It’s what gives the pro riders of Team Garmin Transitions their riding power – and it is all natural. Team physiologist Inigo San Millan explains “Garmin-Transitions riders drink a bottle of POM Wonderful daily as part of their regular antioxidant-rich diet. During the races we make sure that all the riders have plenty of POM Juice on a daily basis by serving it both at breakfast and dinner.”
Just what is POM Wonderful exactly? POM Wonderful is 100% pure Californian Pomegranate Juice. As we understand it, this is not as straightforward as it sounds, according to POM Wonderful’s site, 8 out of 10 juices which claimed to be 100% Pomegranate Juice had added sugar, colorants or lower-grade juices (apple/pear/etc) – but POM Wonderful on the other hand is the real deal.
POM Wonderful say that this is significant because only Pomegranates have the unique antioxidants that make it so special. POM Wonderful claim their juice is the top performer in terms of antioxidant potency and ability to neutralize free radicals. They demonstrate this in the following graph:
POM Wonderful has over $45m worth of research (not necessarily funded by POM itself) backing up the health benefits of pomegranates. The supposed benefits extend as far as combatting inflamation, Cardiovascular health, Cancer, Erectile Disfunction and Diabetes. Read more on the health benefits here >
The professional cycling team Garmin Transitions have POM Wonderful onboard as a sponsor and the drink is included in their daily diet as an active recovery drink throughout the 2010 season.
As you might have guessed, with all this high-tech science, professional sponsorship and all-natural ingredientry, POM is not exactly cheap. So why might you want to consider buying it over some of the more workaday juices?
Essentially, a lot of it will come down to your personal position on the benefits of those antioxidants. No doubt the potency of this juice is way up there, so if that’s really important to you, then POM can deliver.
We were very pleasantly surprised that POM tastes good. Surprisingly good actually. It doesn’t taste sour and although it’s quite sweet, it’s also bitter enough to counteract this. You can drink it straight, if you like it strong (flavourful) or you can water it down to taste.
It has about as much sugar in it as a carbo-gel, but it’s not necessarily the kind of drink you would use to fuel up with before or after a race. The main reason is the high acidity – and I was prepared to test this.
I tried drinking a half bottle one hour prior to a long hill climb. The high acidity presumably reduced the bloodstream’s acidity buffer and as a result, lactic acid seemed to come on much more quickly. An unusual result for sure, but confirmed by repeated tests.
Nonetheless, it’s incredibly refreshing to drink after a hard ride, and the purported health benefits almost certainly aren’t doing any harm. Woolworths and Safeway (plus Coles in Victoria) stock POM Granate in the fresh produce area. At around the same price per litre as a good international beer, it’s definitely worth a try.