Eating greens is a healthy thing to do – and for good reason. There is a LOT of research on the benefits of green vegetables. But, what if you don't like veggies? Can a supplement get the same benefits? Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a BeachBody coach who asked me my thoughts about “Ultimate Power Greens”, a mixture of several vegetable and other ingredients that are said to have healthy benefits. Power Greens are one of the many supplements available on the BeachBody website. In this review, I'll look at the research and ingredients in Power Greens, give my impressions about it and hopefully answer your questions about whether it's right for you. Also see the review on Vegan Shakeology too for more insights.
What Are Power Greens?
The Ultimate Power Greens supplement is designed to help the alkalinity of the body. Being more alkaline, its proponents say, leads to better health. Power Greens are usually a part of a program called Beach Body Ultimate Reset although it can also be purchased separately.
From what I was able to determine, Power Greens has replaced another product called Alkalinize, which is no longer sold.
The idea of a reset, reminds me of what Juicing maven, Joe Cross says when he talks about a “reboot.” Either way you call it, it's the idea of returning the body to the way it was supposed to be.
See Joe Cross Reboot Protein for more on that supplement.
Power Greens Research
The Beach Body website does not mention any research on the Power Greens supplement. Just to double check, I went to the National Library of Medicine (Pubmed.gov) and searched for “power greens.” No relevant studies showed up.
I then went to ClinicalTrials.gov to see if any studies might be ongoing. Searching that site revealed no studies of Power Greens either.
I then did a basic Google search for “BeachBody Power Greens Clinical studies.” No studies showed up.
Therefore, I'm forced to conclude at this time, that the Power Greens supplement appears to have no published, peer reviewed clinical research.
Research or not, because it contains food extracts, I'm sure it has some effects in the body. Power Greens can be considered a “whole food” supplement. Probably the first of these type products was Juice Plus. See that review for the research on that product.
Power Greens Ingredients
According to the pack I have, each 5 grams (0.18 oz) of Beach Body Power Greens contains a proprietary blend of the following ingredients:
|Ingredients in Proprietary Blend||Percent Daily Value|
|Spinach powder (leaf)||N/A|
|Cucumber powder (fruit)||N/A|
|Celery powder (stalk)||N/A|
|Brassica oleracea powder (leaf)||N/A|
While we are not told how much of each of these ingredients makes up the proprietary blend, we can take a guess as to which makes up the most and least by remembering that ingredients at the top of the list make up most of the blend while those at the bottom of the list make up the least.
Since spinach leaf powder is the first ingredient, my hunch is that it's the most abundant ingredient. Since Brassica oleracea powder (AKA, kale) is the last ingredient, it's present in the lowest amount.
According to a pdf file I found, it's said that that Power Greens is “like eating 2/3 cup of leafy greens, 1/3rd cup of cucumber and 2/3rds large celery stalk.” It may be like eating those foods but I'd point out that since you can't fit all that food into just 5 grams, it's not exactly the same thing.
Spinach And Cucumber
Both of these foods are healthy. Many people eat, juice and blend these foods.
This is a type of blue green algae that is renowned in some circles for its health benefits. It has protein as well as antioxidant properties. There is research on spirulina. For example, One study, noted that spirulina improved fatigue and exercise ability. In this study, researchers randomly gave 18 healthy men (18-43 years of age) either 3 grams of spirulina or a placebo. They noted “a small but statistically significant” improvement in exercise ability after 1 week. The men also reported improvements in fatigue too.
In a small study, published in 2010, researchers noted that 6 grams of spirulina improved exercise ability and fat burning as well as a ramping up of the body's antioxidant levels.
In an earlier study, from 2010, researchers gave 7.5 grams of either spirulina platensis or soy to 16 college students. Students getting
spirulina were able to exercise longer and showed less muscle damage.
One study noted that spirulina lowered iron levels in overweight people with high blood pressure. This study used 2 grams of Spirulina maxima. Theoretically this might mean spirulina could be of benefit to those with iron overload disease as well as diabetes.
Overall, the amounts of Spirulina used in research studies appear to be greater than what is in Ultimate Power Greens. Would lower amounts work just as well? Maybe? It would take human research to know for sure.Here's Spirulina on Amazon
Like Spirulina, discussed above, chlorealla is also a type of blue green algea. Also like spirulina, it has protein too.
One study, published in 2000, noted chlorella reduced pain from fibromyalgia by 22%. This study involved 18 people who, each day, consumed 10g (50 tablets!) of Sun Chlorealla and 100 ml of liquid ‘Wakasa Gold' for 2 months. The type of chlorella used in this study was Chlorella pyrenoidosa.
At least one investigation has shown improvements in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease from chlorella supplementation. This study used 1200 mg per day of chlorella vulgaris.
Here is Chlorella on Amazon
Celery And Kale
Ultimate Power Greens also contains both celery and kale powder. Like spinach and cucumber, these are both healthy foods.
How To Use Power Greens
The packet says to mix 1 packet in 4-6 oz of distilled water. If the idea is to “cleanse” or “maintenance,” then use once per day. The idea of a “cleanse” usually means to clean one out. To me, that says laxative. Whether or not Power Greens increases time in the bathroom, I cannot say.
Why distilled water? Distilling water removes minerals and other impurities that might be present in tap water. In theory, this might make it healthier but I think this could depend on the water quality of where you live. Distilled water might also taste different than tap water and this might contribute to the taste of Power Greens (see the taste section below).
Overall, there doesn't appear to be any proof that distilled water is better than tap water if you are healthy. Many people say that the pH of distilled water is 7.0 (neutral) although according to this study, the pH of distilled water found to be about 5.7, which makes it slightly on the acid side. Either way, I'm not sure pH of distilled water makes a significant difference for most people. See the acidity/alkalinity section below for more on this topic.
How Much Fiber?
The product label does not tell how much fiber each packet has. If they are not listing fiber, my guess is, there probably isn't any or it's very
low. As can be seen from the picture, the label is actually pretty devoid of info on carbs, proteins etc.
What Is Power Greens Boost?
During this review I discovered a line of BeachBody supplements called “Boosts.” These are products that are meant to be a “convenient and simple way to customize your (shakeology) Shake for your very specific needs.”
Basicallys this says to me that these products are to be added to Shakeology to give it additional benefits.
When I checked, there were 3 different types of Shakeololgy Boosts available:
- Focused Energy
- Digestive Health
- Power Greens
The Power Greens Boost is also touted to “support the body's acid/alkaline balance.”
Is the Power Greens Boost the same or different than Ultimate Power Greens? Let's look at the ingredients side-by-side:
|Power Greens Boost (1 scoop = 5 g)||Ultimate Power Greens (5g)|
|Calories||20||amount not given|
|Carbohydrates||3g (1%DV)||amount not given|
|Protein||1g (2%DV)||amount not given|
|Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea) leaf powder||Spinach powder (leaf)|
|Cucumber (cucumis sativus) powder||Cucumber powder (fruit)|
|Chlorella spp||Chlorella powder|
|Spirulina (arthrospira platensis)||Spirulina powder|
|Celery (Apium graveolens) stalk powder||Celery powder (stalk)|
|Kale ( Brassica oleracea) leaf powder||Brassica oleracea powder (leaf)|
In the table above “spp” refers to several different species of chlorella.
So what are the big differences between these two products? As I see it:
- The Power Greens Boost label tells us the amounts of calories, carbs and protein. Ultimate Power Greens do not (why?).
- The Ultimate Power Greens label uses the overly complicated word for kale (Brassica oleracea) while the Power Greens Boost supplement comes right out and tells us, it has kale.
Either way you slice it, these two supplements appear to be the same thing with different names.
See the Shakeology review for more insights.
Does It Alkalize?
One of the key ideas from this product is that it “may help support the body’s acid/alkaline balance.” The idea of becoming more alkaline as way to improve health is quite popular. But, where exactly is Power Greens making us more alkaline? Is it the stomach, blood, liver, etc.? BeachBody does not say.
The acidity /alkalinity of the body is determined by the pH Scale which goes from 0- 14. A rating of “0” is very acid (think sulfuric acid) and a rating of “14” is very alkaline (bleach is about 13 ).
Just remember, the lower the number, the more acid something is and the higher the number, the more alkaline it is.
The pH of the body varies. It depends on what part of the body we are talking about. It's not a fixed thing. For example, a quick Google search reveals normal pH values for different parts of the body:
|Blood||7.4 (slightly alkaline)|
|Skin||5.5 (a little acid)|
|Small intestine||about 6|
|Large intestine||5.5 - 7.0|
The thing to remember is that different body tissues have different degrees of acidity or alkalinity. This is normal and healthy. For example, it's good for the skin to be slightly acid because this helps defend us from bacteria which might cause it harm. The pH of the blood is slightly alkaline (about 7.4) and the body has mechanisms in place to stop the blood from moving significantly in either direction.
As I remember one of my chemistry teachers once saying, a glass of orange juice would kill us if we could not defend ourselves against the changes in acidity or alkalinity caused by the foods we eat.
So what does all this mean? It means I don't think Power Greens will alter the alkalinity of the body for any significant period of time – and that is a good thing.
See the It Works Greens Review for more on this topic.
So, while I doubt the supplement produces any long lasting change in alkalinity, that doesn't necessarily mean you can write it off. The product does have powdered extracts of healthy foods and some interesting blue green algae. While I think the amounts of each are on the low side, I would not rule out that it might produce some favorable effects. I think however that those effects would be less than if you ate a salad or had a fruit/veggie smoothie or juice. Each person will have to consider this and the price and decide for themselves.
So why is everybody clambering about the benefits of being more alkaline? As I see it, by eating more alkaline foods – like vegetables for example – we flood the body with more antioxidants and other phyto-nutrients that in turn, protect us from disease. I think the power of being alkaline is just about eating better foods.
How Does It Taste?
I did not taste Ultimate Power Greens for this review. From the YouTube videos I saw, like this very funny video it doesn't appear to taste too good. Several people online I saw tried to reduce the taste by sucking on a lemon before and after drinking it. Taste is personal and I'm sure there are those who might actually enjoy it.
Power Greens Side Effects
I think Ultimate Power Greens (and Power Greens Boost) are safe for healthy people. Here are some things to consider for people who may not be “healthy” or have any health issues. This list is not complete.
- If you take blood thinner medications, talk to your doctor first. Same thing goes for kidney problems.
- Speak to your doctor if you are pregnant/breastfeeding.
- The product is intended for adults only. Not children. The BeachBody website mentions this too.
- Stop taking Power Greens at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
Bottom line: if your healthy, I don't think you have anything to worry about. If you are not healthy, show the ingredients do your doctor and pharmacist first.
Does Power Greens Work?
Dollar for dollar, I think Beach Body Power Greens is much more expensive than a salad or fruit/vegetable smoothie or juice you can make yourself. I think juicing, smoothies or eating a salad will each provide a much broader spectrum of nutrients and antioxidants than Power Greens. If you like the product, great, just don't use it as a substitute for eating vegetables. If Power Greens is part of your Beach Body Ultimate Reset program, then terrific, use it if you like. But, do you have to buy more when you run out of it? I don't think you do.Here are many other Power Greens supplements on Amazon