“POM Wonderful” is a juice that we enjoy on occasion because it tastes great. The tart and sweet flavor mix is an acquired taste, but served very cold it is just lovely. Perhaps, even wonderful. And you’ve got to love the original bottle shape, not to mention the overall amazing marketing this company does.
But what about all those superfruit health claims? Will it really make us healthier?
We decided to take a deeper look inside the label.
What you need to know:
To POM’s credit, their juice is 100% pomegranate juice. Nothing else added. Nice.
The nutrition facts panel is not as great:
The most popular 16 oz bottle of POM actually contains two 8 oz servings. Each of those servings is 160 calories, of which 136 are from sugar.
The 34 grams of sugar per serving amount to over 8 teaspoons! Double that if you’re guzzling down the whole bottle, which most people do. To be perfectly clear: with each POM bottle you drink, you’re ingesting 17 teaspoons of sugar and 320 calories!
Next up, fiber – the nutrient we all look to in fruits and vegetables, but oh so woefully depleted once juiced. The fiber count in POM is Zero. Ditto for vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and iron.
So just what does the juice provide? Plenty of superpower antioxidants, according to the health section of POM’s website. POM boasts that it has spent $32 Million dollars in research to show how pomegranate juice is healthy (here’s a link to the research). The money was spent at universities that ran clinical studies that showed that people who consumed daily doses of pomegranate juice got better in certain health parameters.
That just may be, but a similar study can be done on apples, grapefruits, açai, mangosteens, and virtually any juice producing fruit with similar results. In the past, Marion Nestle, a nutrition expert from New York University, author of What to Eat, and blogger at Food Politics, said that pomegranates are no better than any other fruit, “They’re just brilliantly marketed”.
Compare POM’s juice to a real pomegranate – “only” 25 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 16% of the daily value of vitamin C. But eating an entire pomegranate is not so simple. Peeling the rind, removing the albedo (white membrane), and separating the hundreds of arils (those juicy sacs with the seed inside) is quite the chore, and yes – the juice stains clothes.
What to do at the supermarket:
We should thank POM for bringing pomegranates to our attention. They are a lovely fruit, and do provide vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. Hardly any fiber though – one pomegranate has less than 1 gram of fiber, compared to 3.5 for a medium apple. Other fruits have more of some nutrients, less of others. All fruits and vegetables are good for us.
Fruit Juice is a different story. It loses much of the nutritional potency of the original fruit, especially the fiber. What it does gain is a very concentrated dose of sugar.
So, if you are looking for a superdrink to consume regularly – go for tap water. As an occasional treat, virtually any juice is fine, but then again so is a soft drink. If you like POM’s tart n’ sweet flavor, as we do, by all means enjoy.
Just don’t let excellent marketing confuse you into thinking you’re consuming a healthifying elixir.
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