Following juicing and green smoothies is the green powder trend- but can a spoonful of this powder replace your daily veggie intake?
What is in your powder?
First off, let’s examine what is in green powder and how it is made. To put it simply, green powder is essentially the powdered remains of vegetables that have been either freeze-dried or light-dried. The powder is made to retain as much of the nutrients and vitamins as possible, but does inevitably lose some of its fibre and nutritional content in the process.
Many green powders include ingredients like chlorella and spirulina, which are nutritional powerhouses that are less commonly found in a regular person’s diet.
As a nutrition article on bodyandsoul.com states, chlorella has been found by a Japanese study to reduce body-fat percentage and blood-glucose levels, benefiting those suffering from Type-2 diabetes, obesity, or heart disease.
On the other hand, spirulina is a superfood with a high concentration of natural nutrients. As reported in the publication, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, this superfood was found to be capable of stimulating the production of antibodies and regulating carbohydrate metabolism, among other benefits.
With ingredients like these, it is indeed true that green powders pack a nutritional punch.
But, do we still need to eat our veggies?
Yes, for sure. Jeanne Ricks, Holistic Health Coach and author of “The Biology of Beating Stress”, wrote in an article on green drink powders that “eating raw green vegetables is absolutely the best way to ensure your body is getting what it needs in the most natural way possible”, but green powders are “the next best thing” if you aren’t meeting your daily vegetable intake.
For regular people who do not suffer from nutritional deficiencies and are maintaining a healthy diet, green powders are unnecessary, says spokeswoman of Nutrition Australia, Aloysa Hourigan.
Furthermore, green powders might even do more harm than good. A report from ConsumerLab.com found that “nearly one third of powder supplements marketed as “greens” or “whole foods” don’t live up to their dietary claims—and may even be contaminated with lead, arsenic, or harmful bacteria”. So if you have to take green powders to supplement your diet, be sure to do your research before buying.
What about green supplements?
Similarly, you’re better off consuming actual fruits and vegetables. Nutritional consultant, Mike Roussell, PhD., wrote in an article for bodybuilding.com that green supplements “are not a replacement for eating fruits and vegetables”.
For someone with a healthy diet, the additional vitamins and antioxidants that green supplements have “won’t provide much more of a benefit compared to the fruits and vegetables you’re currently eating.”
So the bottomline is this: consume the recommended four to five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and it will benefit your body more than any powders or supplements would. And now, it’s time for some serious grocery shopping.