When something sounds too good to be true, unfortunately it generally is. At least that seems the case for POM Wonderful this week. The ubiquitous curvy bottled pomegranate juice drink, which claims potential prevention and treatment of heart disease, reduction in the risk of prostate cancer and overcoming erectile dysfunction, is under fire by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC believes POM’s evidence doesn’t support their remarkable health claims. On Monday, they charged POM Wonderful and the company’s owners (philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick) with making misleading and unsubstantiated declarations about the abilities of their pomegranate solution.
The company alleges to have spent $34 million on pomegranate research, including 19 clinical trials and multiple studies published in peer-reviewed journals. While the commission does not dispute that the company’s medical studies exist, they believe the advertising claims overstate the results and ignore that the pomegranate products often showed no more efficacy than a placebo. While this may or may not be true, you can’t deny the magnitude of past research stating that pomegranates are undoubtedly a highly beneficial fruit packed with numerous health-promoting compounds, powerful antioxidants and nutrients. Among this research is evidence that the polyphenols in pomegranates aid in muscle recovery, improve cardiovascular health, prevent prostate cancer, treat diabetes and improve erectile function.
I’m not a big drinker of the POM products, but if I were, this allegation wouldn’t stop me from drinking it. As a juice I think it’s right on par with any other juice drink on the market. As a health supplement, I’m not quite sure it can compete with fresh pomegranate seeds and a healthy balanced diet. At the end of the day can we expect miracles in a bottle? I’ll leave it up to you to guess my answer to that one.
*POM Wonderful is contesting the FTC’s complaint as being invalid and an unlawful violation of free speech rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.