Athletic Greens (An Honest Tried and Tested Review)12 min read
I was really keen to try Athletic Greens as it this was one of the first Super Greens I noticed.
On a recent trip to the UK I purchased from Amazon (Amazon is truly awful at shipping to Malaysia!) some Athletic Greens.
Athletic Greens a “real and genuine review” – For those of you that don’t know, most online supplement reviews are done by hashing together information from other sites and if you’re lucky from Amazon user feedback. In order to break the mould, I have been using the Athletic Greens that I bought for the last 7 days.
You can see pictures of my Athletic Greens tub in this review as proof that I at least own a tub. A bit of advice when reading other Athletic Green reviews be sure you’re reading a genuine review and not a regurgitated one at best or worse simply a made up one!
How do you spot a genuine Athletic Greens review?
A very simple indicator is the use of stock images of the tubs or pouches are being used for the review, this suggests the product hasn’t been purchased. A superficial review is still possible though but it will be very limited.
So after that, sit back with your coffee and enjoy my experience with one of most popular Super Greens on the market..
After opening the Amazon Packaging I was very surprised to see my Athletic Greens in a tub and not a pouch as advertised on Amazon. But checking the official website I can see Athletic Greens have recently rebranded and it seems part of this was a change to pouches instead of tubs. This makes sense as tubs can have delivery problems, they don’t exactly fit through a letter box.
It’s likely that Athletic Greens have simply forgotten to update their artwork on their Amazon listing so don’t be phased if you receive a tub. You shouldn’t worry the ingredient quantity is the same size for the tub and for the pouch.
I did some digging into the Athletic Greens rebranding and can see from press releases in July 2018 explaining the reasons why. It appears they are re-positioning their Super Greens from a celebrity/athlete brand, to a healthy lifestyle brand for anyone to use.
The logo has been simplified and is meant to represent a glass of water, and to convey a more holistic view of health and happiness, and their logo does remind me a little of a UK brand called Bulk Powders.
I have to say I quite like their new branding it looks more mature and is much cleaner than before.
Background on Athletic Greens
According to their website, Athletic Greens has been on the market for over 10 years now. During this time the formula has been tweaked to improve its efficacy 51 times in its lifespan with the help of researchers and nutritionists.
It’s great to know they are keen to improve their product.
What this does mean though is that past Athletic Greens reviews may be a little out of date – so if you’re doing your due diligence check not only that a proper review was conducted but when too.
Athletic Greens are manufactured in New Zealand, the formula is Gluten and dairy free and has low allergen levels with less than 1g of sugar per serving. This means that according to Athletic Greens the formula is Paleo, Keto and vegan friendly.
The Athletic Greens team have partnered with two charities “Marys Meals” and “Urban Light”, both of which focus on providing meals to the poorest children around the World.
However, when you look at this, I like a couple of other people assumed the company donated part of their sales to these charities, but it seems all they do is allow you to make a donation when you make a purchase. I don’t want to knock anything that helps a charity, but it does sound a bit cheap to me, you should make your own mind up on this, is it a top effort or cynical exploitation?
Athletic Greens Travel Pack
Athletic Greens is also available in convenient travel sachet packs. Instead of having a carry around a large tub or pouch you can simply grab a few 12g sachets of the powder for your travels [see picture].
I have to say. this is a great option, but you will pay another $10 for the privilege and when you considering the rather hefty upsell is it worth it – YOU could of course just pack your own into a small re-sealable plastic bag.
[If you still keen to try the Travel Packs – see Amazon product listing here]
Athletic Greens Ingredients
One really good thing about Athletic Greens is they don’t scrimp on ingredient quantity, which is a complaint of many supplements. When you look at the Athletic Greens supplement label (see below).
There are 75 ingredients in total in Athletic Greens, they claim this gives you the antioxidant equivalent of 12 servings of vegetables in one scoop. There are six organic ingredients in the formula, so Athletic Greens isn’t an organic certified supplement
Considering the large number of ingredients used in this Super Greens and the serving size of 12g I immediately suspected that some ingredient amounts would be insufficient. (See above)
At best there maybe one or two ingredients with the amount at a very low level to have much, if any of an affect. At worse it’s possible the ingredient amounts are too low all round to have much of an affect. Either way this doesn’t bode well for Athletic Greens providing sufficient ingredient amounts for a health benefit.
Our board of nutrition experts regularly reviews and updates our formula to ensure it’s backed by current research.” The Athletic Greens website
Let’s take a look at each of the proprietary blends:
Alkaline, Nutrient-Dense, Raw Superfood Complex (7388mg)
Organic spirulina, lecithin (95% phosphatides), organic apple powder, inulin (FOS prebiotices), organic wheatgrass juice powder (leaf), organic alfalfa powder (leaf), organic chlorella powder, organic barley leaf powder, acerola fruit juice powder extract (4:1), broccoli flower powder, papaya (carica papaya) powder (fruit), pineapple fresh fruit concentrate (9:1), bilberry fruit extract (100:1), beet root powder (fruit), rose hip (Rosa Canina) fruit powder (4:1), carrot root powder, spinach leaf powder, cocoa bean polyphenol extract, grapeseed extract (120:1), green tea leaf extract (10:1), licorice root powder, Lycium berry fruit extract (4:1), ginger rhizome powder, slippery elm bark powder, kelp whole plant powder.
Nutrient Dense Natural Extracts, Herbs, and Antioxidants (411mg)
Alkaline pea protein isolate, citrus bioflavonoids extract, artichoke extract (15:1), citric acid, rhodiola rosea root dry extract (15:1), Eleuthero (eleutherococcus senticosus) root extract (10:1), gotu kola extract (10:1), rosemary leaf extract (4:1), milk thistle seed extract (70:1), R,S alpha-lipoic acid, ashwaganda root extract (5:1), dandelion root dry extract (4:1), hawthorn berry root extract (10:1), beta glucans, policosanol, co-enzyme Q-10, stevia rebaudiana leaf powder.
Digestive Enzyme & Super Mushroom Complex (154mg)
Astragalus root extract (4:1), bromelain (dietary enzyme), burdock root powder (4:1), reishi mushroom powder, shiitake mushroom powder, stevia.
Dairy Free Probiotics (38mg)
Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Bifidum.
[Ingredient profile correct as of October 2018]
How does Athletic Greens Taste?
Athletic Greens taste pretty good to be honest.
When I first opened the tub I thought, it smells okay but I bet it’s not great to taste. I was therefore pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the drink, it was very easy to drink and didn’t leave any bitter after taste.
I even looked forward to having my Athletic Greens drink first thing in the morning. So if you’re like me, you aren’t going to struggle drinking Athletic Greens every day that’s for sure!
I experienced no side effects whilst taking Athletic Greens powder in the morning.
This was to be expected though as there isn’t anything in this powder that should cause a problem. I stuck to the recommended one serving of approximately 12g in a glass of 200ml of water per day.
There are no stimulants or an excess of an ingredient that could cause unexpected side effects.
Do Athletic Greens Work?
So Athletic Greens taste great, they had no side effects for me – and having taken Athletic Greens for the last 7 days clearly it’s highly unlikely that I am going to notice any changes, Psychologically it’s a nice drink to have first thing in the morning and reassuring to know I am got my daily micros sorted.
Whilst proprietary blends aren’t an issue, they can be if you don’t know the amounts, sadly Athletic Greens don’t give an indication of quantities. SO I do have to ask, are there enough of each ingredient highlighted in proper scientific studies to support the claims they make?
One simple example, the Reishi Mushroom powder in the “Digestive Enzyme & Super Mushroom Complex” is certainly going to in my opinion too low.
Well the blend of six ingredients is only 154mg and according to Examine, Reishi needs to be consumed in quantities of 1.5g to 1.9g depending on the portion of the extract is used.
Another example is, it’s unclear from the label if the organic Chlorella is of the “cracked cell” variety. This is important as Chlorella is really hard to digest due to its tough cell wall, so if you don’t consume the “cracked wall/cell” variety the bioavailability (amount digested) would most likely very low.
To be somewhat blunt, there is no evidence from either clinical testing or otherwise showing that by taking Athletic Greens will make you healthier, boost performance in fact in any way.
That said… this is the elephant in the room for ALL Super Greens (well 99% of nutritional supplements) to be fair.
As I mentioned in my Super Greens article, if you have the time and commitment then buying fresh produce daily and juicing is the best way to get your micronutrients. Few of us, certainly me, have the will or time to do this though. So a good, reliable over the counter supplement is the next best thing.
Athletic Greens Customer Reviews
I took a quick look online at reviews of Athletic Greens, this included their official website and Amazon.
As you would imagine the official site has glowing reviews, everyone rates the supplement a 4 or 5 stars (which must be out of 5). Common reports are “great product”, “pricey but worth it”, “drink Athletic Greens every morning”, “amazing flavour” etc etc.
Athletic Greens has a few famous brand ambassadors too such as Tim Ferriss who recommended it in his 4-Hour Body, Joe de Sena CEO and Founder of the Spartan Race, Dagmara Wozniak a Nike Athlete and 2 x Olympic Fencing Team and 2016 Bronze Medalist.
Checking Amazon where feedback is a little less biased shows an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars from 822 reports at the time of writing this post.
I took a quick look at the one star ratings to see what negatives come up. Most of these consumer reviews reported “gastric problems”, “didn’t notice any difference”, “Ingredients are not worth 4x what similar products cost.” and “arrived with a hole in the bag”.
The last point is a reason as to why I am not a fan of the pouches. They just seem like they break more easily than a tub.
Interestingly a few customers reported the taste as having a “Very artificial flavour” and “tastes absolutely horrible and the aftertaste is even worse”. The funniest one being “It tastes like forest droppings and vanilla whey procreated with some lawn clippings thrown in” – just goes to show that taste is very personal!
Money Back Guarantee / Returns Policy
Reading the official website shows there is a 60-day money-back guarantee. I could not find any information on the site to confirm the conditions for this though.
I contacted support in the end to see if you can return opened pouches / tubs.
After 36 hours customer support got back in touch explaining I could return my Athletic Greens within 60-days either opened or unopened. This is great but it’s not entirely clear on the website this is the case!
Where to Buy Athletic Greens?
There are two ways to give Athletic Greens a try, firstly via what they call their “Trial Pack” (or single purchase option) for a one-time cost of $97 (or £84 through Amazon).
The one-off cost is expensive and unsurprisingly you can save 21% by subscribing and a 30-day supply of Athletic Greens shipped each month. This will set you back $77 per month. According to the website you can cancel your subscription at any time – although I didn’t try this option.
There is another subscription option available, what they call “Double Hit”, where you can get two daily servings (basically two pouches) for $147 per month – giving you a 24% discount from the one-off purchase.
Is It Worth The Price?
Super Greens as super high prices!
This is one of the most expensive Super Greens around – certainly from the products I have seen. At $97 (£84) from a daily serving costs $3.23 (£2.80) which is the cost of your latte from a well known coffee company!!).
Whilst you can buy Athletic Greens cheaper directly from their online store it’s still a premium priced supplement so it’s fair to say it won’t win the cheapest powder on the market prize..
If you’re on a budget then you’ll probably wish to skip this supplement and check out other Super Green supplements.
The Bottom Line
Taking Athletic Greens will help you get your daily micronutrients and at least top up other nutrients beneficial for health. Moreover, it’s easy to make and and it’s pleasant to drink.
HOWEVER, the use of four proprietary blends for the majority of the ingredients means I’m really not 100% confident about the quantity of ingredients in each serving. This is especially important because we know dosage is vital for effectiveness, which throws this supplement into a little doubt.
When it comes to supplements we should keep in mind it’s not the number of ingredients that matters, but the quantities that count.
Athletic Greens is a safe product albeit expensive. It’s a great tasting all round Super Greens but take note it may not contain enough of each ingredient to work.
So this particular Super Green doesn’t do it for me and I’m going to keep up my search for a good Super Greens, what with the price and the question marks over the ingredients.