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Super Greens Powders: Healthy Or Hype?
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May 11, 2021

Hey guys!

I’ve been seeing a lot of fitness brands and influencers promoting “super greens” lately. Have you ever wondered what super greens are and if they’re any good for you?! I decided to take a deep dive and find out.

If you haven’t seen them, they’re a green powder supplement that you can mix into water, smoothies, or whatever you want really. Some promise to give you the same nutrition as a whole day’s worth of veggies, which I think is the most appealing benefit for many people, because it can be so hard to get enough veggies! One scoop and done sounds a lot more convenient than prepping and cooking.

Some greens powders even promise to boost immunity, energy, digestion, detox, and even reduce signs of aging. Which sounds amazing. But is it as amazing as it sounds? Or is it just a hype?

First, you should know that I always discuss these “sciency” nutrition posts with my Registered Dietitian! Also, different things work for everyone. This is just my opinion, based on my research 🙂

Let’s Check Out The Ingredients!

Super greens powders usually contain anywhere from 20-40 (!!) ingredients. Liiiiiike:

  • Leafy green veggies (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • Other veggies (ex. broccoli, carrots, beets)
  • Green tea extract
  • Seaweed
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits (berries, acaí)
  • Grasses
  • Mushrooms

To give this supplement even more of a boost, some brands use additives like probiotics, extra fiber, and digestive enzymes. And of course, they need to taste good! So you’ll usually see Stevia or monk fruit sugar on the ingredients list.

To transform these ingredients into that pretty green powder, they’re usually just dried and ground up. Or sometimes, they’re juiced first and THEN dried. Some brands even ferment the veggies they use before they dry them. This is cool because it can boost the vitamin and mineral content.

So yeah, there’s a ton of good stuff in super greens powders. But are the actual claims about these powders legit?

Claim: Super Greens Boost Immunity

Don’t wanna get sick? Drink your greens powder! Sounds nice and easy, but does it actually work like that?

It’s not quite that simple. Yes, a super greens powder will give you vitamins and minerals that support the immune system, like vitamin A and C. Some also have probiotics, which can improve overall gut health and improve immune health.

Super greens also have tons of antioxidants and other nutrients that may help with inflammation. Keeping long-term inflammation at bay not only keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, but it also helps to prevent chronic disease.

But to have a healthy immune system and to improve your overall HEALTH, you need more than just a supplement! You need good overall nutrition, exercise, lots of water, sleep, and stress management. A healthy lifestyle is key.

Claim: Greens Powders Help Your Body Detox

We’ve been through this in our little chats about “detox teas.” Your body is already pretty amazing at removing toxins. Your liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, and even your skin work to “detox” your body.

Foods or supplements that promise to help your body detox sound really appealing. I get it! But any difference these things do make is super small, and your body is already doing its thing! And research just isn’t there to say for sure that certain foods can “boost” this system.

However. Greens DO have tons of antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals (which damage cells).

Claim: Super Greens Give You Energy

Ahhh I think we ALL feel like more energy would be nice sometimes, right?! But can a supplement really boost energy?

Not really in the way some brands make it sound. Greens powder doesn’t just have some magical ability to make you feel more awake and alert. But remember that looooong list of ingredients? There are some things on there that COULD help with energy. For example – green tea extract. Green tea has caffeine! And caffeine can make you feel more alert.

As for greens powders without green tea, more research is needed to really say for sure.

Claim: Super Greens Help With Aging

Are you seeing a trend yet? Adding a scoop of super greens to your day can give you extra nutrients that support healthy aging too! Buuuut if you look for research about the connection between these nutrients and aging, you’ll find that …

A. The studies focus on getting those nutrients from whole foods and

B. Overall health plays the biggest role in skin health. There’s no magic concoction of veggies that serves as a fountain of youth 😉

There’s Nothing Better For You Than FOOD!

Sooo here are the pros:

YES super greens powders have tons of good stuff in them

They make it super easy to get more vitamins, minerals, and sometimes probiotics into your day.

They’re more convenient than fresh produce

Annnnd here are the cons:

Super greens are PRICEY – they range from about 22 to 99 cents PER SCOOP. That can really add up!

They lack fiber – One of the best benefits of veggies is fiber! And when greens are processed into supplement powder, they lose that fiber. One scoop of a super greens powder usually contains around 2 grams of fiber. This definitely doesn’t replace the fiber from food that helps with appetite, digestion, and cardiovascular health.

Sometimes they contain other “stuff” – It’s important to choose a reputable brand! You’ll even see on the label that claims aren’t evaluated by the FDA. Also, some greens powders have been found to contain contaminants.

They’re not for everyone – Some powders contain herbs and additives that may interact with some medications or pose a risk to anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

My advice? Treat your greens powder like a supplement. Like your daily multivitamin! Don’t take them to replace food.

You know I’m always gonna be team real food. If you want a little boost of nutrients and you don’t mind the cost, I think greens powders could be a great supplement option! But I also know you can get everything your body needs from food. If you decide to try a greens powder, do your research and talk to your doctor first!

Have you tried a greens powder? What did you think?! 

5 thoughts on “Super Greens Powders: Healthy Or Hype?”

There are 5 comments posted by our users.

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  1. Monika says:

    So happy you left this factual comment. And I’m also glad you mentioned the fact that even excessive water consumption is unnecessary at best dangerous at worst. Wish people listened to professionals more and I’m happy Cassey did her research before jumping on bandwagon.

  2. Monika says:

    I’m so happy you wrote about it. I have been seeing lots of influencers endorse it and to me some of the claims seemed exaggerated. Your article sums up what I found out about these supplements pretty much. I hope people do not take it to heart too much when they hear it is equal to a full day of eating veggies. Seemed to good to be true. It’s supplement not a substitute and should be treated as such.

  3. Shandra says:

    I’ve been using Beachbody’s Power Greens for about 8 months to add a half a serving veggies to my shake without adding bulk. Usually my shake is kefir or almond milk, a cup of fruit, 2 cups of spinach and a scoop of protein powder. I add the greens for an extra boost of antioxidants and caffeine. Overall, not terrible, not great. My hair and nails grow faster since taking it so I was obviously missing something in it, because I don’t take keratin or collagen.

  4. GratefulForThisPost says:

    Hi, Cassey! Hi everyone!

    I would like to begin by thanking Cassey for addressing this topic. I am currently a Med student and I can’t help myself form stating what I am about to say to each and everyone who is thinking of adding such supplements into their diet. This is really important to talk about and people need be careful with such claims about substances they don’t fully understand what can and/or might contain.

    First, if these “super greens powders” would actually contain substances (vitamins, aminoacids etc) that are *actually* in vegetables, our lives would be a lot easier. Truth is… the concentration of extract from vegetables (even if they name about 20 veggies on the label) is very, very low. I can guarantee you that you’ll ingest a lot more nutrients *from the actual vegetables*.

    Second, your body will do a lot more work to separate the good stuff it needs from things like colour additives, preservatives (which *are very needed* for the product to live several months on a shelf; your average veggie will go bad in a few days or even hours) and who knows what more (as the very good point Cassey made some rows above). In the long run, this can really affect the liver, which puts in extra work to clear out any toxins resulted from metabolizing the powder. In the end, I can assure you that you will absorb *very little* from the powder and eliminate *a lot* from it. Generally, starting from the premise that you don’t eat exclusively junk food, you are already taking in all the good stuff veggies can offer. The rest is just excess you will eliminate anyway. It’s exactly like water. There is a certain amount of water your body can absorb (usually somewhere between 1 L and 2L). If you drink 7L (which is not actually a great idea btw; water poisoning is a very real thing) , you will eliminate 5 to 6L of water. It’s the same principle.

    Lastly, no doctor ever (or any health professional for that matter) would recommend you a pretty-coloured powder over the vegetables and fruit you can buy from the local market (seriously people, you can be healthy, save money and support local producers in just one go). Same goes for multivitamins. And, if by any chance, you do get a recommandation for such products… I am seriously advising you to go and ask for a second opinion.

    As a rule of thumb use your food as medicine so you don’t end up using medicines as food. Be careful what you put into your body.

  5. M says:

    Dear Cassey,
    This past year your videos along with consistent running has helped me get into the best shape of my life. Most days I feel strong and confident, however recently I have been struggling with comparing myself to people older than me. I know it is bad to try to look like others, and this is worse because these people are in a different stage of life than me. I am 13 years old and it is dangerous for me to have a calorie deficit or to not eat whole grain breads and pastas because I am growing. However, I don’t know how to stop this. It seems like it is burned into my brain that in order to be fit I need to look like these older women. For example, my mom, you (not a dig I am extremely grateful for you), or celebrities. Do you have any tips to get this out of my brain and change my way of thinking?
    Thank you for everything you do!!

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