It seems like every supplement company is trying their hand at perfecting the greens powder, and today I’m trying the offering from one of the fitness industry’s biggest giants, Onnit. On the nutrition side, Onnit is perhaps best known for their nootropics and MCT oil. How does their greens powder measure up? I tried out the lemon mint flavor of their Earth Grown Nutrients All in One Daily Greens Mix.
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Soy-free and dairy-free, the product aims to approach health from five different angles: there’s a “Power Greens Blend” which has the more traditional greens powder ingredients of wheatgrass, barley grass, alfalfa and some seaweeds. (This is intended to alkalize the body.)
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Then there’s the “Champion Blend” of various Peruvian fruits and vegetables that are meant to increase the antioxidant effect. There’s a “Rainbow Blend” of fruits and vegetables that are meant to provide “numerous health benefits” and “delicious natural flavoring,” a “Detox Blend” of milk thistle, olive leaf, and dandelion root intended to “support the body’s normal detoxification processes,” and the “Gut Blend,” a collection of enzymes and prebiotics.
Notably, the gut blend does not contain probiotics, though prebiotics are essentially considered “food” for probiotics (fiber is a prebiotic) and are linked to healthier gut flora.
The All in One Daily Greens Mix comes in lemon mint and black cherry flavor. I tried the lemon mint flavor, and it tasted a lot like unsweetened chamomile tea with a very mild hint of lemon. It’s not sweet, it’s quite earthy, but it’s not overwhelmingly bitter like a lot of powders out there — and there are no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. If you like the occasional cup of plain green tea, you’ll be fine with this.
I want to give this product the benefit of the doubt, but it falls prey to the market’s tendency to claim a lot of very vague-sounding benefits without showing much evidence for it. The nutrition label is pretty short: it has 35 percent of the RDI of vitamin C, 22 percent of your iron (an impressively high amount), 12 percent of your fiber, 6 percent of your calcium… that’s kind of it. I don’t know if there are any other minerals – magnesium, selenium, anything like that. I don’t know how many prebiotics it has or how effective the dose might be.
It claims to have a blend of power greens that alkalize my body – but how much does it “alkalize” compared to, say, a cup of spinach? It says it contains five fruits and vegetables to help neturalize free radicals, which is what antioxidants do, but how many antioxidants does it have compared to a cup of real fruits and vegetables? I don’t know. Give me a way to actually understand the alleged benefits. I can appreciate that different greens powders might have different levels of different nutrients, but at least provide an average amount. Other greens powders do this; it’s not impossible.
Onnit does market their greens powder more honestly than a lot of its competitors — it doesn’t say this can replace all your other supplements and it doesn’t say it can substitute for any amount of fruits and veggies. But it uses a lot of suspiciously ambiguous language, particularly “designed to help you reach your daily green goal in one convenient and delicious drink mix.”
If that’s true, it should tell me how and to what degree it can substitute for fruits and vegetables. Many of the benefits of leafy greens come from the minerals, not the vitamins. As it is, I don’t even know if it contains any minerals beyond calcium, iron, and sodium, how many antioxidants it has, or in what way it can boost digestion.
It’s also pretty expensive, 35 dollars for 15 servings, or $2.30 a serving. That’s more expensive than most other supplements I’ve seen so far, except for Athletic Greens, which is about $4.20 a serving. Compare that with $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 of Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serve).
Many folks report higher energy levels and better digestion when they’re taking this product, which is great and that could be true, or it could be a placebo effect. If I knew what micronutrients are actually present in this micronutrient supplement, then I’d feel more comfortable recommending it.