Antioxidants have been big news of late, with celebrities and dieticians proclaiming the health benefits of a host of berries, including blueberries, goji and acai berries.

However, antioxidants are one of the latest ingredients to face the wrath of the EFSA. In February the EFSA published an opinion on antioxidants and concluded a relationship had not been established between the consumption of the foods evaluated and the protection of body cells and molecules such as DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage. It also found the claim to protect cells from premature ageing did not comply with EFSA regulations.

The EFSA ruled that previous tests on the impact of antioxidants conducted on animals or through in vitro studies were not sufficient to demonstrate they would have the same impact on humans. Pomegranate juice brand Pom Wonderful is hoping it can demonstrate that antioxidants do have the same impact by testing their effect on professional cyclists Team Garmin-Slipstream.

Last August, it announced that it was sponsoring the American team, which will be competing in the Tour de France in July and Tour of Britain in September. The brand is working with them on physiological research into how the polyphenol antioxidants could aid recovery after exercise and help to combat inflammation and oxidative stress which can lead to tissue damage.

"We understand how important recovery is to athletes," says Pom Wonderful president Matt Tupper.

The brand will be hoping its tests prove the efficacy of antioxidants for humans sufficiently to gain EFSA approval. The cyclists winning the Tour de France would, of course, be the icing on the and promotional campaign run by the brand.

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