I Took a Superfoods Powder Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened
One reporter added this wildly nutrient-dense formula to her typical diet and now says, "Spoiler: I was pleased with the results."
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You’ve probably heard the term “superfood,” but what makes any one food so super? “Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds,” explains Joanna Wen, a certified weight loss coach with a degree in biological engineering. “Superfoods have been found to provide numerous health benefits and reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even some types of cancer,” Wen says.
So I wondered: If one healthy food is good—such as blueberries, broccoli or garlic—then is a blend of superfoods even better? I spent a week taking superfood powders to see how I’d feel. This experiment didn’t involve a juice cleanse or liquid diet—I ate solid food, too—but I tried to pack as many superfood powders into a week just to see what would happen.
Spoiler: I was pleased with the results.
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I felt oddly satisfied with a superfood shake
While I am a person who enjoys juicing, I’m also a person who likes chewing my food. I’ve experienced undeniable changes in my body when I’ve given it breaks from digesting fats and proteins, but it usually takes a few days for the “juice high” to appear and the hunger (or desire to chew) to disappear. I was impressed that the two superfood shake mixes I tried both created a high level of satiety for me.
I took HTB Rejuvenate Superfood Protein Shake Mix by Big Bold Health in vanilla and KOS Organic Superfood Plant Protein in chocolate. I made both of these shakes with plant-based milk and frozen fruit added. I used Ripple pea-protein milk for creaminess and an extra eight grams of protein, not that these shakes needed it—they’re both already flush with protein.
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How could I be sure that these “superfood” blends were truly superior? “As a complete nutritional solution, a true superfood should be high in complete proteins, have a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals and prebiotic fibers for a healthy microbiome,” said Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., FACN, FACB, CN, a chemist who has devoted his life’s work to researching ancient crops and superfoods and making them accessible to the public. Himalayan Tartery Buckwheat (HTB), the main star of Big Bold Health’s shake, has been cultivated and eaten for 4,000 years—and according to Dr. Bland, who also founded Big Bold Health, it “checks all the superfood boxes.”
HTB has properties that support the immune system, brain health, and phytochemical such as D-chiro-inositol (DCI), a molecule linked to blood sugar benefits that may improve how the body manages insulin and blood sugar.
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The superfood shake from KOS is impressive in that a two-scoop serving only has 160 calories (which I increased by about 100 calories with the Ripple milk and half a banana), but it left me feeling remarkably full. As it turns out, KOS’s superfood protein powder contains inulin, which I wasn’t familiar with! Inulin is prebiotic fiber found in chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, and more. Inulin’s primary benefit is its powerful ability to support gut health and help foster a satiated feeling, an experience I can now vouch for.
Jen Dreisch is a holistic nutritionist board certified by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals who explains that what makes inulin unique as a form of fiber is that it can only be partially broken down and digested, which leaves the rest as food for the beneficial bacteria in our microbiome. “Inulin increases the number of good species in our colon, while significantly reducing the harmful bacteria,” Dreisch says, adding that inulin is a soluble fiber, so it slows down and helps lower blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
I started my superfood week just after the news broke that erythritol, a popular zero-calorie sweetener, had been linked to heart attack and stroke. Neither Big Bold Health nor KOS uses erythritol. Big Bold Health sweetens with monk fruit, and KOS with stevia.
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Is there a limit to how many superfoods the body can handle?
During my week of superfoods, I became curious if I could get too much of a good thing. I asked the experts. “Too much of anything can get us into trouble,” advised BreAnna Guan, ND, a naturopathic physician in Boston.
Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, certified nutritionist and celebrity chef adds that aside from possibly getting too much fiber—which can lead to digestive discomfort—it’s hard to overdo fruits and veggies. “Caution is recommended with powders and supplements, as these nutrients are often in a different form than their food counterpart and too many vitamins can be dangerous,” Poon says.
There are many different superfoods—including healing herbs and spices—and Stacie J. Stephenson, a functional medicine practitioner, reminds us that superfoods include some herbs and spices. “They aren’t all necessarily satisfying to the appetite, but they are good for the body,” Dr. Stephenson says. “You aren’t going to fill up on turmeric or kimchi, but sprinkling some turmeric into your soup or tossing some kimchi into your salad can be a good way to incorporate superfoods for greater satisfaction, as well as nutrition.”
Dr. Stephenson—and all the experts—agree that adding superfoods to your diet, either in the form of superfood powders or through whole foods, is a wise move. “A big salad with a lot of colorful vegetables and some wild-caught salmon or chickpeas is going to be more nutritionally satisfying than a slice of pepperoni pizza,” Dr. Stephenson says. “Superfoods might not be what you crave, but the nutrients they contain are what your body needs.”
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- Joanna Wen, certified health coach at Spices & Greens
- Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., FACN, FACB, CN, a chemist and founder of Big Bold Health
- Journal of Diabetes Research, "D-Chiro-Inositol – Its Functional Role in Insulin Action and its Deficit in Insulin Resistance"
- Jen Dreisch, board-certified holistic nutritionist, Jewel Wellness on Maui
- Bioresearch Update, "Improving Effects of the Mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial, Koichiro Mori et al."
- Tero Isokauppila, Founder and CEO of Four Sigmatic
- BreAnna Guan, ND, a naturopathic physician in Boston
- Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, certified nutritionist, celebrity chef and longevity wellness expert
- Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, a leader in functional medicine and bestselling author