Pomegranate juice Pomegreat has fallen foul of UK advertising regulations after the country's ad watchdog ruled it had made illegal medicinal claims.

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority said claims made in an ad for Pomegreat had "suggested that the product could have an effect on physiological function to the extent that it could improve heart health or reduce the hardening of arteries".

The advertorial, which had appeared in a UK health magazine, was headlined "Healthy Happy Heart" and asserted that consumption of pomegranate juice could improve heart health and minimalise the risk of strokes.

The ad also claimed that drinking pomegranate juice could reduce the chances of contracting prostate cancer.

The ASA argued that such claims were medicinal and ordered that the advertorial was pulled and changed. "We understood that the claims in the ad feature were medicinal and were, therefore, unacceptable for a food product," the ASA said late last week.

UK drinks group Charteredbrands, which manages the Pomegreat brand for owners RJA Foods, said it would abide by the ASA ruling but disagreed it had made medicinal claims in the advertorial.

Asanka De Silva, senior brand value manager at Charteredbrands, said the claims in the ad were based on findings in 15 health journals.

However, she added: "Pomegreat remains committed to providing the best possible information to its customers in accordance with all appropriate regulations. Pomegreat will abide with the ASA ruling and will amend any future advertorials accordingly."

Pomegreat, which was launched two years ago, has seen sales soar on the back of growing demand from health-conscious consumers in the UK. Around 2.1m litres of Pomegreat are sold in the UK each month.