Greens powders have grown in popularity over the last few years with the rise of Instagram and TikTok influencers vouching for and consuming it in forest-hued smoothies or other drinks.
Visually, we reason that something so green must be good for us, and some experts maintain they can be valuable for people who struggle to eat enough vegetables and fruit.
However, most experts advise against overreliance on these powders because they don’t contain all of the nutrients you can get from picking up whole veggies and fruit from the produce aisle.
It’s difficult to know their exact composition and there hasn’t been enough research to verify their claims to improve overall health.
The powders are typically composed of dehydrated vegetables including leafy greens, other vegetables, seaweed, grasses, antioxidant-rich fruits, probiotics, enzymes, herbs, nutritional extracts, vitamins and minerals.
While most veggies and fruits have been proven to have or linked to health benefits, greens powders strip out some nutrients, most significantly fiber. This is the nutrient that helps create satiety and control blood sugar levels.
Look for verification
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates greens powders and other supplements as foods rather than drugs. It isn’t required to verify their ingredients, leaving consumers to sift through the products and the claims to find those which are relatively believable made by reputable companies.
It’s a good idea to stick with products that have been submitted to third-party testing by NSF International and U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP). Powders and other supplements with these labels have been found to include the ingredients they’ve listed in the correct amounts and to not contain certain contaminants.
Long-term studies needed
Research has been conducted on the efficacy of greens powders and yielded reports that they reduce blood pressure and increase the levels of certain nutrients in the bloodstream, from small, short-term studies.
Corroborating claims to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and other complex conditions will take years or even decades of study.