Greens powders are everywhere and are appealing especially if you are finding it hard to consume enough vegetables. But behind their big marketing budgets and famous ambassadors, their recipes are merely a pinch of science and even less proven benefits.
What even are “greens powders”?
It’s a vague term that doesn’t really help us define what these products actually are. Before we dive into the science, let’s quickly determine what this stuff actually is…
Aside from being heavy on various dehydrated vegetables, there’s really no standard set of ingredients that applies to products in this category. Try reading the labels on a few bags of powdered greens and you’ll probably see a lot of phrasing like ‘superfood complexes’ and ‘proprietary formulations’ that requires some googling to make sense of. Once you peel back the layers of marketing-speak, you’ll find that what these products all have in common are a lot of individual ingredients that may or may not actually work well as one product.
More doesn’t mean better
Intellectually, we know that individual vegetables are good for us in the same way that we understand that individual vitamins and minerals are good for us (in the right quantities). The next logical step is to assume that by combining dozens of different nutrient rich ingredients into one package, that the health benefits of the whole are worth more than the sum of their parts. Seems like an effective way to get more bang for your buck right?
Not only does an overabundance of certain ingredients have the potential for unpleasant side effects, but this follows the same debunked “more is better” logic that has propped up the multivitamin market for years. Just packing a bunch of individually beneficial nutrients together doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing your health – or your wallet – any favors.
This pattern isn’t new. Johns Hopkins has been publishing evidence based studies about the ineffectiveness of multivitamins since as early as 2006 (and many others had been presenting evidence far earlier than that) – yet thanks to marketing efforts that continue to entrench the misperceptions about the effectiveness of multivitamins, you still see plenty of multivitamins on store shelves today. Now with multivitamins being rebranded as greens powders – the cycle continues.
Choose science over marketing
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