Plezi, a health drink promoted by former First Lady Michelle Obama, would violate health standards set by the Obama administration, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
After discussing the current flavors with 12 independent health professionals and organizations, Bloomberg found that all of Plezi’s released earlier this month did not meet the requirements for serving in elementary and middle schools.
The Bloomberg article details how under the Obama-era school meal regulations, elementary and middle schools are only allowed to offer water, milk, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners, also allowing the juice to be diluted with water in schools, noting that none of the four current flavors of Plezi meet the criteria.
Concerns have been raised about the drink’s “non-nutritive sweeteners,” which include stevia leaf and monk fruit extracts, which some experts assert could still be considered unhealthy.
The former First Lady’s promotion of the drink targeted at young kids comes as the World Health Organization released a report on Monday (May 15), recommending against using sweeteners such as stevia in weight management.
Experts on nutrition were more critical of the former first lady for promoting a brand that could prove to be a less healthy choice.
Jerold Mande, a nutrition professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, suggested the former First Lady was “ill-served by advisers” who had convinced her to target 6 to 12-year-olds “with a flashy, ultra-processed beverage that may not be any healthier than diet soda.”