(BPR) Former first lady Michelle Obama’s highly promoted juice brand Plezi is getting a thumbs down from experts who say it’s too sugary and fails health standards set by the Obama administration that are aimed at elementary and middle schools.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
According to a Bloomberg report, 12 independent health professionals found that Plezi’s current flavors released earlier in May would not meet the requirements to be served to elementary and middle school students.
“Under the Obama-era school-meal regulations currently under review, US elementary and middle schools may only serve water, milk, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners (the regulations do permit schools to dilute juices with water) — and none of Plezi’s four current flavors meet these criteria,” the article asserted.
These so-called nutrition experts were concerned over the “non-nutritive sweeteners” that were found in the drink such as stevia leaf and monk-fruit extracts which could still be considered unhealthy. The World Health Organization published its own report on Monday advising against the use of sweeteners such as stevia to control body weight.
Michelle Obama has been accused of putting profits before the health of children with the new drinks.
Michelle Obama slammed for putting profits over health with new children’s juice dealhttps://t.co/pOkM2k48y2
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) May 5, 2023
The drinks, which come in four flavors, have no added sugar, are rich in fiber, and contain 75 percent less sugar than “leading fruit juices.” But that’s not good enough for the experts.
The nutrition experts turned on Michelle Obama and chastised her for promoting a brand that could be a less healthy option for kids.
“She has been ill-served by advisers who convinced her to start by targeting 6- to 12-year-olds with a flashy, ultra-processed beverage that may not be any healthier than diet soda,” Jerold Mande, a nutrition professor, told Bloomberg in an interview.
Center for Science in the Public Interest nutrition director Bonnie Liebman also hit the former first lady over the drink, “Kids are also better off getting the intact fiber in fruit, rather than the processed fiber added to Plezi. It’s not clear that the soluble fiber would make kids feel full, and it’s unlikely to prevent constipation, but it certainly can’t hurt.”
(Video Credit: Wall Street Journal)
Plezi’s CEO Leah Dunmore ardently defended the brand against the criticism in an email response, according to Fox News, “[To] label Plezi an ‘ultra-processed food,’ is at best cynical if not intellectually dishonest.”
Most of these health experts grudgingly conceded that Plezi could be considered a healthier and less sugar-filled choice than regular soda. But they cautioned that it still contained a significant amount of sweeteners.
“[Low]-calorie sweetened drinks can be a reasonable alternative on occasion, keeping in mind that water and milk are the healthiest choices,” a spokesperson for the American Heart Association remarked concerning the drink, according to Fox News.
Massachusetts pediatrician Mary Beth Miotto tweeted, “Plezi tropical punch has no ADDED sugar but has 6 [grams] sugar & juice concentrates. We don’t know the final word on artificial sweeteners but we know that drinking sweet beverages make kids want MORE sweet foods. Each box is more than the recommended daily intake for age 4-6.”