- Do greens and whole food supplements help? Greens and whole food powders contain a variety of nutrients such as carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, nucleic acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals from plants which may have some healthful benefits. Chlorella, an ingredient found in some greens products, may help to lower triglycerides and total cholesterol. However, these products should not be considered a substitute for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, be aware that claims of antioxidant activity and "alkalinizing" effects do not necessarily translate into proven health benefits (see "What They Do").
- What types of greens and whole food supplements are best? Most products tend to be high in fiber, low in sodium and fats, and usually only contain a small number of calories. Some contain additional ingredients such as prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, or added fiber. Unlike protein powders and meal replacements, these products typically provide little protein (see "What CL Found"). (If you want to supplement with protein, see our Protein Powders Review).
- Which brand of greens and whole food supplements is best? ConsumerLab.com discovered that one of the greens and whole food products it selected and tested had unacceptable contamination with lead (See "What CL Found"). Among those that were Approved for quality, CL selected Top Picks among unsweetened powders, sweetened powders, and capsules based on features, cost, and, for powders, taste.
- How to use greens and whole food supplements? Products sold as powders are typically mixed with water or other liquids. Although many greens products contain a long list of ingredients, specific amounts for each ingredient are not always provided. If you are looking for a particular active ingredient, such as CoQ10 or probiotics, and the amount is not listed, you may want to consider getting it from a separate supplement (see ConsumerTips™).
- Safety and side effects of greens and whole food supplements: Greens products should not be considered a substitute for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. While most of the food ingredients in greens products are generally safe, some may contain herbal extracts, vitamins and minerals, and other ingredients that could potentially cause unexpected side-effects and/or interact with other nutrients and drugs. Other common greens ingredients have been reported to cause side effects: chlorella may cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea or constipation, and allergic reactions and other adverse events have been associated with the use of Spirulina (see Concerns and Cautions).
Greens and Whole Food Powders and Supplements
Choose the Best Greens and Whole Food Powder or Pill. Contamination Remains a Problem.
Greens and whole food products compared in this review
Amazing Grass Green Superfood
Dr. Berg's Organic Cruciferous Superfood
Dr. Mercola Organic Greens
Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood
GNC Earth Genius SuperFoods Supreme
Green Foods Nature's Finest Green Magma Organic & Raw Barley Grass Juice
Jarrow Formulas® Green Defense® Detox
Juice Plus+ Berry Blend
Naturo Science Green Food - Berry Flavored
Nutrex Green Complete Hawaiian Spirulina Superfood Powder
Trader Joe's Very Green
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance
Whole Foods Market Super Greens Energy Blend
In addition the results of its expert testing, ConsumerLab uses only high-quality, evidence based, information sources. These sources include peer-reviewed studies and information from agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and the National Academy of Medicine. On evolving topics, studies from pre-print journals may be sourced. All of our content is reviewed by medical doctors and doctoral-level experts in pharmacology, toxicology, and chemistry. We continually update and medically review our information to keep our content trustworthy, accurate, and reliable. The following sources are referenced in this article:
- Al-Dhabi, Saudi J Biol Sci 2013
- Azocar, World J Gastroentrol 2013
- Cox, Proc R Soc B, 2016
- Heussner, Tox Appl Pharmacol 2012
- Lee, Nutr Res Pract 2008
- McCarron, Aquat Biosys 2014
- Merchant, Phytother Res 2000
- Parikh, J Med Food 2001
- Park, Nutr Res Pract 2016
- Roy-Lachapelle, Toxins 2017
- Ryu, Nutr J 2014
- Schwalfenberg, J Environ Public Health 2012
- Webster, Med Sci Sports Exercise 1993
- Williams, Nutrients 2017
- Which greens and whole food powders failed testing and which passed
- ConsumerLab's Top Picks for best greens and whole food powders based on quality, and cost, and, for powders, taste
- Direct comparisons of greens and whole food supplements, including vitamin and mineral assessments
- Price comparisons
- Whether herbs and other ingredients are included at doses known to be effective
- Concerns and cautions with greens and whole food products, including specific concerns with chlorella, spirulina, and Aph. flos-aquae.
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