Pomegranate juice is made from the fruit of the pomegranate. It is used in cooking both as a fresh juice and as a concentrated syrup.
Possible health benefits and risks
While preliminary research suggests that the fruit juice may play a role in reducing the risk of cancer, reducing serum cholesterol, and protecting arteries from clogging, more research is needed to validate these findings. Its possible benefits also need to be balanced against its high caloric content derived from its natural sugars.
The cholesterol reduction effect has been observed only in small studies. This, as well as the anti-clogging effect of pomegranate juice, are the result of its concentration of antioxidants, and are similar to the effects shown in studies of red wine, black tea, and purple grape juice. There have been no large clinical trials showing that antioxidants can prevent heart attacks or other major heart-related events.
Notwithstanding the possible benefits of the juice, each such glass also tops the maximum daily amount of sugar, as recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. The organizations jointly recommend that only 10% of calories come directly from sugars. With almost 30 grams of sugar, a glass of pomegranate juice has more sugar than an equal size serving of some soft beverages, such as Coca Cola Classic and roughly equal to two servings of a sweetened breakfast cereal.
The health benefits of pomegranate juice were promoted by Pom Wonderful, a pomegranate products manufacturer. As of September 2010, the company and its principals were the subject of a deceptive advertising complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In May 2012, after a hearing, the administrative law judge issued an opinion upholding certain false advertising allegations in the FTC’s complaint—based on implied as opposed to express claims—and finding for Pom Wonderful on other points. Pom Wonderful's action in the U.S. District Court appears to still be pending as of May 23, 2012.
Pomegranate molasses is actually a concentrated form of pomegranate syrup, not really molasses. It is made by boiling down the juice of a tart variety of pomegranate to form a thick, dark red liquid. It is used in Iranian cuisine Khoresh Fesenjān, Turkish pilaf and shepherd's salad. It is called dibs rumman in Arabic, nar ekşisi in Turkish, narşərab in Azerbaijani language. Pomegranates have originated from Armenia and have been used in many dishes.
- Wyatt, Edward (September 27, 2010). "Regulators call health claims in Pom juice ads deceptive". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "US FTC Office of Administrative Law Judges Docket No. 9344 In the Matter of Pom Wonderful LLC and Roll Global LLC, et al Initial Decision dated May 17, 2012". U.S. Federal Trade Commission Office of Administrative Law Judges. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- Kardell, Nicole (May 24, 2012). "Why POM Wonderful Can Celebrate FTC Judge’s Ruling in Advertising Case". The National Law Review. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Willoughby, John (March 23, 2010). "Making a foreign staple work back home". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-25. "... pomegranate molasses. Made by boiling down the juice of a tart variety of pomegranate, this thick, dark brown, deeply flavorful liquid is also used in Turkish pilafs and, in southern Turkey, in the ubiquitous shepherd’s salad. In other Middle Eastern cuisines, it is most often found in soups and stews."
- Levin, Gregory M. (2006). Pomegranate Roads: A Soviet Botanist’s Exile from Eden. Floreant Press. ISBN 978-0-9649497-6-8
- Seeram, N.P. / Schulman, R.N. / Heber, D. (eds. 2006). Pomegranates: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-9812-4
- Lovgren, Stefan. "Pomegranate Juice Fights Heart Disease, Study Says", National Geographic News, March 22, 2005. Accessed February 13, 2006
- Pomegranate - MedlinePlus (National Institutes of Health - Produced by the National Library of Medicine)
- M. Viuda-Martos, J. Fernández-López, and J.A. Pérez-Álvarez (2010) - “Pomegranate” (Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety)