Athletic Greens (AG1) Review, It Has Sizzle, but Does it Have Substance?
Millions of people who listen to the Joe Rogan podcast or follow other pundits have recently been inundated with advertisements and celebrity endorsements that tout the benefits of Athletic Greens. While Athletic Greens was not the first greens supplement to hit the market, it now has the dual claim to being both the most popular, and the most expensive, that is out there.
Since Athletic Greens (AG1) wasn’t the first, but it is both extremely popular and costs significantly more than some competitors, we thought it would be a good idea to dive a little deeper into the greens supplement and ask: does Athletic Greens have the substance to make it worth it?
What is Athletic Greens?
Athletic Greens is a greens supplement, a drink meant to ensure that its users are getting all of their necessary greens-based nutrition every day. Like other greens supplements, Athletic Greens goes far beyond merely offering the nutritional value that would be gained by eating heaping servings of the standard fare of vegetable sides at every meal, however.
Including many of the nutrients that one needs to get from leafy green vegetables daily as a part of a healthy diet, Athletic Greens also provides antioxidants from a variety of fruits, adaptogens (that help your body respond to stress), prebiotics, probiotics, minerals meant to keep your skeletal system strong, digestive enzymes, and much more.
With over 70 ingredients that provide a wide spectrum of health benefits, Athletic Greens is seen by many as their “one-stop shop” for total body and whole food-based nutrition. The company’s claims include that this product can help to boost your immunity, aid gut health & digestion, increase your natural energy production, and the adaptogens included can help your body to handle stress better.
So we know what’s in it and what the company says about it, but we still have more to learn if we’re going to determine whether Athletic Greens is worth the high cost.
Is Athletic Greens Good for Me?
The company boasts that Athletic Greens provides the nutrition from a whopping 12 servings of green vegetables with every scoop, so no matter what else, at the very least this greens supplement is good for you. The additional ingredients that go above & beyond green vegetables certainly help to sweeten the deal, as Athletic Greens provides a wide range of superfoods and other ingredients meant to support your whole body, not just one single part of your health.
Some people in various review sections for the product complain about the taste, likening it to going out into their front yard and stuffing their mouths full of lawn clippings. We can tell you that it certainly is not that bad, and also that it tastes far better than some other greens supplements that we’ve tried and reviewed.
But the taste is an important part of any supplement that you will have to take every day, especially if it is far more expensive than many other options that you could choose from. Our immediate gratification-based society has been spoiled by the numerous scientists who work for massive food conglomerates, spending all day working on new formulations to make every single thing that we eat taste about as close to perfect to as many different palates as possible.
Here is something that everyone should understand up front: you can look for something that tastes great or something that is meant solely to aid your health & wellness routine, but not both. There are a lot of health supplements on the market that don’t taste terrible, but people need to temper their expectations and understand that if your main goal is to focus on your health, the taste shouldn’t be your primary driver. No health-based supplement is going to taste as good as a chocolate sundae. It just doesn’t exist.
Because Athletic Greens is meant to be a driver for total body, whole food-based nutrition, they use natural fruits and their flavorings to create the taste profile for Athletic Greens. This means that there are no additional chemicals or artificial flavorings added, and many say that the greens supplement tastes like papaya, pineapple, vanilla, and a slight spicey kick from the ginger root. In terms of greens powders, that’s a pretty good taste profile, considering.
One serious issue that we found with Athletic Greens is that the company makes plenty of claims about the ingredients and benefits that it provides, but we pretty much have to take their word for it. Because all of their ingredients are listed on the bag as “proprietary blends,” we don’t actually know how much of any individual ingredient is included per serving.
This is important because the scientific studies regarding alleviating symptoms or increasing health through superfoods or food-based compounds are used not only to determine if a certain food can provide said benefits but also how much it takes to provide them.
Take Rhodiola as an example. This is an herb that grows in Russia & Asia and is known as an adaptogen, a plant compound that helps your body to handle stress. Scientific studies have shown that Rhodiola does in fact help to increase energy, stamina, mental clarity, reduce stress, and reduce anxiety and depression when taken in at least 1200mg increments per day. Rhodiola is listed in the Athletic Greens Nutrient Dense Extracts, Herbs & Antioxidants blend within the greens supplement, but we have no idea how much of the herb is included - only that 1232mg in a total of a blend of about 17 different ingredients is present.
Rhodiola is listed as an extract in the Athletic Greens ingredient list, but what is the strength of that extract? Does it equate to the 1200mg dose required to get the benefits of this powerful herb, or not? If it doesn’t, then it is nothing more than window dressing on the ingredient list.
Is Athletic Greens Worth the Cost?
If the ingredients listed in Athletic Greens are all actually present in great enough quantities to unlock the full health benefits that they have, then Athletic Greens would certainly be a great greens supplement. If you don’t care much about that and only care about ensuring that you get all of the benefits of green, leafy vegetables without having to actually eat any, there are other greens supplements on the market that are far less expensive and only focus on that - providing the nutritional benefits of greens.
If you are more focused on whole-body nutrition and want something that not only supercharges your diet but also your digestion, skeletal system, liver, aids detoxification, can increase your mental clarity, and provide many other health benefits, then we, unfortunately, don’t know if Athletic Greens actually has its ingredients in sufficient quantities to support those claims.
All that we really know is what ingredients are listed, and what the company’s advertisements and paid celebrity sponsors have to say about it. And since both have financial incentives for more Athletic Greens to be sold based on those ads and endorsements, we can’t really count those as the gospel truth.
At its base cost, a 30-day supply of Athletic Greens costs $99, which breaks down to roughly $3 per serving. If you choose the subscription model, that same 30-day supply drops to $79 per month, which brings the price down below $3 a serving but is still pretty high in terms of green supplements.
So is Athletic Greens worth being the greens supplement that costs the most money out of all of them when you take away the flashy ads and endorsements? The honest answer is that we don’t know unless we can see the full ingredients list, and how much of them are included in every serving.
What Greens Supplement is Better than Athletic Greens?
Athletic Greens is not the only greens supplement on the market, and actually isn’t even the one that we prefer most. As people who know more than most about the specifics regarding plant-based nutrition and what possibilities they offer in terms of health, we see ingredient list transparency as an important factor in terms of the greens supplements that we choose.
If you like what you’ve seen about greens supplements and are interested in knowing what else is on the market besides Athletic Greens, here are some other notable products that may be worth looking into.
Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health
Our favorite greens supplement by far, Green Vibrance displays its ingredients list loud & proud and with absolute transparency. Even though its cost is more affordable than Atheltic Greens, Green Vibrance actually provides more variety of its ingredients in the areas where it matters. Most importantly, we know exactly how much of each ingredient and variety is included in every scoop, so we know that we’re getting the benefits that these superfoods and nutrients can provide.
Like any good greens supplement, Green Vibrance starts with all of the standard nutrients that are needed to replace a day’s worth of vegetables. What sets Green Vibrance apart is where it goes from there.
Cereal grasses have been widely used around the globe for centuries due to their health benefits, but have only really caught on in the West over the past several decades. Green Vibrance includes certified organic wheatgrass, barley grass, and oat grass in both leaf powder and juice powder forms, meaning that you reap the benefits derived from both formats. It also provides 11 different types of plant-based nutrition including Spirulina, an ancient superfood that provides a healthy addition to this lineup.
Green Vibrance also provides powerful antioxidants derived from a variety of fruits such as goji berry, acerola (which has more Vitamin C than oranges), turmeric, pomegranate, and others. Three different types of immune-supporting ingredients, multiple adaptogens, skeletal support, plenty of fiber, liver support, enzymes & tonics, and even 25 billion CFUs of probiotics from 12 different strains all come together to make Green Vibrance a well-rounded source of non-GMO, vegan-friendly, plant-based and gluten-free nutrition.
And with Green Vibrance, you know exactly what you’re getting in every scoop.
Amazing Grass Green Superfood
Amazing Grass doesn’t pack the 70 ingredient list that Athletic Greens does, but its 25 ingredients are each integral to total body health and provide what your body needs - at a far more affordable price point than Athletic Greens.
Amazing Grass costs around $30 per 30-day supply, is available in 10 different flavors, and also includes some powerful and nutritional ingredients. Organic barley grass, wheatgrass, and alfalfa grass provide the benefits of cereal grasses, spirulina, chlorella, acerola extract, green tea, acai, rose hips, and pre & probiotics all combine to make this a more affordable greens supplement than Athletic Greens that still packs a lot of punch.
Unfortunately, like Athletic Greens, Amazing Grass also hides its ingredient levels behind its own proprietary blends, meaning that with this greens supplement you also don’t know how many of the vital ingredients you are getting in every serving.
Green Vibrance seems to stand alone in the industry for offering full ingredient transparency, but if the price point is the most important factor in your greens supplement search, Amazing Grass is more affordable than Athletic Greens.
Athletic Greens has put a lot of time, money, and effort into ensuring that as many people know about their product as possible. From podcasters to professional athletes and advertisements, the greens supplement has been plastered all over the place. But does it have the substance to make it worth being the most expensive greens supplement on the market today?
We don’t think so. As we outlined above, Athletic Greens does have all of the right ingredients and checks all of the right boxes to aid a plant-based and whole food, healthy diet, but without knowing how much of the ingredients are in every serving, we can’t say whether it is truly worth it or not.
What we can say for certain is that Green Vibrance provides even more nutritional benefits than Athletic Greens while also being fully transparent about its ingredients list, and Amazing Grass offers a reasonable amount of greens-based nutrition at a far lower price point than Athletic Greens. We personally prefer Green Vibrance over Athletic Greens and suggest that you try it out if you are in the market for a greens supplement.