By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
Green veggies, green juice and now green powder? Green powders (like those made from powdered green vegetables) are all the rage as they claim to be as good as a fresh green juice when it comes to nutrient content. But the question really is, are they just as good? We’ve had some great questions come into us here at Reboot, so let’s break it down to set the record straight.
Here’s a few hot topics that might help you understand the benefits of both:
Green juice (and other colored juices as well) are packed with nutrients that come from fresh produce, but total nutrients in a juice depend on type of produce and age of produce (more quantity and type of produce means more nutrients, and younger produce also means more nutrients). Powders on the other hand in some cases may have just as many nutrients (or more) – especially if the green powder also uses a variety of different produce and if they go a step further and add other items like green tea powders (loaded with antioxidants), spirulina (rich in B vitamins and iron) and others that can actually help to boost nutrient content of the powder. So, the short answer is that both can provide a good source of nutrients but like with anything, you want to be a savvy consumer and read your labels so that you really know what’s in there (no ingredients you can’t pronounce, but more on this below).
Nutrient absorption is dependent on a number of factors including (of course) how many nutrients are in the juice or item, but also – with powdered green juices, some of the digestive enzymes that can be present in whole produce may be lost in processing; however, when produce gets old or if juice is made and not consumed readily this can happen too. It’s also important to remember that absorption also depends on an individual’s ability to absorb what they’re eating and drinking. Again, on the whole, both may offer good nutrients that can both be absorbed.
Again this depends on the item, but most powders don’t have a ton of fiber. When compared, both may contain 2-3 grams of fiber, however the type of fiber may be different. Soluble fiber, the type that isn’t removed in the form of juice pulp, that’s good for heart health will likely remain in the juice; and on the other hand, insoluble fiber (the pulp) that can help to add bulk to stool may be more present in the powder. However, it just depends on the product, but likely neither is an overly significant source.
For a juice, more fruit typically means more sugar, and for the green powders you want to look for obvious sources of sugar (coconut sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, invert sugar). It’s also key to look out for also for other processed ingredients like preservatives and chemicals like sodium benzoate (a preservative), titanium dioxide (this may be a carcinogen), carrageenan (derived from seaweed but may cause gastrointestinal upset and more), heavy metals and more. Anything that sounds artificially made probably is- so try to avoid it! Fresh juices will never contain preservatives or chemicals!
At Reboot, we think fresh juices are best, but when you can’t get to a juice, adding green powder to a smoothie or water is a nice option. Overall there’s a place for both of these items, just try to choose your products wisely and read your labels. And as always, with your juices try to vary the produce you’re using in the making process because this too will help to increase your likelihood of receiving and utilizing nutrients