 g)

Fruit/Juice

Sorbitol

Prune

12.7

Pear

  2.1

Sweet Cherry

1.4

Peach

0.9

Apple

0.5

Grape

tr

Strawberry

0.0

Raspberry

0.0

Blackberry

0.0

Pineapple

0.0

Orange

0.0


--Source:  The American Academy of Pediatrics

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Consumer News-- Facts and Answers

 

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