Green powders (vegetables in “powder form”) have become increasingly popular across social media — in particular, on TikTok.
With three million views of the hashtag #greenspowder, TikTokers are raving about various health benefits that they attribute to powdered greens, such as clearer skin, boosted energy, and improved gut health.
Among so many TikTokers, Maddie Stoy (8,000 followers) swears by the green stuff for its purported ability to ease bloating and digestion. Ali Archdeacon (59.8K followers) claims that green powder has banished her hormonal acne and made her eyes “brighter and whiter.”
Celebrities are getting behind the trend. Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah Winfrey, and Kate Winslet have sworn by green powder as a daily eating ritual. And the popular green powder brand Athletic Greens has big-time celebrity investors such as Hugh Jackman, Cindy Crawford, and Steve Aoki.
So, is green powder (sometimes called greens powder) really the cure-all we’ve been waiting for? Here’s what to know.
What Are Powdered Greens?
Greens powder is a dietary supplement that aims to help people reach their daily intake of vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. In general, to consume it, you’ll mix around 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of powder with 5 to 10 ounces (oz) of water to make a drinkable green juice, to be taken daily or as needed.
One of the biggest selling points of greens powder is that the brands often contain plenty of superfoods. While each brand is different, common ingredients found in greens powder are:
- Leafy greens
- Other vegetables
- Antioxidant-rich fruits
- Natural extracts
According to the American Heart Association, American adults need four to five servings of fruit and four to five servings of veggies per day. Only an estimated 1 in 10 Americans meet those goals, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s where powdered greens may help. For example, if you were to consume one 8 gram (g) serving (one scoop or one packet) of Amazing Grass powdered greens per day, you’d get two servings of fruit and veggies, according to this product’s packaging.
Still, keep in mind that there isn’t rigorous research on the exact combinations in common powdered greens, so it’s unclear whether the nutrients supplemented in greens powder offer the same benefits as their whole-food counterparts. (More on this later.)
How Much Do Powdered Greens Cost?
It depends on the brand. Nonsubscription prices for a 30-serving bundle tend to range from about $32.99 (Amazing Grass) to $99.99 (Athletic Greens).
What Do Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Think of Powdered Greens?
Although green powders may be pricier than fresh, whole produce, they may have some merit.
Sharon Palmer, RD, who is based in Ojai, California, says powdered greens can be a healthy supplement to a daily diet. “They can provide some of the nutrients found in greens, such as phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals,” she says, adding that nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E may fight inflammation and lower cholesterol.
Kale, a common greens powder ingredient, contains more vitamin C in 1 cup (19.6 milligrams [mg]) than a medium banana (10.3 mg), according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Another greens powder favorite, broccoli, may reduce “bad” LDL-cholesterol when eaten as a whole food, according to a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
Abby Grimm, a registered dietitian at FWDfuel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, says powdered greens may provide some health benefits, including:
- More robust immune function
- Higher energy levels
- Faster recovery from your workout
- Improved digestion
- Better mood and less stress
Some research suggests the nutrients in broccoli may be enhanced when powdered broccoli is mixed with other vegetables. Another study found that when fruit and vegetable powder was taken consistently, it lowered blood pressure.
Despite those findings, registered dietitians generally encourage their patients to get vitamins and minerals from whole foods rather than supplements. “Greens powders may not have all the nutrients found in a serving of leafy greens,” Palmer says.
Grimm warns of “overdosing” on fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, if your body is getting these nutrients from the foods you’re already eating.
Plus, Grimm says they may create gut imbalances. “For powders containing probiotics or other digestive support, it may not be the right strains or amounts for you personally,” she explains.
Who Should Try (and Avoid) Powdered Greens?
Powdered greens may seem like an inventive way to get your daily dose of vitamins. But not everyone needs to take this kind of supplement, and in general, whole foods are preferable.
There are only a handful of groups for whom Grimm recommends daily powder green juice, including those who struggle to eat enough veggies and drink enough water, and athletes with high calorie demands.
If you already feel good, you eat three to five servings of vegetables per day, or you are sensitive to supplements, Grimm says to stay clear of the green juice.
Supplements are supposed to be tailored to your needs, and not everyone needs them. Grimm explains that while supplements may be effective for some people, “it’s important to undergo necessary testing or be evaluated by a nutrition expert to get a personalized supplement protocol for you.”
Generally, greens powder is good for you. The real question is whether it’s necessary.
Palmer notes that people shouldn’t use greens powder to replace a nutrient-dense diet rich in whole foods. “A healthy diet [is] filled with a variety of vegetables and fruits,” she says.
“If you refuse to eat greens, this is going to be better than nothing,” Grimm adds, “but it does not replace all the value you get from the actual green foods themselves.”
The bottom line: If you eat a wide range of fresh vegetables and have an overall dynamic whole-foods diet, you likely do not need to add powdered greens to your daily diet.