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(CNN) - Most children under 5 should avoid plant-based milk, according to the new US health guidelines. about what young children should drink. Plant-based milk made from rice, coconut, oatmeal or other mixtures, with the exception of fortified soy milk, lacks key nutrition for early development, according to guidelines published Wednesday by leading health organizations.
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They should also avoid dietary drinks, flavored milks and sugary drinks and limit the amount of juice they drink, according to the guidelines.
Plant-based milk is made from rice, coconut, oatmeal or other mixtures that lack key nutrition for early development, according to the Healthy Eating Research guidelines. The recommendations come from a panel of experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association.
The limitation of plant-based milk was a key change based on consumption trends.
“In the last five to 10 years there has been an explosion of interest in plant-based milk. More and more parents turn to them for a variety of reasons and there is the misconception that they are somehow equal to cow's milk or milk, but that is not the case, ”said Megan Lott, who helped develop the recommendations as deputy director of Healthy Eating Research.
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Lott said that most plant-based milk does not provide enough key nutrition, such as vitamin D and calcium, that growing children need at this vital stage of development.
“The guidelines make an exception if a child is allergic to dairy or cow's milk or is lactose intolerant or has religious rules or lives in a house that maintains a vegan diet, in that case, parents should definitely check with your pediatrician or dietitian, ”said Lott.
Even as a registered dietitian, Lott said he had to look closely at what would work for his son. His son is almost three years old and has a severe allergy to cow's milk. Based on her normal eating pattern, she had to find out what kind of milk substitute can fill the nutritional vacuum.
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"What works for my child may not be the same for another young child, it is based on individual needs and why we talk about the need for parents to talk with the child's pediatrician or dietitian," Lott said.
Guidelines on what drinks to avoid
Some other beverages to avoid, according to the guidelines, include low-calorie drinks and zero calories.
"We are finding more and more of these artificial sweeteners that appear in foods marketed for young children and there is no research on these substitutes that prove they cause harm, but there really is no research to prove they are safe," Lott said.
As children are in a vulnerable stage of development, it is good to be cautious, he said.
Milk for young children and flavored milk are also off the menu. In the past, the recommendations allowed some room for maneuver over flavors, suggesting that chocolate milk would be better than no milk, Lott said, but the committee changed its thinking. She noted that this is a key age when a child develops a taste preference and it is more important to create healthy habits early.
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Sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks, such as soda, are still off the menu for young children.
The other key change involves juice. The guidelines recommend that children under one year of age do not drink juice. For children one to three years, it is not more than half a cup a day, and for children four and five years it is not more than half a cup to 3/4 cup a day.
What children should take
The guidelines say that babies only need breast milk or infant formula and, once they have six months, small amounts of water. Children should drink milk, water and occasionally drink juice.
The guidelines recommend that children between one and two years of age drink two to three cups of whole milk a day. At two and three years should not drink more than two cups of skim milk or low fat a day. For four and five years should not drink more than two and a half cups of skim or low fat milk a day.
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For water, it is half a cup to a cup for children 6 to 12 months, one to four cups a day for ages one to three, and a cup and a half to five cups a day for four and five years old.
"When some parents enter a grocery store, they may feel overwhelmed by the options, but in daily life, the key message is that what we recommend is feasible, even if it requires some persistence and cooperation," Lott said. "There are many opportunities to make great improvements in a child's nutrition for parents here."