The self-described “ultimate whole body superfood,” Emerald Balance is a greens powder from the Carlsbad, California-based SGN Nutrition. Comprised of forty-two foods and six kinds of probiotic bacteria, SGN claim that it contains the antioxidants of eight to ten servings of fruits and vegetables, balances the body’s pH, and aids in the body’s natural detoxification processes. I took a harder look to see if their claims were backed up.
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The forty-two ingredients and six strains of probiotics are broken up into the following categories.
A “superfoods” blend that includes barley grass, parsley, and the alges spirulina, watercress, watercress and chlorella; an “antioxidant” blend of berries, flowers, and teas; a “fiber” blend” that includes apple fiber, rice bran, and flax (there are two grams of fiber per serving); a “cellular support” blend of soy lecithin, bamboo, and various roots; an “immune support: blend of ginger root, royal jelly, and various enzymes; and the probiotic blend of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.
As far as greens powder ingredients go, it’s pretty well-rounded: there are fruits, vegetables, algaes, roots, teas, herbs, enzymes, probiotics, and even royal jelly. Most of them aren’t organic, if that’s a concern.
One serving contains 40 calories, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of fiber.
Emerald Balance only comes in “minty green tea flavor,” and it really does taste like minty green tea. It’s worth pointing out that while it’s not at all unpleasant, it is stronger than most greens powders that are flavored with mint and green tea, so it probably won’t mix very well with anything but water. Personally, I’ll take this flavor over some of the unflavored, grassy greens powders any day.
To judge a product’s effectiveness, you have to assess how accurate its claims are.
Emerald Balance’s main claims are that it’s “packed with 42 superfoods, probiotics, vitamins and minerals” and that it has the “antioxidant power of 8 – 10 servings of fruits and veggies.”
It is packed with a lot of foods (let’s leave aside the fact that “superfood” is a largely meaningless term) and it does contain probiotics, but a lot isn’t quantified here. While we know there are about 700 milligrams of probiotics, we don’t know how many there are. Greens powders range from 1 billion to 25 billion per serving, so some more information here would be very useful.
As for the claim that it’s packed with vitamins and minerals, there’s very little information as to what they are. The only micronutrients mentioned on the nutrition label are vitamin C, vitamin E, sodium and potassium. It does contain 100 percent of the RDI of Vitamin C and 250 percent of your Vitamin E (there’s next to no potassium or sodium), but there’s no mention of B vitamins, Vitamins A or D, or any healthful minerals like magnesium, calcium, or iron. The average greens powder at least mentions its vitamin A, calcium, and iron content. That’s not here, so the nutrition claims are largely unsupported.
It is commendable that Emerald Balance makes an attempt to quantify its antioxidant benefits by saying it has the antioxidants of 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables. I actually like how vague that is — obviously, whether it contains as much as eight or ten servings depends on what fruits and vegetables you’re talking about here. Most greens powders don’t bother to quantify their antioxidant beyond saying “it has lots!” but with that said, I would have preferred Emerald Balance have a more concrete way of measuring the antioxidant content, like the ORAC scale.
About $39 for 30 servings, or $1.30 per scoop, it’s pretty moderately priced, though for something with as little nutrition information as Emerald Balance it’s hard to know how justified the cost is.
Compare that with Athletic Greens ($4.23/serving), Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), Patriot Power Greens ($1.96/serving) AI Sports Nutrition Red & Greens XT ($1.33/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), ORAC-Energy Greens ($1/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).
I don’t think much about this product makes it stand out in the crowded field of greens powders. It’s not especially high in vitamins, minerals, or digestive benefits, and it’s not particularly cheap.
The only interesting thing about it is that it contains a lot of antioxidants, but if you’re simply looking for a greens powder that’s high in antioxidants, you’d be better off with a product like Green Vibrance or ORAC-Energy Greens, which contain more of them for less money.