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Lately I have been hearing a lot about the benefits of pomegranate juice, from helping with prostate cancer to weight loss and lowering cholesterol. Is this the new "wonder food?" Also, cinnamon seems to be another fabulous supplement; lowering blood sugar is the main claimed help. I am wondering if any of these claims have any medical proof?
There is no "wonder food." It's a shame, because it would make our lives a bit easier, but it just isn't true.
There is some evidence that pomegranate juice contains a lot of antioxidants, and we know that consuming antioxidants can help prevent disease. In most research, however, it's difficult to make substantial claims without having large controlled trials. Time and again, small trials have shown positive results only to be disproven with large scale studies. While pomegranate juice has some encouraging small studies, it requires much larger research to prove this.
There is better, but still not good, evidence for use of cinnamon in folks with diabetes. These are also smaller trials, and there is actually conflicting research, with other researchers not being able to duplicate the results.
It doesn't appear that either of these are at all harmful, however. Keep in mind that the pomegranate juice has calories that don't offer as much satisfaction as eating an apple or even having a fresh pomegranate.
Keeping an eye out here for "wonder foods" here at Dr. Gourmet. None found yet. Eating great quality fresh foods is still the most reliable route to health.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS