Today, I bring you another battle of the green supplements. This time, Athletic Greens vs Amazing Grass.
Anyone who has tried green supplements has experienced health benefits, provided they needed them in the first place.
The more reputable brands offer products that contain vitamins and minerals, perhaps even extras like probiotics, enzymes, and adaptogens.
Both Athletic Greens and Amazing Grass are popular brands. I look at whether they actually back up their claims and the pros and cons of each of them.
If this is your first foray into drinking your greens in powdered form or if you just don’t enjoy the taste or texture of your current product of choice, I’ve got you covered.
After all, who wants to be chugging something nasty every day, even in the name of health.
Plus, find out whether you actually need your green supplement or not.
Can Green Supplements Replace Vegetables?
Sadly, the answer is no. Even if you hate vegetables, especially your greens, there is no way around it.
These products are only meant to be used to supplement your diet.
Fresh vegetables come in the perfect packaging.
By this, I mean that the nutrients, from the vitamins and minerals to the antioxidants and fiber are in ratios designed to be absorbed and used in your body optimally.
There may be some exceptions, for example, iron in plant foods (non-heme iron) isn’t as bioavailable (able to be absorbed) as in the iron in meat (heme iron).
This is because it’s blocked by some of the anti-nutrients (which are also healthy for you) in present in green plants.
But simply complimenting those veggies with vitamin C-rich veggies or fruit sorts that out right away.
I can guarantee your meals will taste great with a variety of veggies, or even fruit. Plus when you eat the “rainbow” you will get a wide variety of nutrients.
Some veggies that contain iron are naturally high in vitamin C. Like broccoli. Plus cooking methods such as steaming and boiling remove some of the anti-nutrients that block absorption.
Antioxidants don’t work as well outside of the plants. In some cases, taking antioxidant pills may even be harmful to your health.
The benefit of these green powders is that they are made from actual grasses, vegetables, and fruit. But they still lack the water and fiber content of fresh produce.
Do You Need a Green Supplement?
If you’re someone that skimps on the veg because you don’t like vegetables or because you don’t have time to cook regularly, then yes.
The nutritional value of fresh produce isn’t what it used to be.
Even if you are sticking to the bare minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables (2 fruit and 3 veggies), you are likely falling short of some nutrients.
You may benefit from a green supplement then.
If your intake of nutrients is low, you will likely enjoy benefits like more energy, more mental clarity, and a stronger immune system from drinking these green powders daily.
Especially if you have become deficient in some nutrients.
If not, you may not notice any changes at all. You can still benefit from these supplements during times when you are too busy to cook or traveling.
Athletic Greens was founded by Chris Ashenden. He developed this product to treat gut issues that he suffered from that just wouldn’t respond to the usual treatments available.
It worked for him and so he decided to mass-produce Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily
to help others too. It’s available as a pouch with 30 servings and travel pack with 30 servings.
Chris also started a charity program that helps out the underprivileged in Algeria.
This green supplement been around for over 10 years now and has received plenty of good reviews.
So let’s see, does this product back up the claims.
Athletic Greens Ultimate Daily is made from 75 natural whole food ingredients. It’s 100% vegan-friendly.
It’s also free from GMOs, herbicides, pesticides, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, sweeteners.
In terms of allergens and sensitivities, it’s free from gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, lactose, sucrose, and dextrose.
It contains less than 1g of sugar per scoop and is keto-friendly.
According to their website, one scoop per day addresses five different areas of health.
When looking at the ingredients list, it’s divided into 5 categories:
- Supplement facts that display the vitamin and mineral content
- Alkaline, nutrient-dense raw superfood complex
- Nutrient-dense extracts, herbs, and antioxidants
- Digestive enzyme and super mushroom complex
- Dairy-free probiotics (7.2 billion CFU)
The greens in this supplement include wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa leaf, broccoli flower powder, and barley leaf powder.
These greens in their fresh form are full of minerals like calcium and magnesium, and antioxidants.
This blend of greens also has other alkalizing and antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables in the mix such as beetroot, carrot, apple, papaya, grapeseed extract, and green tea extract.
Their extract and herb blend includes milk thistle which is beneficial for liver health and dandelion which helps to get rid of water retention.
There are also a few adaptogens that studies show reduce stress, benefit brain health, and reduce fatigue.
This powder also includes digestive enzymes to aid the digestion of all the nutrients and two probiotic strains to improve gut health.
Vitamins C and E are all over 100% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) as are the B-vitamins with the exception of pantothenic acid which is at 40%. Vitamin A is at 62%.
With the exception of zinc which is at 100% of the RDA, all the other mineral levels are below 30%.
There is no iron or vitamin D.
There is only 2g of fiber, 2g of protein, and 6g of carbohydrates. The fat content is not listed.
Most of the vitamins and minerals listed are on par with at least one serving of fruit or vegetables. But you are still not getting the full nutrition profile you would get from fresh or frozen veggies.
Who Should Take Athletic Greens?
Anyone that doesn’t get enough fruit and vegetables in their diet. Athletes, those that are ill or injured, or anyone under a lot of stress will also benefit.
In particular, if you are very stressed out, you might find the adaptogens helpful. I do want to caution you that the adaptogens in this product might not be in the required amounts.
But it’s worth a try. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or on any medication, chat to your doctor first.
Amazing Grass was founded in 2002 by friends Brandon Bert and Todd Habermehl. Brandon’s grandfather had been growing wheatgrass, alfalfa, and barley grass since the 1930s.
Every day, Brandon had a green smoothie with grasses from his grandfather’s farm.
Todd caught on and says that he had more energy and mental clarity after making a habit of drinking these green smoothies..
This inspired them to start Amazing Grass.
As with Athletic Greens, there are many good reviews. So let’s see if science backs up the claims.
Amazing Grass Green Superfood consists of a green food blend, antioxidant blend, EFA (essential fatty acid) fiber blend, and digestive enzyme and active pre/probiotic blend.
There is no indication of how many CFU (colony forming units) there are for the probiotics.
The Green Superfood Originals come in three flavors, The Original, Chocolate, and Berry.
The Original and Berry flavors claim to contain two full servings of fruit and veggies per scoop while the chocolate flavor claims to have one full serving per scoop.
It’s made with organic ingredients and is free from GMOs, gluten, eggs, dairy, added sugar, and any other animal products.
It’s vegan and vegetarian-friendly, keto-friendly, and safe for those on a low sodium diet.
The ingredients are listed in four categories:
- Green food blend
- Antioxidant blend
- EFA fiber blend
- Digestive enzyme and active culture pre/probiotic blend
The tubs range from 30 servings to 60 servings or 100 servings. There are also travel packets.
The green food blend includes the cereal grasses, wheat grass and barley grass, as well as alfalfa and broccoli.
Cereal grasses are rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K as well as minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sulfur.
It also contains blue-green and green algae, chlorella, and spirulina.
These types of algae are similarly good sources of minerals and also provide amino acids (building blocks of protein), antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids.
The antioxidant blend includes rosehips, maca powder, green tea extract, apple, carrot, goji berry, raspberry, and beetroot.
These ingredients fight against free radicals and maca may even improve mental performance.
The fiber and digestive enzyme and pre/probiotic blend helps to keep the gut healthy by improving digestion, feeding existing beneficial bacterial strains, and introducing more healthy bacteria.
Flax seeds are also filling, rich in omega 3 and protein, and may keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control.
The chocolate flavor has an added cocoa blend of cocoa, cacao, and redwood cocoa. The berry flavor has natural flavoring added. Other than that, I can’t see much difference.
The vitamin and mineral content is quite low. Only vitamin K is over 50% of the RDA. Vitamin C comes in at 18%. Vitamin A, calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium are all under 8%.
The Chocolate flavor has a similar nutrient profile with the exception of a slightly higher vitamin K and iron content.
The berry flavor has an even higher vitamin K content and instead of a higher iron content, it has slightly more vitamin C.
If this is one of your few sources of fruit and vegetables, the vitamin and mineral content is very low.
In the case of sodium, that’s good because you will likely be consuming more sodium throughout the day.
There is also no mention of magnesium which you would expect to be present in green veggies. In fact, if you look at the nutrition in half a serving of broccoli, you will see this product falls short.
There is only 3g of fiber and 2g of protein. Carbs are at 5g. As with Athletic Greens, the fat content isn’t listed.
Who Should Take Amazing Grass?
Anyone who manages to reach most of their recommended fruit and vegetable intake, but still falls a little bit short.
Those who are ill, injured, or under a lot of stress may find the extra bump, albeit a small one, in nutrition helpful.
Those looking for a more affordable green supplement.