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The Wellness Library

What Does Your Doctor Think of Athletic Greens? Plus, How to Shop for Green Juice Powder

by | Feb 22, 2023 | Wellness

A glass of green juice sits on a marble cutting board on a kitchen counter.

Athletic Greens has quickly become a social media influencer favorite. You can barely start a YouTube video or scroll Instagram without seeing someone orchestrating their morning routine, green juice in hand. And a green juice powder that you can mix up at your leisure is enticing! Who wouldn’t want access to that every day? 

But is Athletic Greens worth the hype? Let’s cut through the chatter and dive deeper—here’s what your doctor (aka our practitioners) think about Athletic Greens and other green juice powders.

Athletic Greens review

This incredibly popular daily supplement is likely the one you’ve heard the most about from YouTubers, Instagramers, and Tik Tokers. It pops up just about everywhere you’ve made an online footprint, if you’ve done any health research on your browser or phone at all. 

Is its popularity warranted? Here’s a list of pros and cons to consider when thinking about purchasing Athletic Greens:

Pros of Athletic Greens:

  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free
  • Dairy-free
  • No GMOs
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • No sugar added
  • Contains a wide range of adaptogens for helping your body deal with stress
  • Contains 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole-food sourced ingredients in one easy-to-use daily serving
  • Contains probiotics and digestive enzymes
  • NSF certified for sport
  • Comes in travel pouches, making it easy to take with you anywhere

Cons of Athletic Greens:

  • $$$$—Athletic Greens is one of the pricier per serving options you can buy. It comes in at $3.30 a serving, while other greens powders (some certified USDA Organic) come closer to $0.80 per serving.
  • Not certified USDA Organic, which means that some of its ingredients may have been grown in soil that contains fertilizers, or they may have been sprayed with weed/bug killer during growth
  • Not all individual ingredients are certified organic either
  • Third-party testing information isn’t available on their website
  • Includes stevia as a sweetener (which some people are sensitive to, and can have an unpleasant aftertaste)
  • Other comes in one “flavor”
  • Not Certified Glyphosate Residue Free

The verdict? Athletic Greens is a well-rounded green juice powder that is convenient and easy to use. It falls short on certifications and third-party testing, and is pricier than we prefer, but if you’ve used it and like it, or you’re interested in trying it, it’s a fine choice.

Other green juice powder options

What you should look for in a green juice powder

If you’re interested in a cheaper-than-a-fresh-pressed-juice option and you want an easily accessible supplement to your daily nutrient intake, green juice powders can be a great option. Choosing the right one can mean you get the benefits of organic greens, probiotics, and other good-for-you ingredients on the daily, without much effort. But how should you choose a green juice powder? Look for these on the label or the company’s website:

Certified organic ingredients

We care about this because it means the fruits and veggies and other ingredients were grown to the USDA Certified Organic Standard. And when you’re ingesting concentrated produce like in a greens powder, this is important because you’ll avoid banned pesticides and other potential toxins that you might find in non-organic certified produce. There are other organic certifications, so if you don’t see USDA Organic, it still might be certified organic—check the label for other certifying bodies.

Third-party testing/certification

Third-party testing means that someone (other than the brand itself) is backing up its claims. This is key is because brands do not need to get their dietary supplements FDA approved before bringing them to market. In fact, the FDA explicitly states, “the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed.” Green juices powders can be third-party tested for heavy metals, microorganisms, pathogens, chemical pesticides/fertilizers, synthetic herbicides/fungicides, GMOs, glyphosate, gluten and more.

Certified Glyphosate Residue Free

Not many green juice powders will have this, but if it does, BONUS! Glyphosate is a synthetic herbicide patented in 1974 by the Monsanto Company and now manufactured and sold by many companies in hundreds of products—and has been associated with cancer and other health concerns (did you hear about Roundup in breakfast cereals? That’s what we’re talking about).

Digestive enzymes + probiotics

Digestive enzymes, like probiotics, can be a great addition to a green juice powder formula. Though the preferred way to support the gut microbiome is through eating a diet full of fiber and fermented foods, incorporating a well-formulated probiotic can be beneficial for those looking to improve GI health. This can include probiotics and digestive enzymes added to your daily juice—but if you have long-term or ongoing GI issues, consult with your doctor before adding these to your diet.

No sugar added

If you can avoid added sugar in any processed product, we prefer it. Many of the cheaper greens powders have added sugar to help with the taste—but it adds to your overall sugar load, and if you can avoid it, that’s the best choice. Some greens powders will have stevia or monk fruit for added sweetness. These are better choices, but some people have trouble digesting them, and some people don’t like the lasting aftertaste. So it’s important to evaluate this portion of the ingredients list on a greens powder.

No other filler ingredients

Just like with any supplement, we want to avoid fillers in the inactive ingredients list (aka, not the active ingredients list). That’s where you’ll find what rest of the formula is made of, what fillers a company puts in to take up space, what dyes they used to make the powder a homogenous color (‘cause herbs look like dirt and who wants to take a dirt-colored powder?), and preservatives. These are just as important as the active ingredients, since they can be hiding unnecessary components that you don’t need to be ingesting daily.

Anything you’re allergic or sensitive to

In general, we’d recommend avoiding added gluten and dairy in your greens powder, even if you’re not sensitive to these. They’re fillers and usually unnecessary. That said, if you’re allergic or sensitive to any ingredient, double check that the green juice powder you’re considering is free from those ingredients. If you have celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance, make sure to check for cross-contamination possibilities. If the product isn’t certified gluten-free and the packaging or website info isn’t clear, reach out directly to the company to confirm (or find a powder that IS certified GF). 

The key to finding a green juice powder that works for you? Eliminating unnecessary added ingredients and looking for third-party certification. If you’re still not sure, consult with your doctor for the best green juice powder for you.

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