Do super greens give you diarrhea?

Super greens powders have become increasingly popular in recent years as an easy way to get a concentrated dose of fruits, vegetables, and other “superfoods.” While these supplements aim to provide health benefits, some people find that super greens cause digestive issues like diarrhea. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at super greens, their potential side effects, and whether they really cause diarrhea.

What Are Super Greens?

Super greens powders are supplements made from dehydrated, ground up fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods. Some common ingredients include:

  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, wheatgrass
  • Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts
  • Algae like chlorella, spirulina
  • Wheatgrass, barley grass
  • Fruits like acai berry, camu camu berry
  • Mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps
  • Herbs like moringa, ashwagandha

These ingredients are chosen for their high antioxidant content, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. By concentrating fruits and veggies into powder form, super greens aim to provide a mega-dose of nutrition in each serving.

Super greens powders make it easy to get servings of hard-to-eat foods like wheatgrass and algae. They’re also convenient – you can mix them into water, smoothies, or other foods and drinks on-the-go.

Potential Benefits of Super Greens

Fans of super greens claim they provide all sorts of health perks. Here are some of the main potential benefits:

  • Nutrient density – Super greens pack a nutritional punch, delivering a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  • Detoxification – Ingredients like chlorella and spinach may help remove toxins from the body.
  • Immune support – Antioxidants and nutrients in super greens may strengthen immune defenses.
  • Alkalization – Super greens promote an alkaline pH in the body which may increase energy.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds in greens may help reduce inflammation.
  • Heart health – Nutrients like magnesium and folate support heart health.
  • Digestion – Prebiotics in greens may improve gut bacteria and digestion.

While these benefits sound impressive, more research is still needed to substantiate many of the claims about super greens.

Super Greens Side Effects

Although super greens contain beneficial natural ingredients, they may also cause adverse effects in some people. Potential side effects include:

  • Digestive issues – Gas, bloating, nausea, diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions – Itching, rash, hives, throat swelling
  • Medication interactions – With blood thinners, antidepressants, etc
  • Heavy metal toxicity – From contaminated ingredients
  • Excess nutrient intake – Vitamins, minerals in high doses

Of all these side effects, digestive troubles are most commonly reported with super greens use. Let’s look specifically at whether super greens can cause diarrhea.

Can Super Greens Cause Diarrhea?

Diarrhea after taking super greens is definitely possible. A few factors make some people more prone to diarrhea from super greens:

Fiber Content

Many super greens contain significant amounts of fiber. While fiber is healthy, ramping up fiber intake too quickly can disrupt digestion. Soluble fiber soaks up water in the intestines, forming a gel-like substance. For some people, this extra fluid pulls water into the bowels, causing diarrhea.

Super greens with higher fiber content, like greens with wheatgrass, spirulina, and chlorella, are more likely to cause diarrhea. Taking large amounts of super greens at once can also overload the fiber content of a meal.

Sugar Alcohols

Some super greens contain sugar alcohols like xylitol or erythritol as sweeteners. While sugar alcohols aren’t fully digested, the unabsorbed portion can draw water into the intestine through osmosis. This may result in diarrhea in sensitive people.


Many super greens formulations contain probiotic bacteria or prebiotics to feed probiotics. While this is beneficial for gut health, it can also cause more gas, bloating, and even looser stools in some individuals as the microbiome adjusts.

Individual Sensitivity

Lastly, some people are just extra sensitive to sudden changes in diet. Introducing unfamiliar super greens ingredients can upset the digestive system in sensitive people.

Tips to Prevent Super Greens Diarrhea

If you’re prone to diarrhea from super greens, try these preventive tips:

  • Start with a small serving like 1 tsp and gradually increase over 2-3 weeks
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Take super greens with food, not on an empty stomach
  • Look for low-fiber greens or avoid forms with added fiber
  • Avoid sugar alcohol-sweetened greens if sensitive

Paying attention to how your body reacts and adjusting serving sizes or ingredients can help minimize diarrhea and other digestive issues from super greens.

Super Greens and Diarrhea – The Bottom Line

Here’s a quick summary of the connection between super greens and diarrhea:

  • Super greens may cause diarrhea due to high fiber, sugar alcohols, probiotics, and individual sensitivity
  • High fiber greens and taking large servings are most likely to cause issues
  • Start with small servings and increase slowly to minimize diarrhea risk
  • Drink plenty of fluids and take super greens with food to support digestion

While super greens can be beneficial for health, they may cause temporary diarrhea, especially when introducing a new product. Paying attention to your individual response and adjusting serving sizes can help minimize digestive discomfort.

Super Greens Ranked by Fiber Content

If you’re sensitive to fiber, pay attention to the source and amount of fiber in different super greens. Here’s a table ranking popular super greens from lowest to highest fiber content per serving:

Super Greens Powder Total Fiber per Serving
Amazing Grass Green Superfood 2g
Nested Naturals Super Greens 2g
Athletic Greens 3g
Vibrant Health Green Vibrance 3g
MacroLife Macro Greens 4g
Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake 6g
Purely Inspired Organic Greens 7g
Amazing Grass Protein Superfood 8g

As you can see, fiber content can range widely between 2-8g per serving. Pay attention to greens with veggie-based fiber rather than added isolates or blends.

Comparing Fiber Content of Common Greens Ingredients

Different greens ingredients also vary in their fiber content. Here’s a breakdown of fiber levels in some popular super greens ingredients:

Super Greens Ingredient Total Fiber
Spirulina 0g
Wheatgrass 0g
Chlorella 0g
Barley Grass 10g
Flaxseed 8g
Spinach 2g
Broccoli 3g
Kale 4g

Ingredients like spirulina, wheatgrass, and chlorella contain no fiber so are less likely to cause diarrhea issues. Meanwhile, flaxseed and barley grass provide a lot of fiber per serving.

Tips for Choosing a Low-Fiber Greens Powder

If you’re prone to diarrhea from super greens, choose a product strategically using these tips:

  • Avoid greens with added protein, which boosts fiber content
  • Check the ingredient list for flaxseed, psyllium husk, inulin etc
  • Prioritize low-fiber greens like wheatgrass, algae, and leafy greens
  • Limit greens with barley grass, apple fiber, etc
  • Look for a blend with 2-3g fiber per serving
  • Steer clear of greens with added probiotics

Paying attention to the specific fiber sources can help prevent diarrhea issues. A greens powder with spirulina, wheatgrass, and a few leafy greens is a good lower-fiber choice.

The Best Super Greens for Sensitive Digestion

If you’re frequently bothered by super greens side effects like diarrhea, look for a high-quality product designed for sensitive digestion. Here are a few good options:

1. Nested Naturals Super Greens

  • 2g fiber per serving
  • No added proteins or probiotics
  • Key ingredients: Spinach, broccoli, kale, spirulina

2. Dr. Mercola Fermented Greens

  • 3g fiber per serving
  • Fermented ingredients may improve digestion
  • No probiotic strains added

3. Vibrant Health Green Vibrance

  • 3g fiber per serving
  • Easily digested ingredients like spirulina
  • Added enzymes may help digestion

Focus on gentle, fermented, or low-fiber greens. Always start slowly with a small dose and work up gradually to find your tolerance.

The Bottom Line

Super greens offer concentrated nutrition, but may cause diarrhea due to high fiber content, sugar alcohols, probiotics, and sensitivity. To minimize diarrhea risk, choose a super greens powder strategically:

  • Select a product with only 2-4g fiber per serving
  • Avoid added protein powders and probiotic strains
  • Focus on low-fiber ingredients like wheatgrass and algae
  • Introduce super greens slowly and take with food

Paying attention to fiber content, starting small, and hydrating well can help you experience the benefits of super greens without the digestive discomfort. Be patient as your body adjusts and opt for a sensitive formula if needed.

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