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Make sure you're choosing the best "greens" or "whole foods" powders and pills approved in our tests!

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Greens and whole food products compared in this review

View Larger Image 6354_small_AmazingGrass-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2019.jpg

Amazing Grass Green Superfood The Original

View Larger Image 6364_small_DrBergs-CruciferousSuperfood-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2019.jpg

Dr. Berg's Organic Cruciferous Superfood

View Larger Image 6355_small_DrMercola-OrganicGreens-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2018.jpg

Dr. Mercola Organic Greens

View Larger Image 7669_large_EarthCircle-Chlorella-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Earth Circle Organics Organic Chlorella Tablets

View Larger Image 6356_small_GardenOfLife-RawOrganicPerfectFood-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2018.jpg

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood - No Stevia

View Larger Image 6357_small_GNC-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2019.jpg

GNC Earth Genius SuperFoods Supreme - Mixed Berry Natural Flavor

View Larger Image 6358_small_GreenFoods-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2019.jpg

Green Foods Nature's Finest Green Magma Organic & Raw Barley Grass Juice

View Larger Image 6427_small_Jarrow_Formulas_Green_Defense_Detox-Whole_Foods_Greens-Small-2019.jpg

Jarrow Formulas Green Defense Detox

View Larger Image 6365_small_JuicePlus-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2019.jpg

Juice Plus+ Berry Blend +

View Larger Image 7670_large_MicroingredientsSuperfoods-ChlorellaPowder-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Microingredients Superfoods Organic Broken Cell Wall Chlorella Powder

View Larger Image 6360_small_NaturoSciences-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2019.jpg

Naturo Science Green Food - Berry Flavored

View Larger Image 7671_large_NOW-Chlorella-ChlorellaSpirulna-2021.png

NOW Chlorella 500 mg

View Larger Image 6359_small_HawaiinSpirulina-WholeFoodsGreens-Small-2019.jpg

Nutrex Green Complete Hawaiian Spirulina Superfood Powder

View Larger Image 7672_large_NaturesSuperfood-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Pure Hawaiian Spirulina

View Larger Image 7673_large_Solgar-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Solgar Spirulina (Plant Plankton) 750 mg

View Larger Image 7674_large_Swanson-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Swanson Spirulina

View Larger Image 6362_small_TraderJoes-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2019.jpg

Trader Joe's Very Green

View Larger Image 6361_small_Vibrant-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2019.jpg

Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

View Larger Image 6363_small_WholeFoods-WholeFoods-Greens-Small-2018.jpg

Whole Foods Market Super Greens Energy Blend - Mix Berry Flavor

View Larger Image 7675_large_ZazzeeOrganics-Spirulina-ChlorellaSpirulina-2021.png

Zazzee Organics 100% Pure Organic Spirulina Powder

Summary

  • What are the health benefits of greens and whole foods supplements?

     Greens and whole food powders are made from dried vegetables, fruits, and 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. For example, chlorella may help lower triglycerides and total cholesterol.

    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. (For more about protein supplements, also see our Protein Powders Review).

    Be aware that some of the 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 greens and whole foods products?

    ConsumerLab.com discovered lead contamination in two products, and it found that tablets of two other products would not properly break apart (i.e., disintegrate) (see "What CL Found"). Among products that were Approved for quality, CL selected Top Picks for the greens and whole foods categories of unsweetened powders, sweetened powders, and capsules, as well as chlorella-only and spirulina-only products based on their features, cost, and, for powders, taste.


  • How to Use?

    Products sold as powders are typically mixed with water or other liquids. Due to the somewhat unpleasant taste of chlorella and spirulina, it is recommended that those powders be mixed into more flavorful beverages or foods.


  • Cautions with Greens and Whole Foods Products:

    (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.
    • Greens and whole foods products should not be considered a substitute for a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which may provide additional fiber, volatile oils, and other nutrients.
    • 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 in which the amount is listed (see ConsumerTips).

Sources:

You must be a member to get the full test results and reviews for "greens" and "whole food" powders, pills, and drinks along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings. You will get results for 20 products: 16 selected by ConsumerLab and four others that passed voluntary certification testing. 

  • 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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