Michelle Obama championed health consciousness during her time as First Lady, often noting the importance of a balanced diet and nutrition in one’s lifestyle. However, her plant-based beverage company, “Plezi,” recently released flavors that would apparently fail health standards set by the Obama Administration.
Bloomberg, concluding a report based on 12 independent health professionals and organizations, revealed that Plezi’s current flavors released earlier this month would not meet the requirements to be served at elementary and middle schools. The news organization found that under the Obama-era school meal regulations, “US elementary and middle school may only serve water, milk, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners,” and none of Plezi’s four current flavors meet these criteria.
The findings of the report point to non-nutritive sweeteners such as stevia leaf and monk-fruit extracts that could potentially lead to unhealthy outcomes. According to nutrition experts, this raises concern and the fact that Obama inaccurately promoted the brand, that may ultimately be a less healthy option. Nutrition professor, Jerold Mande spoke to Bloomberg stating, “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.”
Plezi’s CEO Leah Dunmore, did respond to the concerns through an email defending the brand for its quality and nutrition. Speaking to Bloomberg she noted, “To label Plezi an ‘ultra-processed food,’ is at best cynical if not intellectually dishonest.”
The research and speculation concerning the nutritional quality of Plezi’s new flavors still remain at the center of conversations. With the primary target audience of the beverage being children, many voices have expressed concern but also offered their own suggestion for the beverage company.
Imagine that, Michelle Obama is targeting children to make money and selling a product that doesn’t appear to be much better than soda.