There has been an influx of green powders hitting the market shelves. Most claim to provide daily nutrition, and some promise more. Some additional claims you may see include improved energy, immunity, circulation and digestion. But how safe are these green powders, which can be packed with 20, 30 or even 75 ingredients? Here’s a look at why you should think twice about using vegetable powder regularly.
While this varies between brands, you’ll typically find a combination of many ingredients that may include vitamins, minerals, probiotics, adaptogens, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. While there may be studies on many of the individual ingredients, when taken together they may interact differently. Also, there is very little research on these powders with their massive amounts of ingredients when taken whole. Additionally, many of the adaptogens in green powders interact with everyday medications (such as blood clotting medications) or are contraindicated for health conditions (such as diabetes). There are no warnings or cautions on most vegetable powders, so it’s important to check with your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) before taking it regularly.
Dietary supplements such as vegetable powders are not well regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that the ingredients, ingredient amounts, and even the nutritional information you find in the “supplemental facts” list are not necessarily accurate. If you choose to take a vegetable powder, look for third-party verification to ensure that what’s on the label is actually in the container.
Many of these supplements provide ingredients that you can feel are healthy. However, they are usually not necessary and are often claimed to be healthy when they really are not. Here are a few examples:
Chlorophyll: There are claims that chlorophyll can help provide energy, help with weight loss, and even prevent cancer, but there is little research to support any of these claims.
Essential fatty acids: While some of the labels don’t say what ingredients you get your essential fatty acids from, the essential fatty acids they’re probably talking about are omega-3 fats. There are several types of omega-3 fats you can get from foods like walnuts, canola oil, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna, so you don’t need to take a supplement to get these nutrients.
Antioxidants: Fruits and vegetables are one of the main sources of antioxidants. According to the CDC, only one in ten individuals meet the recommended daily amount of vegetables (meaning they probably also have some antioxidants). Instead of opting for super expensive powders, increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables to get those antioxidants.
Digestive enzymes: Some vegetable powders contain enzymes, which help catalyze chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes are made naturally in the body and do not need to be taken daily in vegetable powder. For example, the enzyme lipase helps break down fat – your body makes the enzyme naturally.
Bottom line: Save your money by skipping any of these green mixes. They simply contain too many ingredients and there is little evidence of their effectiveness at the suggested dosage. If you decide to try any of these blends, always check with your healthcare professional first about any health or medication interactions and make sure the combination is third-party verified.