POM Wonderful: Fruit Juice Is Not the Same as Fruit

Halved pomegranate on a cutting board

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“False and unsubstantiated.” That’s what the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is saying about the health claims made by the makers of POM Wonderful. From improving heart health to reducing the risk of prostrate cancer, to correcting erectile dysfunction, POM was touted to have “Super health powers!”

As for the fruit juice’s health claims that were backed by “$25 million in medical research,” the FTC found major flaws with the research. In the statement, the FTC said, “Contrary to POM Wonderful’s advertising, the available scientific information does not prove that POM Juice or POMx effectively treats or prevents these illnesses.”

What Is in POM?

POM is made from 100 percent pomegranate juice. According to USDA FoodData Central, pomegranates are a good source of dietary fiber (a whopping 11 grams in one raw pomegranate), folate (107 micrograms), calcium (28.2 mg), vitamin C (28.8 mg), and vitamin K (46.2 mcg). It would seem that with all that good stuff floating around in a pomegranate, the juice from the fruit would have some amazing health benefits, right?

Not so.

If you look at the nutrition data on a bottle of POM Wonderful, you’ll find that there is no calcium, no vitamin C, no fiber, no folate and no vitamin K. Where did all that goodness go? Hopefully, it went into a compost pile when the juice was extracted and the pulp of the fruit — that contained most of the health benefits — was discarded.

As the Fooducate blog points out, what is retained is the sugar from the fruit. The most popular bottle of POM is the 16-ounce bottle that holds two servings. Since most people drink the entire bottle at once, they are ingesting 68 grams or 17 teaspoons of sugar with each bottle. Sure, it’s natural sugar, but it’s still sugar.

What About Other Fruit Juice?

This isn’t unique to pomegranate juice. Any fruit juice loses a lot of the original fruit’s nutritional value when the juice is extracted. Many fruit juice manufacturers make health claims, but none seem to make the same “Super health powers!” claim that the manufacturers of POM have been making. The FTC is telling the makers of POM Wonderful that they need to stop making these claims.

We consumers need to stop believing these claims just because they are on the front of a package. Take a look at the actual nutrition panel and judge foods for yourself.