Are you curious if green powders are worth your time and money?
Green powders are supplements that have taken the media by storm. Everywhere you look, there seems to be a new brand popping up.
But is the hype around them warranted? While green powders are high in nutrients, they’re probably not the answer to all your health issues.
In today’s article, I will give a dietitian’s perspective on what green powders are, the pros and cons, and what to look for if you decide to buy one. Keep reading to learn more!
If you’re looking for more posts on supplements, I highly recommend checking out my blog article on collagen next!
What are Green Powders?
Green powders are powered supplements that contain various ingredients marketed to boost your health.
The base of green powders is typically fruits and vegetables. They may include spinach, kale, collards, wheatgrass, berries, herbs, carrots, kelp, etc.
Then, depending on the brand, they may add other ingredients; some contain anywhere from 25 to 40 different ingredients!
Examples of other ingredients that get added to green powders:
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- Green tea/matcha
- Other nutrients
Green powders dissolve when you mix them with water or juice. Some people also like to throw them inside a smoothie.
These powders are intended to provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, potentially to fill in gaps in someone’s diet.
However, if you’ve ever looked at the marketing for green powders, they’re likely making tons of other health claims. Boosting immunity, increasing longevity, improving skin health… the list goes on!
What are the Pros and Cons of Green Powders?
If you’re curious about green powders, knowing the pros and cons is essential before deciding to purchase them. So, let’s get into a few of each.
Be Weary Of…
There is currently very limited research out there that shows green powders are beneficial for your health. Until more research is done, it is hard to say that any health claims on packaging are valid. In fact, they can often be very misleading for consumers.
Green powders can come with a steep price. Depending on the brand, you’re looking at between $30-$60+ per container. This is likely more expensive than buying regular whole fruits and vegetables when broken down by serving size.
Shouldn’t replace whole fruits and vegetables.
My motto is: you can never out-supplement a poor diet. If your diet severely lacks nutritional quality, a powered supplement won’t cure all your problems. It’s more important to focus on whole-food sources of nutrients and antioxidants first before turning to a supplement form.
Extremely high amounts of nutrients.
Too much of anything can turn into a bad thing. The same goes for vitamins and minerals! It is likely that many of you are already getting in your daily nutrition needs, and overdoing it on nutrients can actually be harmful to your health.
Can fill in gaps in your diet.
One pro of green powders is that they can help to fill in any gaps in your diet. If you’re someone who refuses to eat fruits and vegetables or has a hard time getting them in, you may benefit from taking them in a powdered form.
May be beneficial while traveling.
If you know your diet will be lacking in nutritional value during certain parts of your life, a green powder may be helpful. Examples include while traveling or recovering from illness/surgery.
Potentially more bioavailable.
Powered foods move through your digestive tract and get absorbed faster than solid foods. That being said, green powders may potentially be more bioavailable than regular fruits and veg. If you’re someone with a poor working digestive tract, a green powder could be helpful for this reason. However, it is important to remember that the research in this area is limited.
What to Look For When Purchasing
Let’s say you do decide to purchase a greens supplement, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
First off, and this goes for any supplement you buy, you want to check that it has gone through third-party testing of some kind.
Third-party testing means that the supplement underwent a certification process to ensure no unwanted ingredients or contaminants are inside the powder.
You’d be surprised what ends up sneaking into supplements! This is especially important if you’re an athlete who gets urine tested.
A recent scientific paper highlighted that they found unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients in 776 dietary supplements between the years 2007-2016. Scary, right?!
On that note, the second thing to keep in mind is the ingredient list. Depending on the brand, some companies may add extra ingredients to the powder.
For example, many people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. If this happens to be you, you’ll want to look out for these on ingredient lists.
Another example is with ingredients such as inulin that contain high amounts of fiber.
While you do need dietary fiber, too much at one time can cause poor digestive symptoms such as bloating and irregular bowel movements.
Green Powders: The Takeaway
All in all, it is up to you as the consumer to make an informed decision on whether green powders are right for you.
Key takeaways to remember:
- Green powders should never replace real fruits and vegetables in your diet
- If you do decide to buy one, make sure it’s third-party tested and that you check the ingredient label for unwanted ingredients
- Talk with your healthcare team before starting any supplement, as high amounts of certain nutrients can interact with medications
Are you looking for guidance and support in navigating your health journey? With all the noise out there, it can be hard to do it all alone!
I offer premium 1:1 nutrition coaching services with a science-based approach. If your goals are to feel more confident, get stronger, and lose body fat in the gym, then you’d be a great fit!
Head over to my services page to learn more about my current offers and secure your spot today.