As you take a walk down the organic food and dietary supplement aisles, you’ll notice a variety of green “superfood” powders. The ingredients lists often display catchy words such as spirulina, algae, wheat grass, alfalfa, and chlorella. These green powdered supplements contribute to a $30 billion business and are a growing health food trend.

The term “superfood” has become an overused buzzword in the health and wellness industry and is largely used as a marketing tool to drive up sales. Some foods marketed under this term lack conclusive scientific evidence to support that they’re “super.” The concern with this term lies in how it is used versus the actual word itself. The idea of a “superfood” is that it is packed with vitamins and minerals to be “super” for your body.

Do those green “superfood” powders truly live up to their proposed nutrient-density-related benefits?

Depending on the product, green “superfood” powders typically contain an array of ingredients ranging from fruits, vegetables, probiotics, and herbs. They are designed to help you easily drink your vitamins and minerals. However, they may also contain added sugars and artificial sweeteners. Although these ingredients contribute to flavor enhancement, they do contribute to the nutrient density of the product. You can add these green powders to smoothies, desserts, or water, and they claim that they are just as beneficial as consuming whole foods.

According to a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, forty subjects were given a fruit and vegetable powder in supplement form to evaluate the effects on cardiovascular health by measuring blood pressure and frequent changes to heart rate. After 90 days of supplementing, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased in the experimental group; however, heart rate was not affected over the 3-month period.

Can You Really Substitute Green Powders for Fruits and Veggies?

Green powders cannot “out-supplement a poor diet,” according to Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Lori Zanini. “Green powders should only be used in addition to a diet that’s still rich in whole plant foods.”

Green Superfood PowdersAlthough a few studies have reported benefits in consuming green powders, consumers should also be aware of the downfalls of nutritional green powders. For starters, and as I have mentioned in some of my previous articles, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not heavily regulate dietary supplements including green powders before they are placed on the market.

If you are considering purchasing green powders it is recommended to buy them from reputable sources that have been certified by a third-party certification body such as the NSF International, which tests the product’s ingredients for safety, purity, and validity. It is recommended to speak with a physician and/or registered dietitian and discuss your options for a blend that best fits your recommended dietary needs.

Not all powders are produced the same, which is why there is also the potential risk for contamination. Products have been found to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals including lead, arsenic, and cadmium.

Adding green powders to your drink can be a way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake; however, it is recommended you get your nutrients from whole foods first. Additionally, consider the cost of green powders as compared to purchasing fresh vegetables and fruits – make your own juice or smoothie from scratch using frozen produce. And while there is limited research on consuming green powders, there is abundant scientific evidence in support of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.

Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.

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