- Green powders can't fully replace fresh vegetables in a diet.
- Fresh vegetables provide higher levels of dietary fibre and water content.
- Manufacturer's dosage recommendations for greens powder should be strictly followed.
- The amount of vegetable servings in greens powder varies by brand.
- Greens powder is beneficial for those with fast-paced lifestyles or chewing difficulties.
- Contaminant levels can be higher in greens powders than in fresh vegetables.
- High-quality greens powders with transparent sourcing are preferable.
- Greens powders often contain beneficial prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
- Digestive enzymes in greens powder may not be as effective as naturally produced enzymes.
- Greens powders are a useful addition to, but not a substitute for, a balanced diet.
Many of us struggle to eat enough vegetables in our hectic daily lives, despite knowing how important they are for ourselves and our families health!
Vegetables form a key part of a well-balanced diet for almost everybody, and a high-quality greens powder can be a great way to supplement many of the vitamins and minerals you might be missing out on if you aren’t quite hitting your required veggie intake!
So, the question is - can greens powder replace your veggies? And how many servings of vegetables are typically in it?
Let’s find out!
So, Does Greens Powder Replace Vegetables?
The idea that green powders can REPLACE vegetables in your diet is a misconception.
The main purpose of green powder is to bridge a nutritional gap, but they cannot replace fresh vegetables completely.
A good greens powder can help you hit your daily nutritional intake goals, but it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the real thing.
A greens powder lacks two things that fresh vegetables offer: high-levels of dietary fibre and water content.
When we eat fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens like kale, the water content and dietary fibre work together to give us that ‘satiety factor’ - in other words, we feel fuller for longer.
So, while you’ll still be getting many of the nutrients you would get from fresh vegetables in a greens powder, you may still be left feeling hungry.
You should also stick to the recommended dosage of your specific greens powder as they can have some side effects if you take too much. Some vitamin in greens powders such as vitamin A can be relatively easy to consume too much of (known as Hypervitaminosis A).
Symptoms can include liver damage, increased pressure in the brain, bone pain, vision changes, and skin changes. It’s hard to overdose on fresh veggies, but it’s easy to overdose on green powder.
Always follow the manufacturer's advice carefully, and consult a physician if you’re unsure how much you should be taking.
Again, these effects are very rare and require you to take excessive doses, but it’s good to be aware of.
How Many Servings Of Vegetables Are In Green Powder?
The number of servings of vegetables in your green powder will vary by brand, so there’s no exact figure we can give you.
Some suggest that just one tablespoon of greens powder can contain as many as 30 different fruits, vegetables, and superfoods - however, these are always in varying quantities and concentrations.
To find out exactly how many servings of vegetables are in your greens powder, compare its specific nutritional values to that of a recommended intake from vegetables to get a more accurate answer.
Is Drinking Greens The Same As Eating Them?
To answer plainly - no. Drinking your greens is not the same as eating them.
Vegetables are complex. When we chew our vegetables, we unleash a whole host of nutrients that are unveiled when we chew through the outer wall.
Each layer of the vegetable releases new nutrients, such as vitamins, proteins, and flavonoids. When we blend our vegetables or condense them into powders, we’re mechanically replicating this process.
There’s limited evidence to suggest that consuming vegetables in this way is bad for us, and actually, it can be incredibly beneficial for people living fast-paced lifestyles, or those who are unable to chew but still need nutrients from their food.
Unfortunately, drinking your greens is still not the same as eating them, and you’ll be missing out on a significant amount of fibre, a key component of whole foods like fruit and vegetables.
Green powders are generally low in fibre; in fact, many brands only offer 1-2 grams of fibre per serving.
Fibre can help lower cholesterol levels, normalise bowel movements, control blood sugar levels and keep our weight in check, so if you want to reach your daily fibre goals, you should always be opting for the real thing.
Greens powders may also contain more contaminants than fresh vegetables. For example, one study found that in four of the thirteen products tested, contaminants were present.
Many powdered greens don’t fall into the ‘dietary supplement’ category meaning they aren’t regulated by the FDA or any other regulatory body, so there’s no way to be completely sure what ingredients you’re getting in your product.
If you want to try green powder, always look for brands that use high-quality ingredients, are transparent with their sourcing and offer you the testing results from a 3rd party.
Can Powdered Greens Help With Gut Health?
Most greens powders contain a range of prebiotics and probiotics which may support our immune function and digestive health. Many probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut.
Most greens powders also contain digestive enzymes such as cellulase, lipase, papain, protease, and amylase.
Digestive enzymes help us break down the food we eat, and having enough digestive enzymes in our diet may increase our energy levels, reduce the symptoms of IBS, prevent leakages from the gut, and more.
Digestive enzymes also help us absorb the nutrients we require from our food, contributing to improved digestion, health, and wellbeing.
While there’s no doubt that digestive enzymes are essential (and beneficial), it’s unclear how effective the digestive enzymes added to green powders are for our health.
Digestive enzymes are produced and secreted naturally in the salivary glands, the cells lining the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine.
If you don’t have a deficiency, you should be producing enough of the enzymes you need to stay healthy.
However, if you’re not producing enough digestive enzymes, it may be worth taking a supplement like a greens powder to help. Always consult a physician first before taking a new supplement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do greens powders count as vegetable servings?
Greens powders can contribute to your daily vegetable intake but should not be considered equivalent to whole vegetable servings. They supplement your diet with nutrients found in vegetables but lack the full range of benefits of whole vegetables, such as dietary fibre and water content.
Should I get a greens powder if I don't eat vegetables?
If you don't eat vegetables, greens powders can be a useful supplement to help bridge some nutritional gaps. However, they should not be seen as a complete replacement for vegetables, and it's still important to try and incorporate whole vegetables into your diet for optimal health.
Should you still take vitamins with greens powder?
Whether to take additional vitamins with greens powder depends on your specific dietary needs and the contents of the greens powder. It's important to assess the nutritional composition of the greens powder and consult with a healthcare professional to avoid overdosing on certain vitamins.
The Bottom Line
Greens powders aren’t the same as real vegetables.
Although you’ll still get many of the nutrients you need, they are not a replacement for veggies -but rather a very handy and healthy addition to a good diet.
We recommend taking a high-quality green powder alongside a healthy, balanced diet to ensure you’re getting the most nutrients possible from your food.