A friend of mine asked me to provide Athletic Greens reviews as a supplement awhile back. I gave him a lot more information than was expected, which is always good to hear. I was providing my expert opinion because it is needed. A lot of people get led astray by supplement promises that may or may not be true. Everyone should research any supplement before taking it. I was honored my friend included me in his search for solid answers.
Most Dietitians will say, “food first.” This is what I say. We mean that our number one choice for our bodies and our client’s bodies to receive macro- and micro-nutrients along with antioxidants is through whole, natural foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins are the 5 major food groups and should be what we see on our plates the majority of the time.
A Dietitian’s plight is to fight for “food first,” knowing most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables each day. The other dilemma is that people are willing to spend a lot of money on a supplement and convenience versus putting that money towards whole foods.
Pros and Cons of Athletic Greens
A pro for the product is being certified because a lot of supplements are not. Still, the only certification it shows is with NSF, which is for sports. So, they are certifying there is not a banded substance in it. Not all that important for an average person but would be if you were an athlete or in a competition.
An obvious con that there is a proprietary blend. This means that you are given a list of ingredients but have no idea the exact proportion of each ingredient. You can probably still infer the first ingredient is the most prevalent, going all the way through the list with the last ingredient listed being the least prevalent.
Ingredients and Cost of Athletic Greens
The proprietary blend or “superfood complex” has spirulina, lecithin, and apple powder as the first three ingredients. Conducting a search on each of these and picking the cheapest ones found, spirulina cost $4.88, lecithin cost $4.11, and the Apple powder cost $12.99. The interesting thing is that they have different amounts. The spirulina provides 90 capsules, lecithin 100, and the apple powder 8 servings. So, for the pills, you’re actually getting a lot more servings (and maybe more milligrams of the product — unknown due to proprietary blend) versus the AG powder of only 30 servings.
The apple powder could literally be made yourself from dehydrating apples and then blending them into a powder. One could do that a lot cheaper and probably have more servings.
If you go through the ingredient list and find that the vast majority of the ingredients are worth taking for the health reasons, it is more economical to buy the AG product. It has everything in one pill versus buying the ingredients individually for various prices, various amounts, and having a zillion pill bottles.
On the flip side, if you do go through the ingredient list and find there’s only around five that really interest you to try, then buying those individually would most likely save you money in the long run.
A Dietitian’s View on Athletic Greens
I could definitely can see someone simply buying a normal, daily multivitamin and a few additional supplements that the blend provides that are of interest, while still consuming a variety of whole, healthy foods.
I suppose another way to stretch your bang for the buck, if you did get this product, would be to take it every other day or every 2 to 3 days while taking a cheap, normal daily multivitamin the days you’re not consuming the AG product. Assuming one is still trying to eat healthy foods at meal and snack times.
Athletic Greens is not a meal replacement, just a supplement. If you feel you are not getting enough vitamin- and mineral-rich foods then look into a supplement. I would definitely look into a multivitamin first because of the expense. If one increased food variety, micronutrients would be taken care of, for instance. Although, most people are not deficient in micronutrients.
As a lot of supplements go, there are a lot of healthful ingredients. This is a postive for this product. However, several of the ingredients can and should be consumed in whole food form. A few ingredients would be more difficult, such as wheatgrass juice powder. Yet, it has contains broccoli flower powder, papaya powder, and pineapple fresh fruit concentrate, which would be foods to consume in whole form and are not uncommon.
I would look at all the ingredients and see which you feel are really that important to you and your health. Maybe you look at spirulina the number one ingredient for that super food complex, for instance, and decide that you don’t really need it. Personally, I would save my money and just put what I was willing to spend on a supplement towards my grocery bill or the few pinpointed supplements I do want to try.
Is Athletic Greens Worth It?
In my opinion, this supplement is not worth it.
Here are some reasons:
- If you didn’t spread out the servings more than the 30 as stated on the container, you would be spending $100 a month and $1,200 a year. That could be put towards your food bill or just something else in general, and I don’t think a lot of people have that type of extra cash each month.
- I think it places more emphasis on a product to make you healthy versus actual food or education or simply behavior change.
- It kind of goes against all Dietitians saying food first and the promotion of food variety with other healthy lifestyle habits to manage your health.
- Most people don’t do a deep dive into supplements, which is unfortunate, so they should hire a Dietitian. If the research is done, then they could decide “Do I really need a product that has apple powder in it when I could simply just eat an apple or make my own apple powder?”
- I would also wonder if consuming a product like this everyday would make you feel healthy, but then, if the rest of your diet was crap, it would defeat a major purpose of the supplement. Almost like “Well, I had my supplement today, so I’m doing awesome. I can have this cheeseburger and fries.” This doesn’t work for long-term health and longevity.
What do you think? Let me know your opinion and if you’ve tried Athletic Greens in the comments!
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