February 19th, 2016
In TV ads, POM Wonderful touts that its pomegranate juice is “loaded with,” “packed with,” and “full of” antioxidants, making the drink not just a little bit healthy but “crazy healthy.”
But what’s really crazy, and what the ads don’t disclose, as a reader pointed out, is the amount of sugar in even the smallest sized bottle of the pomegranate juice. An 8-ounce bottle has a whopping 32 grams of sugar. Now, that sugar comes from the fruit itself and is not added in as the ones in soda or candy. But still, that’s more sugar than an 8-ounce bottle of Coke (26 grams), 19 pieces of Brach’s candy corn (28 grams), and a Milky Way chocolate candy bar (31 grams).
Antioxidants like the pomegranate polyphenols in POM’s beverages help protect the body against harmful chemicals called free radicals. But Tufts University researchers warn that the full benefits of antioxidants have not yet been scientifically proven:
(D)on’t expect an occasional glass of acai or pomegranate juice, which are heavily marketed as antioxidant-rich “superfruits,” will cover all the bases.
And, the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar include cavities, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. (In January 2015, a federal appeals panel upheld an FTC ruling that ordered POM Wonderful to stop making deceptive claims that its pomegranate juice could prevent, treat, or reduce the risk of a variety of ailments including heart disease.)
The World Health Organization has proposed that adults and children limit their daily sugar intake to 25 grams — or seven grams less than an 8-ounce bottle of POM Wonderful.
Meanwhile, POM lost its own battle in a false advertising lawsuit against Coca-Cola Co. over Coke’s marketing of its pomegranate juice that contained very little pomegranate when a California jury ruled that the juices’ labels weren’t misleading.
Will the real healthy drink please stand up.
Find more of our coverage on POM Wonderful here.
This story was updated on 2/22/16.