There are a lot of smaller companies making greens powders, but I wanted to take a closer look at the more reputable brands, those at the top of the supplement food chain. I decided to compare two of the most popular greens supplements on the market: Athletic Greens and Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients All in One Daily Greens Mix.
Both of these manufacturers have stellar reputations in the fitness business, but I wanted to know which came out on top.
Onnit: There are around twenty-five ingredients split into five categories that are intended to alkalize, provide antioxidants, detox, improve digestion, and a fifth “Rainbow Blend” of fruits and vegetables that are meant to provide “numerous health benefits” and “delicious natural flavouring.” These ingredients include wheat grass, oat grass, algae, milk thistle, broccoli sprout, and Jerusalem artichoke, all of which are organic.
There is no information as to how many antioxidants it contains relative to a serving of fruits or vegetables and it doesn’t appear to contain probiotic bacteria, though it is a source of prebiotics, which act as food for probiotics.
Athletic Greens: With seventy-five ingredients, Athletic Greens contains a wider variety of greens than I’ve seen in any other greens powder. Standouts include spirulina, rhodiola rosea, and more than seven billion probiotic bacteria, which is more than many dedicated gut health supplements.
The ingredients list also helpfully explains that it contains the antioxidants of twelve servings of fruits and vegetables, and while that’s clearly a pretty rough number (we don’t know which fruits or vegetables), it’s much more helpful than many competitors that just want you to know that they have antioxidants and probiotics, but won’t say how many or what an effective dose is.
Winner: Athletic Greens
Onnit: Pleasantly bland, I tried the “lemon mint flavor” and it tastes a lot like a mixture of chamomile and green tea, with a very mild hint of lemon. It’s not too bitter and it’s better than most greens powders. If you like green tea, you’ll like this.
Athletic Greens: Greens powders are famously gross, and while Onnit’s is surprisingly easy to stomach, Athletic Greens is the only one that I’ve ever actually enjoyed. Vaguely tropical with hints of papaya, vanilla, and carrot, the wisest addition to the flavor is ginger, which does a great job of working with the bitterness of greens instead of trying to smother it with sweetness like a lot of powders. I actually like sipping this stuff.
Winner: Athletic Greens
Onnit: At 35 dollars for 15 servings, it comes in at $2.30 a serving.
Athletic Greens: Famously expensive, a bag of thirty servings is $127, which makes it $4.23 per serving. Even if you sign up for a monthly subscription, the price drops to $97 per bag, which is $3.23 per serving.
Onnit: This is a tough one, because both products are prone to exaggerated claims about their effectiveness. Onnit says it helps the body “detox” without explaining how or to what degree, and despite claiming to help someone reach their “daily green goal,” the actual nutrition label is pretty short. It only contains about 35 percent of your daily Vitamin C, 22 percent of your iron, 12 percent of your fiber, 6 percent of your calcium… that’s about all.
It doesn’t say anything about minerals like magnesium, which a lot of people get from leafy greens, and that’s important since it implies that it can supplement some of your green vegetable intake. It doesn’t say if it “alkalizes” as well as a serving of fruits or vegetables, it doesn’t say if it has more or less antioxidants than a cup of, well, anything.
Athletic Greens: The marketing is worse than Onnit. The bag actually claims that, “you never need to take another supplement again,” which is wildly irresponsible. That said, it has extremely detailed nutrition information, which is very rare for greens powders.
It explains how much it provides of your recommended daily intake for a slew of vitamins and minerals, including chromium, zinc citrate, biotin, and more. Since it isn’t afraid to tell you how much it contains, it probably has more probiotics and antioxidants than Onnit. (Most greens powders contain significantly less of these two ingredients than Athletic Greens.)
Winner: Athletic Greens
The Overall Winner: Athletic Greens
At the end of the day, Onnit gets props for being more honest in its marketing and for being cheaper, but Athletic Greens simply contains more nutrition. It has 7 billion probiotics, Onnit doesn’t appear to have any. Athletic Greens has the antioxidants of 12 serves of vegetables, Onnit might but it doesn’t say how many antioxidants or probiotics or whatever it contains.
We’re sticklers for supplements that actually provide evidence of their benefits, and while it was irresponsible for Athletic Greens to claim it can replace any and all nutritional supplements, it does a better job of providing evidence for its nutritional content and is a better, more complete supplement.