Athletic Greens Review: Why We're Unimpressed

Athletic Greens Review: Why We're Unimpressed


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Athletic Greens is a popular green powder brand that's touted by health and fitness influencers like Joe Rogan and Andrew Huberman. It's mixed into water or other drinks for health benefits. The brand describes their product as "comprehensive nutrition and gut health support in one scoop."

But is Athletic Greens actually healthier than cheaper green powders or is it a waste of money? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? How do real users rate the taste and product experience? And is it likely to cause side effects?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Athletic Greens. We'll explain whether or not we recommend the product from a health perspective, compare it to other greens powders, explain whether or not it's likely to cause side effects and share a real, unsponsored user review of the product including a taste test.

Ingredient Review

Athletic Greens ingredients

Athletic Greens contains 75 ingredients, which makes its Nutrition Facts label too large to even share in this review.

The first section of ingredients is a vitamin and mineral blend, and we consider it illogical to take supplemental vitamins and minerals without evidence of a deficiency. A medical review published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine analyzed data from years of clinical trials on multivitamins and found they had no health benefit, and may slightly increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

In early 2022 another wellness shake brand had to recall several lots of products because the added vitamins were causing toxicity in some consumers. 

The Superfood Complex in AG1 is healthy because it contains a wide range of different plant compounds. We know from medical studies that increasing the different types of plants consumed can optimize gut health.

Many of the plants in the Superfood Complex have research backing for specific health benefits. Spirulina has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and gut-restoring properties in clinical studies.

Wheat grass powder is shown to contain various minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals that contribute positively to human health. The linked study suggests wheat grass is an optimally nourishing food product.

The probiotic strain selections made by Athletic Greens are somewhat strange to us.

We can’t locate a single clinical trial suggesting that Bifidobacterium bifidum strain UABb-10 has any proven health benefit. Strain Bb-12 seems to be much better-studied.

The only study we could find on Lactobacillus acidophilus strain UALa-01 was a test tube study suggesting the probiotic may “inhibit cell invasion by enterovirulent bacteria,” which is a good thing but probably not the main concern of potential Athletic Greens customers.

Citric acid is a flavor enhancer and preservative that we recommend avoiding because it's associated with inflammatory reactions in a small subset of individuals, as we documented in our Juice Plus reviews article.

Natural flavor is a broad term that fails to describe the specific chemical compounds used, and there are documented toxicity concerns over some flavoring agents used in manufacturing. We recommend avoiding "natural flavor" or "natural flavors" entirely.

Overall we're disappointed in this formulation especially considering the price (which we'll touch on later). AG1 definitely contains a large number of healthy fruit and vegetable ingredients, and would improve the nutritional status of the average American in our opinion, but we cannot recommend it overall due to the inclusion of various questionable additive ingredients highlighted above.

Athletic Greens Unsponsored User Review

One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Athletic Greens AG1 comes from a creator named Chase The Summit. The video is unsponsored, and the creator does an unboxing of AG1 to share all of the components that come in the box, shares thoughts on the taste, and explains whether or not he noticed any benefits:

Does Athletic Greens Cause Side Effects?

Consumers are often curious about whether "superfood" supplements like Athletic Greens are likely to cause side effects.

Based on its active ingredients, we do not consider Athletic Greens likely to cause side effects to the average consumer. The product is a blend of plants, vitamins and probiotics. The probiotic dose is relatively low, which reduces the risk of gastrointestinal side effects like gas or bloating.

Athletic Greens AG1 does not appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, so there is no way to conclusively say whether or not it causes side effects, but we cannot identify any ingredients we'd consider likely to cause side effects (such as stimulants in pre-workout supplements).

Athletic Greens Alternative

The green powder supplement we recommend is Naked Greens sold by Naked Nutrition. Like AG1, the core of this product is a greens blend, featuring ingredients like organic broccoli, organic alfalfa grass and organic wheat grass.

Naked Greens is entirely free of questionable additive ingredients like natural flavor and added vitamins and minerals, which makes it a healthier option in our opinion than many greens powders on the market.

Another key differentiator is price. AG1 costs $99 for 30 servings, while Naked Greens costs only $31.99 for 35 servings. Naked Greens is over 3x cheaper while containing more servings of green powder.

Interested consumers can check out Naked Greens at this link to its product page on Naked Nutrition's website.

Athletic Greens Vs. Beyond Greens

One of the most popular green powders on the market is called Beyond Greens, so consumers are often curious about which product is a better option.

As we highlighted in our Live Conscious reviews article (the manufacturer of Beyond Greens), Beyond Greens contains natural flavor but is free of added vitamins and minerals and citric acid.

Beyond Greens costs only $31.99 while AG1 costs $99.

While we don't recommend either product, we would recommend Beyond Greens over Athletic Greens due to the fewer number of questionable additive ingredients and the substantially lower cost.

Where to Buy Athletic Greens

 Athletic Greens is sold on the brand's official website and on Amazon.

The price of AG1 is $99 on the brand's website (link here) and $144 on Amazon (link here). There is a shipping charge on Athletic Greens' website, but it's still a significant cost savings compared to the Amazon listing.

While we don't recommend Athletic Greens overall, we recommend that consumers intent on purchasing it do so from the brand's official website because it offers the best price.

Athletic Greens Real Customer Reviews

As stated in the previous section, AG1 is sold on Amazon which is a more objective resource than a brand's website in our opinion for real customer reviews.

The product has been reviewed over 3,000 times on Amazon and currently has an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. AG1 only scores a "D" on Fakespot which is a software tool that detects potentially fake Amazon reviews. Fakespot's "Adjusted Rating" for the product is only 2 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Ginger Lily" who claims the product tastes good and is a convenient part of their routine:

"I was skeptical about Athletic Greens, first because of the price and second because I felt it really would not be any different, however the many positive reviews made me go for it. All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised. The taste is almost creamy in texture and you can taste the slight undertone of the good healthy chocolate that they use. It has absolutely no grassy taste. I also love the fact that I need to add nothing to it (like protein powders), so this has made it great for me to take to work." 

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "SNS" who shares concerns over potential toxicity related to some of the ingredients:

"Stay Away from this product - Since their product contains Spirulina - I called Athletic Greens several times to see if they analyze their product for heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, lead) which can occur in Spirulina especially if sourced from China and also if they analyzed Microcystin content which can cause liver Toxicity. Athletic Greens could never give me an answer or report - there was a lot of stone walling. Since they are so reluctant to respond, I dont think they are analyzing their product for these toxins."

Athletic Greens Pros and Cons

Here's our take on the pros and cons of Athletic Greens AG1.

Pros:

  • Contains wide variety of plants
  • May improve gut health
  • Contains probiotics
  • No added sugar or artificial flavors
  • Environmentally-friendly packaging

Cons:

  • Contains citric acid
  • Contains natural flavor
  • Very expensive
  • Questionable Amazon reviews
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

We don't believe that Athletic Greens AG1 is worth the money. It does contain a large number of plants and probiotics, and makes eating greens convenient, so it may be a good option for consumers who would otherwise avoid eating whole fruits and vegetables.

That being said, Athletic Greens is around 3x the price of most greens powders we've reviewed on Illuminate Health, and we don't consider it to be nutritionally superior to those products.

We don't believe that Athletic Greens is likely to cause side effects or be harmful, we just don't see the value in the product and we cannot recommend it due to several questionable additive ingredients.




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