Is green powder really as effective as TikTok says?

You may have seen people on TikTok or Instagram drinking a glass of green water. The elixirs are laced with the popular green powder and the supplement is trending on social media for its purported health benefits. Scroll through the #greenpowder hashtag, which has been viewed more than 2.5 billion times on TikTok, and you'll see users raving about the product's ability to reduce bloating, boost immunity, clear skin, and give you a big dose of vitamins. Ability videos and antioxidants. they really work?

As a quick overview, greens powder is a dietary supplement that you stir or mix into water. They're typically packed with a long list of potent greens like spirulina, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, seaweed, chlorella, green tea extract, various fruits, and cooking herbs like parsley ( Wow). "Some powders also have added probiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber," says Dolores Woods, a nutritionist at the University of Texas Health Houston School of Public Health. Although the exact ingredients depend on the brand you choose, read these labels.

Green powders are growing in popularity because they're an easy way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake with little to no effort, says registered dietitian Brittany Scanniello, RDN, owner of Eat Simply Nutrition. It's much quicker to down a cup of greens than to buy a variety of ingredients from the grocery store to make a smoothie or salad.

Since everyone could use more nutrients in their lives, it makes sense that the green powder category is estimated to be worth $287.9 ​​million in 2021 and is expected to reach $673.1 million by 2028, according to industry research. However, as with all supplements, it's not always clear whether everyone needs greens powders, or if they're worth it. Registered dietitians are here to answer them all for you.

What does green powder do?

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By drinking the high amount of nutrients you get from these green powders, you may experience bursts of energy, improved digestive health, reduced body odor, better sleep, and more. Sure, this all sounds amazing, but what is true and what isn’t?

Spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and kale (the four most common ingredients in green powders) are among the most nutrient-dense foods, says Kieran McSorley, a registered dietitian at Brentwood Physiotherapy Center in Calgary. "Spirulina is particularly high in B vitamins, iron, and protein, while chlorella is rich in vitamins A and B12," he tells Bustle. All of this combined will provide extra support for your immune system.

Green powder may also have the effect of reducing inflammation in the body. While Scanniello said current scientific research is limited, she pointed to a 2011 study that found green drinks can reduce oxidative stress in the body by fighting free radicals, which can be beneficial for inflammation-related issues.

Drinking water with green vegetables every day can also reduce the intensity of body odor. "Dietary choices can affect our sweat, which in turn affects the smell of that sweat," McSorley said. "This is because sweat produced by different parts of the body contains different ingredients, and these ingredients are determined by our diet." When you switch out processed foods and switch to green powders, it starts to have an impact.

McSorley says people who consume green powders are also more likely to make other healthy choices, such as prioritizing sleep, drinking enough water and exercising, all of which can help improve your overall feeling. But beyond that, Woods points out, there's little evidence that green powders will boost your energy or provide the other benefits you hear about on TikTok.

So, is green powder worth it?

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When it comes to nutrition, Scaninello says a food-first approach is always best, meaning you should eat real vegetables and fruits rather than opting for powders or other supplements. "Powders are no substitute for the real thing, as whole fruits and vegetables are rich in healthy fiber, which is important for gut and heart health," she says. “There is no substitute for whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables in your diet.”

When you eat whole fruits or vegetables, you also get a variety of concentrated vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. "While green powders do contain some of these nutrients, it's worth noting that the concentration of fiber, vitamins and minerals is typically lower compared to whole fruits and vegetables due to losses during processing," Scaninello explains road.

Vanessa Rissetto, registered dietitian and CEO of Culina Health, agrees. "I don't think green powders do any better than if you eat the actual vegetables themselves," she said. “There’s nothing magical about green powder—it’s just easier to eat.”

Powders tend to be much more expensive than a bag of kale, which is why green powders aren't really worth it nutritionally or financially. That said, if you regularly struggle to eat enough vegetables, these supplements can really come in handy as a great alternative, especially since you can add them to water, juice, smoothies, and even dips and dressings middle.

If you do want to try green powders for yourself, it's important to note that the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements—so Woods recommends looking for products that have been third-party tested so you know what ingredients it contains and make sure it's made with real vegetables. "Avoid foods with added sugar and fillers, such as grains or soy," she says. It's also a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying green vegetables, as some supplements may affect medications or health conditions.

long story short

While green powders can provide you with a quick dose of vitamins and may be a convenient way to add more nutrients to your diet, you really shouldn't count on them to replace whole foods in your diet.

Research references:

Beato, T. (2020). The potential of chlorella as a dietary supplement to promote human health. Nutrients , 12 (9).

Boone, H. (2004). Effects of Green+: A randomized controlled trial. Can J dietary practice research. doi:10.3148/65.2.2004.66.

Lamprecht, M. (2013). Supplementation with fruit juice concentrate powder and exercise reduce oxidation and inflammation and improve microcirculation in obese women: randomized controlled trial data. Br J Nutr. doi:10.1017/S0007114513001001.

Rao, V. (2011). In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of the botanical supplement greens+™. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. doi:10.3390/ijms12084896.

Zuniga, A. (2017). Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor. Evolution and Human Behavior , 38 (1), 136-143.


Vanessa Rissetto, registered dietitian, CEO, Culina Health

Dolores Woods, RD, nutritionist, UTHealth Houston School of Public Health

Brittany Scanniello, RDN, RD, owner of Eat Simply Nutrition

Kieran McSorley, R.D., R.D., Brentwood Physiotherapy Center in Calgary