One of the questions you might have about your diet is whether or not you are fulfilling all of your nutritional needs, especially if you are weight-conscious and often skip food groups (for example those on a low-carbohydrate diet may not consume enough fruits and vegetables due to their high carbohydrate content).
Greens First is a super greens drink which claims to help you ‘Fill the gap between what you eat and what you should be eating’.
Claiming to have started a ‘revolution’ in terms of the way the whole family can now access the nutrition from a full range of fruits and vegetables in one drink, ‘to maximise your health and overall well-being’, I think this straight-forward approach is worth taking a deeper look at.
Although this marketing angle is not unusual, and the Greens First formula is certainly not a revolutionary product, I do think it’s an interesting approach and so wanted to take another look at their products.
Going specifically for their antioxidant powers, Greens First take the approach of promoting the phytonutrient-rich and alkaline properties of the ingredients in their blend. I suppose they are homing in on the most sciencey-sounding properties of fruits and veggies, which may have formed the mainstay of ‘wellness’ blogs and news articles in recent years. Claiming that these foods are ‘super foods’ begins with these properties, as they are seen to be providing so much more than just vitamins, minerals and fiber.
This super greens brand claims to provide 15 plus servings of fruits and vegetables in every scoop!
As such, Greens First is a;
complete phytonutrient and antioxidant supplement that works synergistically in your body providing 49 different super foods, extracts and concentrates including super-greens, organic fruits & vegetables, probiotics, soluble and insoluble fibers, herbs, spices, natural flavonoids and digestive enzymes.
Phew. So how are they cramming so much into each scoop?
The company produce a different flavours for their flagship brand, these include; Greens First Berry, Dream Protein Dutch Chocolate, Greens First Boost French Vanilla and Greens First Chocolate.
And why should I consider taking this particular brand of super greens as opposed to any other?
Let’s first take a look at the company behind the product before taking a closer look at the ingredients.
Background on Greens First – Wellness Watchers Global, LLC
The President of Wellness Watchers Global LLC and Ceutamed LLC (makers of Greens First), Donald L Hayes DC was a private practitioner for many years before branching into educational programmes for alternative health practitioners. A chiropractor, clinician, educator and author, Hayes writes on the subject of nutritional wellness.
Author of – among other titles – the Alkalize Now – ph Balancing Program, Hayes is also co-authoring The E-Myth Nutritionist – Why Most Nutrition Practices Don’t Work and What to Do about It. Hayes’ wife is Vice President of the group.
Other key players in the corporation have held senior roles in Vitamin and Health product stores throughout the U.S.
Greens First Ingredients
The makers of Greens First have been honest about their use of proprietary blends, in fact they are all over the ingredients listing!
There are a lot of ingredients in Green First too, 49 in total. Considering each serving size is 9.4g I am immediately concerned whether there are sufficient quantities of the key ingredients to be effective.
The ingredients of their original Greens First is as follows:
Greens blend – proprietary (2500mg)
barley grass juice powder, chlorella (cracked cell wall), spirulina
Vegetable blend – proprietary (1500mg)
carrot juice powder, broccoli juice powder, cauliflower juice powder, spinach juice powder, parsley juice powder, kale juice powder
Oxi-sure blend – proprietary (300mg)
carrot powder, green tea extract, blueberry powder, plum powder, grape seed extract, cranberry powder, raspberry powder, tart cherry powder, pine bark extract, broccoli powder, ‘HiActives’ tomato powder, ‘HiActives’ carrot powder, ‘HiActives’ spinach powder, ‘HiActives’ kale powder, ‘HiActives’ brussels sprout powder.
Fiber blend – proprietary (1950mg)
Oat betaglucan, Apple fiber pectin, Brown rice bran
Enzyme blend (200mg)
bromelain extract, papain, protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase, lactase
ReversalMax blend (proprietary) 100mg
Polygonium Cuspidatum Extract (25% trans-Resveratrol), Acerola Cherry Powder, Concord Grape Powder
Sunflower lecithin (100mg), Probiotics (dairy free) 200mg, Sprouted Barley 200mg, Green tea extract (decaffeinated) 100mg, Quercetin 100mg, Milk Thistle seed extract 75mg, Red beet root 50mg, Cinnamon powder 50mg, Aloe leaf powder 50mg, Turmeric rhizome extract 20mg, Atlantic kelp powder 15mg, Licorice root extract 5mg
If you have seen any of my previous reviews you know that I am not a fan of proprietary blends.
Simple really, you really don’t know the individual ingredient amounts in the blend. And if you don’t know the amounts, how do you know there is an effective dosage to actually work?
The image below shows the Greens First supplement facts label and I have marked each proprietary blend used.
How Does Greens First Taste?
To drink Greens First you simply mix one level scoop with 6-8 ounces of cold water. Give it a good shake and then you’re ready to drink.
There is a little additional stevia, some spearmint and orange flavor, so I would anticipate a sweet-mint citrussy flavor. Reviewers differ on whether or not it is a pleasant taste but I’m a fan of the mint flavor so I think it would be fine for me, especially with cold or iced water.
There is some fiber added, so unless you are prone to reactions to any of the other listed ingredients I would think this might be the only thing you could have a side effect from.
Taking extra fiber in your diet should be done gradually so don’t get enthusiastic and take any more of this product daily than recommended.
Having said this if you already experience or suffer from any known condition it should be stressed that you must consult your clinician before taking any further supplementation as ingredients may have been found to interact with other drugs.
Does Greens First Actually Work?
Whilst the ingredients list contains most of the things you would likely find in a greens blend, a 9.4g scoop contains relatively low levels of each of the 49 listed ingredients – so is it therefore really powerful enough?
As an interested researcher, I took a look at the blog on Greensfirst.com to see what they have to say in their article ‘A better blend! Taking a closer look at Greens First’s Proprietary Blend of Key Ingredients’ to see what they have to say about creating and marketing a product entirely consisting of proprietary blends.
Pitched as the way to ensure you are getting a ‘phytonutrient and antioxidant-rich diet [which] is the way to less inflammation, which keep you healthy and boost your immune system’, Greens First’s manufacturers clearly believe that their blends include powerful plant ingredients which can boost your body’s own ability to keep itself healthy.
But are they including enough?
Take for an example Milk Thistle – touted for its antioxidant and liver-boosting powers, this herb has become a staple supplement for those with the intention of detoxing themselves through nutrition. There have been studies on mice to see whether there are benefits to the functioning of the liver, however it must be stated that the primary function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body (and therefore if your liver is not functioning properly you are likely to become very unwell very quickly).
The active ingredient in Milk Thistle – a compound called silymarin – is thought to have antioxidant properties in that it helps to reduce free radical damage to body cells. Research in humans is ongoing and the exact mechanism by which it does this is unknown.
WebMD states that an effective dosage is around 200mg per day. This product contains only 75mg in the Greens First ingredient formula.
So, in as much as the jury is out on antioxidants, we could use this one ingredient as an example of why there may not actually be enough of each ingredient to have an effect.
You could also look at the probiotic proprietary blend, which includes non-dairy probiotics such as L. Acidophilus. Much research has been done into the realm of probiotics, which have much appeal, especially to those who are interested in gut health.
Similarly, take a look at the product Greens First Daily Care Pro (probiotic supplement) which contains prebiotic and probiotics and maybe wander by and have a look at my thoughts on prebiotics in super greens to think about whether or not this is something you are interested in. I did a little bit of research around the veracity of claims about probiotics, so do take a look if this is something you are also interested in.
Greens First Customer Reviews
There are a bumper 1026 reviews on Amazon for this product, of which 77% are positive. I’ll give just a few examples:
nothing compares, I have used it for 6 years… saved my immune system5 star review
quality food supplement, tastes really good5 stars
As to be expected not everyone was keen on Greens First and there are customers who just wont fans of the taste.
product contains stevia… extreme sweetness1 star
horrible taste2 stars
Money Back Guarantee / Returns Policy
You can return your product (unopened) and have your money reimbursed if within 30 days of purchase (excluding shipping).
Where to Buy Greens First?
Is It Worth the Price?
For me the answer is unfortunately no.
This is another example of a product which is absolutely brimming with sciencey-sounding plant extracts with extra sciencey-sounding powers, but having done the research on amounts and how important it is to be taking an optimal dose, I really don’t feel they have included enough of each one to be making a difference to my diet or lifestyle.
For me the price is low down on the list when deciding if a supplement is worth it. I avoid taking supplements with proprietary blends as I don’t know if the ingredient amounts are provided in an adequate dosage to work.
The Bottom Line
If you are interested in trying super greens powders for the first time it has to be said that there are products out there that may represent better value for money.
I’m not a huge fan of hiding behind proprietary blends as I just don’t understand how the product has been formulated and therefore whether the producer is hiding small amounts of the active ingredients in amongst other ‘filler’ ingredients.
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily replace a blended product with individual supplements (why take handfulls of different products when one will do it all?) I also want to know that what I’m taking will do what I want it to do.
So when I take a super greens product with antioxidants and phytonutrients and the like, I want to know exactly how much of each powerful plant ingredient is included in each serving, every single time.
LifeHacker Guy Greens Recommendation
Please give me a few moments to shamelessly introduce my brand, SuperGreen TONIK.
I have researched a lot (and I mean a lot) of super greens out there but was disappointed with most of the ones I tried.
So, I went out and created my own with the help of a USA manufacturer because I wanted to ensure I got all my veggie goodness in the right amounts, and of course within a no-fuss single serving each day.
None of the other brands offered that.
Its the best out there (of course I would say that about my own), but let me tell you why...
- No hidden ingredient amounts - we have full disclosure labelling, so you know EXACTLY whats inside
- Sufficient ingredient amounts to make a difference - we include at least (if not more of) the minimum effective amounts supported by research
- Ingredients that also could boost mental clarity and shake off brain fog - to boost my at work and home
After many months I finally got a greens formula that fuels my body and mind for the day ahead.
But please dont JUST take my word for it, make up your own decision by checking out my review. (I TRY BE BE AS UNBIASED AS POSSIBLE )