Green Powder Supplements: Are They as Beneficial as Real Food?

Green powder supplements are relatively new to the market. Our grandparents couldn't imagine that one day, many people would have one scoop of powder as their breakfast. What are these powders, exactly? Why do people prefer them? Should someone expect a miracle from those green powders? Let's learn more about what green powders offer and what benefits we can get from them.

Key takeaways:

Green powders are based on two main ideas: they should be practical and should be nutritive. Nobody has enough time to prepare their meals, but most do not want to eat junk foods as our awareness of health and wellness expands.

The industry saw this need at some point, and first, many brands provided food supplements to cover vitamin and mineral needs. Then, vitamin and mineral supplements weren't enough to cover a person's needs. Besides those micronutrients, the human body needs good energy sources balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and fat. For many digestive functions and general health, we also need fiber.

Now, we have green powders packed with whole macro- and micronutrients in a very practical form.

Benefits and risks of green powders

There is no black or white in science; there are always gray areas when answering any question whether something is beneficial or harmful.

Studies have shown that consumption of leafy green vegetable powder improved blood hemoglobin and retinol concentration for children in Ghana. It shows that green powder can be effective in certain groups that cannot meet their daily needs because of not being able to access fresh vegetables and fruits.

The reason is not necessarily economic status or geographic location. It can also be not having enough time or even not having a habit of eating fresh veggies or fruits. Additionally, whole fruit or vegetable powders are commonly used for the texture, color, or sensory properties in the healthy food industry because they are preferred rather than artificial additives.

Studies have shown that vegetable and fruit powders can maintain their phenolic content, which is important to get benefits from those powders. However, the production process decreases phenolic compound and vitamin-mineral content compared to fresh veggies and fruits. On the other hand, fresh fruits or vegetables spoil quickly, while powders can be stable for a long time, even up to 12 months. This is a great advantage of green powders compared to fresh forms.

There are some considerations. The most important risk while consuming such supplements is inappropriate production conditions, which may lead to toxins, harmful chemicals, or dosage problems.

Raw powders are at risk of contaminants, including hazardous or untested ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements, meaning manufacturers do not need to demonstrate safety or efficacy. Mislabeling and false claims are common issues. Look for brands that have independent research to verify their supplements.

Effects on athletic performance

The effect of green powders on athletic performance is often debated. Athletes require more energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. If their needs cannot be met through their diet, supplementation from reliable sources is a recommended strategy.

Many athletes, especially vegan and vegetarian athletes, may prefer vegetable and fruit powders, which are plant-based protein sources. However, the key here is to source these products from reputable brands with proper production conditions. This is important because some reports have indicated that some substances in such powders can be harmful to the body.

Additionally, as mentioned above, there is a risk of powders containing other unwanted chemicals and toxins. Therefore, consult your doctor and dietitian both to determine the most suitable amounts and content for your body's needs and to get recommendations regarding trusted brands on the market.

The last words

Green powders are products that have entered our lives, especially with the development of the healthy food industry. Although consuming vegetables and fruits directly is more natural, physiologically appropriate, and beneficial, these supplements can be used if the need cannot be met from fresh foods for various reasons. The key point is the "reasonable use of supplements" from reliable sources and in appropriate amounts. You can get guidance on this from your doctor and dietitian as needed.

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