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Pom Wonderful juice ad health claims unfounded, says U.S. federal judge

Carolyn Morris
Shine On
May 23, 2012

It turns out that Pom is not so wonderful after all. This week, a U.S. federal administrative judge ruled that the makers of the pomegranate juice, Pom Wonderful, have been deceiving the public about just how beneficial their product is.

The judge said that there was not enough evidence to back up claims that the juice could "treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction."

And this, despite millions spent on medical studies to establish a link, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Pom owners and Beverly Hills billionaires, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have been trying to put science behind their pomegranate craze by spending around 35 million dollars on close to 100 studies.

Also see: The truth about the 'five-second rule'

But the results were not enough to warrant claims made in 12 out of 540 questionable ads.

"This makes it clear why everyone should be suspicious of the results of sponsored studies," New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle tells Bloomberg Businessweek. "POM-sponsored studies produce results favorable to POM."

While pomegranates are packed with antioxidants, and lab studies have shown that antioxidants can be beneficial in protecting cells, which can help in diseases like cancer, it's a big leap to say that pomegranate juice wards off cancer.

Also see: Would Canadians embrace vegetarian pubs?

"They've only shown this in cell culture, which doesn't mean it will happen in humans," University of Toronto nutrition professor, Venket Rao, tells the Toronto Star. "They are stretching it too far."

While the pomegranate elixir might not be as great as it's been made out to be, at least it's still good for you. It's not like being duped into thinking Nutella can pass as a healthy breakfast ingredient.

Watch the video below about how Sketchers recently agreed to a settlement for false advertising.

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