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Greens Review Oct 2023


  • Are supplements good substitutes for fresh fruits and vegetables?

    We found that "fruits" and "veggies" supplements were not substitutes for getting the recommended daily intakes of fruits and vegetables, despite marketing claims for some saying they are. At best, only one-fifth of the adult daily requirement might be met with a suggested daily serving of any of these products. Adults need about 500 grams of fresh fruits and veggies per day. If dried and made into powders, this would equal about 50 grams per day. Most supplements provide no more than 2 to 10 grams of powdered fruits and veggies per suggested daily serving; many don't even list the amounts; and some contain greater amounts of ingredients such as tapioca syrup and sugar than fruits or vegetables. In fact, you can get more fruit (and fiber) from a single apple than from most fruit supplements, and at much lower cost.
  • What are the health benefits of supplements that contain fruits, veggies, and other "greens"?

    Greens powders, pills, and gummies are made from dried or concentrated vegetables, fruits, grasses, and certain types of algae (e.g., chlorella and spirulina) providing a variety of nutrients such as carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, nucleic acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals that can have healthful benefits.

    Plant-based greens and whole foods products tend to be high in fiber and low in fats, making them low in calories per gram. They also tend to be low in sodium. Some contain additional ingredients such as prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, or added fiber.

    Although plant-based products typically provide little protein, algae-based products made mostly from chlorella or spirulina are rich in protein, which makes up about two-thirds of their weight, and some products include protein from plant sources, such as peas and soy. (For more about protein supplements, also see our Protein Powders Review).

    Chlorella may help lower triglycerides and total cholesterol. However, be aware that many uses for which greens and whole foods supplements are promoted are not backed by science. For example, claims of antioxidant activity and "alkalinizing" effects do not necessarily translate into proven health benefits; the evidence is weak regarding a blood sugar-lowering effect of spirulina; and a study of the systemic anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects of Juice Plus+ showed no significant benefits compared to placebo (see "What They Do").
  • What problems did ConsumerLab find with fruits, veggies, and greens supplements? discovered the following problems:
    • Tablets of three products would not properly break apart (i.e., disintegrate) (see "What CL Found").
    • Small amounts of lead were found in products, nine of which should, consequently, not be used on a regular basis by children and pregnant women. Fortunately, none of the products were found to have microbial or pesticide contamination, and “gluten-free” products were found to meet this claim.
  • Which greens supplements are best?

    Among products that were Approved for quality, CL selected Top Picks that provide superior value, features, and taste among greens, chlorella, and spirulina supplements
  • Cautions with fruits, veggies, and greens supplements:

    (see "Concerns and Cautions" for more details)
    • While most of the food ingredients in greens products are generally safe, some products 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.
    • Chlorella may cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea or constipation. Allergic reactions and other adverse events have been associated with the use of spirulina.
    • 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 and the amount is not listed, consider getting it from a separate supplement that lists the amount on the label (see "ConsumerTips").
    Also see our separate Reviews of Seaweed Snacks and Kelp Supplements.

Make sure you're choosing the best fruits, veggies or "greens" powders and pills approved in our tests!

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Fruits, veggies, and greens products compared in this review

View Larger Image Amazing_Grass_Greens_Blend_Superfood-Chocolate-Greens-2023-small.png

Amazing Grass Greens Blend Superfood - Chocolate

View Larger Image AG1-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Athletic Greens AG1

View Larger Image BalanceOfNature-WholeProduce-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Balance of Nature Whole Produce Fruits

View Larger Image BalanceOfNature-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Balance of Nature Whole Produce Veggies

View Larger Image Barleans_Greens-Chocolate_Silk-Greens-2023-small.png

Barlean's Greens - Chocolate Silk

View Larger Image Brick_House_Nutrition_Field_Of_Greens-Greens-2023-small.png

BrickHouse Nutrition Field Of Greens

View Larger Image Country_Farms_Super_Greens-Berry-Greens-2023-small.png

Country Farms Super Greens - Berry

View Larger Image Dr_Mercola_Organic_Fermented_Greens-Greens-2023-small.png

Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Greens

View Larger Image 8080_large_EarthCircle-Chlorella-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Earth Circle Organics Organic Chlorella Tablets

View Larger Image JuicePlus-FruitBlend-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Juice Plus Fruit Blend +

View Larger Image JuicePlus-FruitsAndVeggies-2022_copy-small.png

Juice Plus Vegetable Blend +

View Larger Image 8086_large_MicroingredientsSuperfoods-ChlorellaPowder-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Microingredients Superfoods Organic Broken Cell Wall Chlorella Powder

View Larger Image NOW-Chlorella-ChlorellaSpirulna-2021-small.png

NOW Chlorella 500 mg

View Larger Image NOW_Spirulina_1000_mg-Greens-2023-small.png

NOW Spirulina 1,000 mg

View Larger Image NutriLife-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Nutrilite Concentrated Fruits And Vegetables

View Larger Image Orgain_Organic_Superfood_plus_Probiotics-Greens-2023-small.png

Orgain Organic Superfood + Probiotics

View Larger Image Organic_Traditions_Chlorella_Powder-Greens-2023-small.png

Organic Traditions Chlorella Powder

View Larger Image Paleo_Valley_Organic_Supergreens-Organic_Strawberry_Lemonade_Flavor_with_a_Touch_of_Mint-Greens-2023-small.png

Paleo Valley Organic Supergreens - Organic Strawberry Lemonade Flavor with a Touch of Mint

View Larger Image NaturesSuperfood-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Pure Hawaiian Spirulina

View Larger Image Root2-FruitsAndVeggies-2022-small.png

Root2 42 Fruits & Vegetables

View Larger Image Solgar-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Solgar Spirulina (Plant Plankton) 750 mg

View Larger Image Swanson-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Swanson Spirulina

View Larger Image Vibrant_Health_Green_Vibrance-Greens-2023-small.png

Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

View Larger Image ZazzeeOrganics-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021-small.png

Zazzee Organics 100% Pure Organic Spirulina Powder

You must be a member to get the full test results along with recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 23 fruits, veggies, and greens products selected for testing by, as well as one other that is included for having passed testing in its voluntary Quality Certification Program.

In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:

  • Which fruits, veggies, and greens products failed testing and which passed
  • ConsumerLab's Top Picks among fruits, veggies, and greens products based on quality, and cost, and, for powders and gummies, taste
  • Direct comparisons of greens and whole food supplements, including vitamin and mineral assessments
  • Price comparisons
  • Whether fruits and veggies supplements are good replacements for recommended intakes of fruits and vegetables
  • 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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Additional Information
Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.