If you spend time as much time reading content from internet fitness gurus as we do, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Athletic Greens. Tim Ferriss calls it his “all-in-one nutritional insurance,” and John Romaniello calls it “a mega-nutrient formula that covers all the bases.” The product itself says, “comprehensively packed with Organic superfoods (…) you never need to take another supplement again.”
Of all the greens powders on the market, Athletic Greens has probably made and received the most sweeping claims about its abilities. I took it to task.
Athletic Greens Ingredients
With seventy-five ingredients, Athletic Greens packs in more than any other greens powder I’ve seen. They’re broken down into four categories: “Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense, Raw Superfood Complex,” which comprises the bulk of the ingredients, then “Nutrient Dense Natural Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidants,” “Digestive Enzyme and Super Mushroom Complex,” and “Dairy Free Probiotics.”
They’re too numerous to mention, but those that stood out include spirulina, inulin, wheatgrass, broccoli flower, green tea extract, rhodiola rosea, ashwaganda, milk thistle extract, and a whopping 7.2 billion probiotics from two different strains. The probiotics really deserve highlighting, as they improve digestion and inflammation levels. Dedicated probiotic supplements usually range between one and ten billion probiotics, though they usually contain more strains.
One heaped tablespoon contains forty calories, 4.8 grams of carbs, 1.9 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
Athletic Greens Health Benefits
The front of the package boasts the product’s ability to improve energy, health, body, immunity, and happiness.
Normally, we’d be inclined to call those claims outlandish, but given a dose contains the antioxidants of twelve serves of vegetables and provides 700 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 100 percent or more of most B-vitamins (including B12) K2 and zinc; at least twenty percent of your RDI of selenium, manganese, and chromium; and ingredients that have been linked to mental health like rhodiola rosea and probiotics, well… there’s a decent chance it will indeed impact those areas of your health.
It’s certainly got more bang for your buck than other greens powders I’ve tried.
Sure, it’s hard to tell if ingredients like rhodiola rosea are present in sufficient quantities to have a measurable impact on your stress levels, which the plant’s best-known benefit, and the same goes for a lot of the ingredients. After all, you’re just consuming one heaped tablespoon. Is that enough reishi mushroom powder to measurably boost your immunity? Probably not, and some of the ingredients seem a little like token additions.
Athletic Greens smartly includes the aforementioned information about the actual vitamins and minerals present and the RDIs of each, which is something that some of its competitors don’t include, hoping the ingredient list will be convincing enough. For a lot of greens powders, the probiotics and the antioxidant levels are the primary selling point, but Athletic Greens is also a solid replacement for vitamins A, B, C, K2, and zinc supplements.
It doesn’t replace everything, however – it’s not true that, as the packaging says, you’ll “never need to take another supplement again.” It’s not a good source of the important minerals calcium and magnesium, so in addition to this greens powder, you will still need to eat plenty of leafy greens, or at least supplement them separately. It may have the antioxidants of twelve serves of vegetables (which is nothing to sneeze at), but it doesn’t contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals. It also doesn’t contain significant levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Most greens powders are terrible, some are OK, but this is the first I’ve ever had where I was willing to sip it like a normal beverage instead of shotgunning it like a freshman drinking beer. It’s flavored with a base of papaya, cherry powder, carrot, pineapple, vanilla, and stevia. Unlike a lot of powders, Athletic Greens doesn’t try to smother the bitterness of its ingredients with sweeteners; it also contains notes of ginger, which work alongside the bitterness to make a slightly sweet and spicy beverage that’s actually pretty pleasant.
Compared to most other greens powders, Athletic Greens is expensive. A bag of thirty servings is $127, which makes it $4.23 per serving. Even if you sign up for a subscription package, the price drops to $97 per bag, which is $3.23 per serving.
Compare that with $35 for fifteen servings of Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serve), $30 for 30 servings of Pharma Freak’s Greens Freak ($1/serve), Sunwarrior’s Ormus Super Greens at $50 for ninety servings ($0.55/serve), and $52 for a hundred serves Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serve).
But none of those products have anywhere near as many vitamins and minerals as Athletic Greens, and they typically contain less than a third as many probiotics. Athletic Greens does indeed function as a supplement for probiotics, antioxidants, vitamin C, B-vitamins, zinc, and K2. But if you were to buy every one of those supplements and take them every day, you’d probably still save money compared to buying Athletic Greens, though it’s worth noting that given the sources of the ingredients, there may be extra benefits to this product that are harder to quantify.
I take some issue with the claim that Athletic Greens is a replacement for every supplement you might want to take. It’s also four times the price as many other greens powders, which could be prohibitive for some consumers.
That said, it’s among the more nutrient-dense greens powder I’ve tied. It’s not very full of minerals like calcium and magnesium, so this shouldn’t replace green vegetables in your diet. But if the price is no issue, it could be a convenient source of a lot of essential nutrients.