Children who drank juice also ate more whole fruit than those who did not drink juice, Nicklas' team found.
Generally, the children drank less juice than the maximum amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy's recommendation is 4 to 6 ounces for children one to six years old, and 8 to 12 ounces for older children and teens.
One health expert thinks that, while juice may be better than soda, it isn't the best drink to avoid overweight or obesity.
"Finding no association between fruit juice intake and weight in children invites one to see the juice cup as half full, or half empty, depending on perspective," said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center. "The authors clearly see it as half full and state that fruit juice consumption should be encouraged. I think this goes too far."
Another new study suggests that children are drinking too much fruit juice and other sweetened beverages, which may be contributing to the obesity epidemic among children and teens.
The study, published June 2 in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that for children ages 2 to 19, 100 percent fruit juices and sugar sweetened drinks make up 10 percent to 15 percent of their total calorie intake.
According to the report, that's too much fruit juice. "Mounting epidemiologic and experimental evidence suggests that reducing intake of empty calories by limiting sugar sweetened beverage consumption may be a key strategy for promoting healthy eating and preventing excess weight gain in youth," the researchers concluded.
For more on children and healthy eating, visit the Nemours Foundation.
All rights reserved