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Are Greens Powders Actually Good for You?

The supplements are just the latest in a parade of products that insist they can heal your gut, reduce gastrointestinal discomfort, and make you an all-around healthier person. But do they work?

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A spoonful of greens powder in a wooden spoon Shutterstock
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Even if you don’t spend hours scrolling TikTok like the rest of us, you have almost certainly encountered Bloom Nutrition. The company, founded in 2019 by Mari Llwellyn and her husband Greg Lavecchia, is known for its powdered greens products that promise to infuse your body with nutrients, eliminate bloat, and improve digestion. Whether or not that is actually true, though, is the subject of much debate.

Bloom is, of course, not the first — or the only — greens powder on the market. These powders, typically made with pulverized kale, spirulina, and other “superfoods,” have lingered on health food store shelves for decades as a way for folks to pack as much nutrition into their diets as possible. But they’ve seen a surge in popularity in recent years, evidenced by Bloom’s success and its bounty of competitors, including Athletic Greens, BetterGreens, and Huel, all of which claim similar health benefits.

Probiotics and prebiotics have been trendy for years, and continue to be a fixture in popular beverages like kombucha and soda alternative Poppi. Greens powders like Bloom are just the latest in a parade of products that insist they can heal your gut, reduce gastrointestinal discomfort, and make you an all-around healthier person. But there’s little science to support many of these claims, and most dieticians think that people should be getting their nutrients from food, not supplements.

How did greens powders get so popular?

Bloom has earned an outsized place in the world of social media, dominating TikTok and Instagram feeds thanks to the countless influencers it works with. These influencers, like @camocamille, film themselves mixing the bright green powder with water while touting to their millions of followers how much less bloated and more energetic they feel. Once sold only online, Bloom made its way onto the shelves at major retailers like Target and Walmart in 2022. Now, the company’s packaging proudly proclaims that it is the top greens brand in America. It’s available in six different flavors, including berry and coconut, and is priced at around $40 for a 30-day supply.

Greens powders are intended to be mixed with water and drunk, offering an easy way for a person to consume a couple servings of vegetables, vitamins, and a few grams of fiber in one glass. Bloom’s blend is made with a combination of “greens and superfoods,” including barley grass and spirulina, along with digestive enzyme amylase, green tea extract for a boost of “antioxidants,” and adaptogens, or compounds that promise to reduce stress, like rhodiola and ashwagandha. On the nutrition facts label of its most popular product, Bloom doesn’t note how much rhodiola or spirulina is in each serving, though it does specify that it provides two grams of dietary fiber, and three percent of the FDA’s recommended daily amount (RDA) of iron.

I’m a reasonably healthy person. Do I need greens powders?

Probably not. Natalie Poulos, an assistant professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, thinks that Bloom and other greens powders are neutral at best. Not necessarily beneficial for most people’s bodies, but not dangerous either. Poulos notes that many of these supplements can contain extreme amounts of certain nutrients — Athletic Greens’s AG1 product contains 553 percent of your recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin B1, and 1100% of the RDA of biotin, per its nutrition facts. All of the excess nutrients, she says, will be eliminated in your urine. “They’re not harmful for everybody, but they’re probably unnecessary for most people,” Poulos says. “If you eat a generally reasonable diet, you don’t need to drink 500 percent more Vitamin C than is recommended.”

Poulos also points to the widespread fortification of vitamins and essential minerals into the American food supply as a key source of essential vitamins and minerals. Even if you think you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables — and most Americans don’t — it’s likely that your body is getting the nutrients it needs from other sources. Food fortification began in the United States in the early 1920s, when iodine was added to table salt in an effort to combat goiter and other thyroid diseases. In the 1930s, Vitamin D was added to milk to help eradicate rickets, a disease that causes weak bones. Grains have been fortified with B vitamins since the 1940s, and folic acid since the 1990s. As a result, nutrient deficiency is not a problem that most healthy Americans have to worry about.

“People think if they’re not eating salads for every meal that they’re not eating healthy, and that’s not true. There’s a misinterpretation of what eating a healthy and varied diet actually means,” Poulos says. “People in this country are not generally missing essential vitamins and minerals. We get a lot of vitamins and minerals that we aren’t necessarily aware of.”

Are there people who should stay away from greens powders?

Dietician Christy Harrison, author of the forthcoming book The Wellness Trap, says that she generally advises all of her patients to stay away from supplements entirely, unless there is a specific deficiency or concern, due in large part to the way that the supplement industry works. “The supplement field is largely unregulated. These companies are not required to meet any standards of safety or efficacy before they go to market with a new product,” Harrison says. “As a result, there’s a lot of supplements that are simply ineffective or don’t actually contain what they claim to contain.”

Harrison is also skeptical that Bloom, and greens powders like it, will actually improve anyone’s digestion. In fact, she says, for people who have chronic digestive issues or conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, consuming products like Bloom could actually make symptoms worse because they can be difficult to digest. “I would proceed with extreme caution. These things can be really hard on the GI system, and that can cause a lot of bloating and gas, and sometimes diarrhea,” she says. “At the very least, you should tell your doctor that you’re considering a product like this to make sure there’s no potential for adverse effects.” Bloom did not respond to a request for comment.

What should I buy instead of greens powders?

Actual fruits and vegetables, which are substantially cheaper than greens powders. Both Poulos and Harrison agree that greens powders probably won’t provide you with any significant health benefits, and they share concerns about how much these products cost. In their minds, you’re much better off just spending that cash on actual fruits and vegetables. “They’re certainly more affordable than a $15 green juice from a shop, but it’s still a lot more expensive than just buying cheaply, and cooking your own fruits and vegetables,” Harrison says.

If you’ve been feeling pressured to buy Bloom or Athletic Greens because some influencer has been crowing about how great they are, let this be your reassurance that you don’t actually need a $40 canister of pulverized kale to keep your body healthy. You could, simply, just eat kale — and other vegetables you like — every once in a while, prepared in a way that you actually enjoy.