Balance of Nature is one of the fastest growing supplement companies, due mostly to their enormous marketing budget. The company sells produce-based whole food supplements, and suggests with their marketing that these can replace whole produce intake in the context of a diet: “You need more fruits and vegetables. Balance of Nature can help.”
In this article we will examine, based on a review of medical literature, whether there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Balance of Nature formulations are beneficial to human health.
We will also explore whether some of the health claims on their site have a basis in fact, and whether the data in their Research section is informative. Finally, we will conclude whether the Balance of Nature supplements are likely to be effective or whether they are a waste of money.
Claims of Third Party Testing Without Proof
One of the first things we noticed upon reviewing the Balance of Nature site was that they claim (right on their homepage) that the produce going into their formulations is third-party tested. This is a great measure in theory, because lab testing can ensure label accuracy and purity.
However, there are no test results published anywhere on their site. We're unsure if this is due to incompetence or malice, but in either case we find it unacceptable for a company to claim that an independent laboratory tests their products and then not publish any proof backing up that claim.
It leads us to believe their products aren't actually third-party tested, because if a company had favorable test results, they would want to make them accessible to back up their claim.
Strange and Unscientific Claims on “Our Process” Page
What Balance of Nature sells is not complicated: it’s freeze-dried powder from fruits and vegetables in a capsule. This isn’t revolutionary technology; it’s been used for decades.
However the page on their site outlining their process makes very strange claims about the benefits of powdered food: “The scientific blend, or recipe, developed by Dr. Howard does not use a full serving of each fruit and vegetable. Through trial and error, research, and experimentation, a precise and balanced combination was discovered. This balance is what gives us the wonderful results we enjoy today.”
The above quote seems to suggest that the proprietary formula is more effective than the equivalent doses of whole foods, which is not supported by any science.
The third claim on this page is even stranger: “With some of the fruits and vegetables you eat, as little as 5 percent of the available nutrition will be absorbed because it has not been properly masticated, or chewed. For example, when we eat an apple we chew it; but it’s still swallowed in chunks. To some degree this inhibits the absorption of the nutrients within the apple.”
There is no citation for that 5% figure because it’s nonsense. Balance of Nature seems to be suggesting that there’s barely any point in eating whole foods because you don’t absorb them. You don’t have to be a PhD candidate to recognize how absurd and unscientific that claim is.
Comically Low-Quality Proprietary “Research”
The research page on Balance of Nature’s site links to three “studies”. We put studies in quotes because none of them are published in medical journals so this is a misnomer.
The first “study” is a four page word document published by a Russian doctor claiming that the product inhibits cancer in rats.
The second “study” is another four page word document published by two people at a Russian medical academy. They claim that Balance of Nature supplements can increase lactation in rats.
The third “study” claims to be the results of a clinical trial, but is just a four page word document with no author or medical journal associated. We've never even seen a document like this. It claims that their supplements can help patients with severe liver damage.
None of these “studies” even try comparing the product to eating whole fruits and vegetables, but regardless they shouldn’t receive any serious consideration as they’re word documents with questionable claims and not research published in a medical journal.
Fruits and Veggies Ingredient Review
The two most popular Balance of Nature products are Fruits and Veggies. As one would expect, they contain powdered blends of fruits and vegetables. It’s good that there are no harmful additives or added sugars.
There is some evidence in previous clinical research that fruit and vegetable powder blends can improve health outcomes, but the question is whether the Balance of Nature products are underdosed. The Balance of Nature Veggies product, for example, contains 2.009 grams (g) of veggie powder per serving.
A study from 2009 found that a fruit and vegetable powder supplement improved blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, but the study participants were taking 24g of powder daily, or 12x the amount in Balance of Nature Veggies.
A recent meta-study concluded that fruit and vegetable concentrate supplementation “would result in the reduction of the burden of CVDs”. Some of the studies referenced in this meta-study contained dosages lower than that found in Balance of Nature.
There are a few other studies showing reduced inflammatory markers with oral consumption of fruit and vegetable powders, but they don’t contain dosage amounts so they’re relatively useless.
We will conclude that Balance of Nature supplements are effectively formulated, and can benefit consumers who don't eat enough fruits and vegetables in their diet.
FDA Warning Letter
In August of 2019, the FDA sent (and made public) a warning letter to Balance of Nature indicating, among other things, that they had “adulterated” dietary supplements. The products were not manufactured to meet Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP), and more specifically they failed to implement a system of processes to ensure the quality of their dietary supplements, according to the FDA.
This is unfortunately a problem that is quite common throughout the supplement industry. Because there is no FDA pre-approval process for dietary supplement manufacturers, companies can just make anything and sell it to consumers without any proof it’s safe or accurately labeled.
If a company is found to be selling harmful or adulterated products they may be forced to comply with a fine or a recall, but this would occur after consumers already used the product and were subject to harm.
This is why it’s so incredibly important as a consumer to see third-party testing for the supplements you take, and why we advocate for supplement companies to publish independent test results of each batch of their products, proving label accuracy, potency and purity.
We generally recommend avoiding brands that have received FDA Warning Letters in the past.
Fiber and Spice Ingredient Review
Balance of Nature sells a product containing fiber and various spices. The brand claims it's beneficial for digestive health.
This product may be beneficial to consumers who are seeking a weight loss supplement, because fiber is associated with increased weight loss in medical research. Balance of Nature Fiber & Spice contains 10 g of fiber.
While this formulation is free of any harmful additives, we don't see it as a very cost-efficient way to increase dietary fiber or spice intake.
Balance of Nature Fiber & Spice costs $69.95 for a one-time order at the time of updating this article, and provides 30 servings. That's over $2 per serving.
There are many fiber powders on the market that cost well under $1 per serving, and the entire spice blend provides only 3 grams per serving. 3 grams is less than 1 teaspoon. It would be much cheaper to simply purchase spices from the supermarket and add them to daily meals.
We recommend Kencko smoothies over Balance of Nature for a convenient way to get your fruits and vegetables. Kencko sells produce powders with 50 individual fruits and vegetables, and one single packet provides 2.5 out of the 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the USDA.
All Kencko fruit and vegetable packets are organic, and medical research proves that organic produce contains slightly higher nutrient levels and lower pesticide levels on average. Balance of Nature makes no mention of whether their produce is organic so we will assume it isn't.
Kencko has also had no issues with the FDA or with questionable research publications, so we find them to be a more ethical brand.
Balance of Nature Pros and Cons
Since this article has covered a wide range of topics, we wanted to put together a quick pros and cons list about Balance of Nature for convenience.
- Free of harmful additives
- Can improve health of consumers with poor diet
- Fiber product may aid weight loss
- Received FDA Warning Letter for "adulterated" supplements
- No proof of third-party test results
- Relatively expensive
- Questionable health claims
Balance of Nature User Reviews
Balance of Nature has mostly positive reviews on their Amazon product listings, but fake review detection algorithm FakeSpot adjusts their Fruit & Veggies supplement rating down from 4.5 stars to 3.5 stars. FakeSpot adjusts Amazon ratings by removing reviews their algorithm detects as likely fake.
The most popular Amazon review on Balance of Nature Fruit & Veggies is actually a negative review. It's from someone named "JB" who is upset at what he calls "false claims" that Balance of Nature makes:
"This product runs misleading radio commercials every day in my area...Their claims are unfounded and without scientific research."
There isn't one 5-star review in the most "Top Reviews" at the time of updating this article, and that's the first time we've ever seen that for any brand. Thus we'll conclude that user reviews of Balance of Nature are relatively negative.
Balance of Nature Cost
Balance of Nature is quite expensive for a supplement of its category. If you plan to purchase Balance of Nature, we recommend purchasing through their website instead of their Amazon page, because the cost is lower on their website and there are discounts available.
The cost of Balance of Nature Fruits & Veggies is $89.95 for a one-time purchase on their website, and $99.95 for a one-time purchase on Amazon.
Balance of Nature's website offers a subscription option that costs $69.95 per month, which is a significant cost savings.
Hilariously, Balance of Nature misrepresents their subscription savings because they seemingly can't do basic math. Their subscription price is a 22.2% discount from their one-time price at the time of updating this article. Balance of Nature advertises it as a 33% savings.
This is inaccurate. Divide 69.95 / 89.95 and you get 0.778 rounded up to the third decimal. This means the subscription cost is 77.8% of the price of the full cost, or a 22.3% cost savings.
It's worth noting that there is currently no subscription discount available on Amazon.
Balance of Nature Vs. Texas Superfood
Texas Superfood is probably the second most popular fruits and vegetables supplement, so we get a lot of questions from readers asking us which brand we believe is better.
Both brands contain a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and contain no harmful filler ingredients. We like Balance of Nature's formulation better because it consists only of fruits and vegetables, while Texas Superfood contains enzyme and probiotic complexes that we believe to be unnecessary.
Texas Superfoods lists its first active ingredient as spirulina. This algae is extremely nutrient-dense, but is frequently contaminated according to medical studies. For this reason, we don't recommend products containing spirulina which don't publish independent test results proving low contaminants.
Both Balance of Nature Fruits & Veggies and Texas Superfoods provide nearly the exact same 4 g dose. Texas Superfoods is cheaper by $20 at a one-time purchase price of $69.95.
We don't recommend either product overall, but we believe Texas Superfood is the better option for consumers on a budget, and Balance of Nature is the better option for health-conscious consumers.
Powdered fruit and vegetable supplements may improve health outcomes in the context of a poor diet, but there is no proof that they are superior to the whole-food forms of produce.
If Balance of Nature products are low in contaminants, they won’t hurt to consume given that the formulations aren’t harmful. However we don't know the contaminant levels since the company doesn't publish any data on the purity of their products.
There is no published clinical research in a medical journal suggesting that Balance of Nature's proprietary formulations deliver improved health outcomes.
This is a company that makes health claims on their site and then has a “Research” page with a word document suggesting that their products improve lactation in rats. If you’re a lactating rat, maybe these are the products for you, but that doesn’t lead us as researchers to believe they have any idea what they’re doing.
Further, this is a company that has already been warned by the FDA about GMP violations, so without third-party test results we have no reason to believe their products are safe and accurately labeled.
We recommend saving the $100 and buying some produce at your local farmer’s market if you’re trying to up your fruit and vegetable intake. This company has too many red flags.