The market for greens powders is now diverse enough to provide niche offerings: some are more focused on probiotics, some on antioxidants, and some target athletes.
Today, I’m reviewing Enerfood, a greens powder from the Colorado-based supplement company Enerhealth that markets their product as a way to supplement vegan and vegetarian diets. With that angle in mind, does it deliver what it promises?
With a shorter than average ingredients list of about twenty foods, the product is comprised of usual suspects like spirulina, dulse, spinach, alfalfa, barley, and wheat grass, along with some more unusual ingredients like nutritional yeast.
The nutritional yeast is actually the third ingredient on the label, and is a smart addition for a vegetarian product due to its high concentration of B-vitamins, including B12.
Everything is organic. Unlike some of its competitors, it contains no probiotics or digestive enzymes: it’s all plants.
One scoop contains 25 calories, 3 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and no fat.
The nutritional yeast, which is often used as a vegan substitute for cheese, gives this greens powder a nutty, savory, almost cheesy taste. After seeing orange and lemon peel in the ingredients, I was hoping for more of a fruity flavor, but I was wrong: it has the earthy, grassy taste that’s common to greens powders with more nutty overtones.
It’s not enjoyable when mixed with water, but in fairness to Enerhealth, they don’t recommend doing so. The product is best mixed with juice, and the sweetness should help to balance out the bitterness.
As a product that’s intended to help shore up common deficiencies that can arise in vegetarian and vegan diets, how does it stack up? Enerfood does a good job of focusing on B-vitamins: one little tablespoon contains 85% of the RDI of B12, which is famously difficult to obtain without animal products, and quite a lot of B1 (260 percent of the RDI) and B2 (60 percent of the RDI). It also has 35 percent of your daily iron and ten percent of your calcium.
That’s a pretty good rap sheet as far as supplementing a vegan diet, but I would have liked to see more calcium and I want to know if it contains any zinc or omega fatty acids, particularly given all the kinds of seaweed it contains. The label also claims the product is a “great source” of “trace minerals” but the nutrition label doesn’t mention any minerals besides calcium and iron. With that information, I’d have a better idea as to how well it could fill certain nutritional gaps in the meat-free population.
It also discloses its ORAC rating, which is 7360 per 100 grams or roughly 700 per serving. The ORAC scale gauges the potency of a product’s antioxidant content, and it’s always nice to see a greens powder that puts in the effort to do so. (Many simply state that they’re a great source of antioxidants without quantifying their claim in any way.)
An ORAC rating of 700 per serving isn’t especially high. A hundred grams of Enerfood exceeds the antioxidants found in a cup of berries, but one serving is eight grams, not a hundred grams. Nonetheless, the combination of important vitamins and a not insignificant amount of antioxidants make it a pretty solid product for the price point.
At about $36 for fifty servings (72 cents per serving), it’s very cheap. It’s rare to see a greens powder at under a dollar per serving, particularly an all-organic one.
Compare that with Athletic Greens ($4.23 per serving), Onnit’s Earth Grown Nutrients ($2.30/serving), AI Sports Nutrition Red & Greens XT ($1.33/serving), Green Vibrance ($1.08/serving), PharmaFreak Greens Freak ($1/serving), Sun Warrior’s Supergreens ($0.55/serving), and Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood ($0.52/serving).
Rating Out of 5
Enerfood contains a pretty decent amount of B-vitamins, iron, and antioxidants. There aren’t as many bells and whistles (like probiotics, enzymes, other vitamins) as some of its competitors, but that’s reflected in the price — it’s a cheap product and it will help to cover some of your nutritional bases, particularly if you avoid animal products.
It seems deliberately designed to help meet the nutritional needs of someone who’s already eating plenty of vegetables. It contains no Vitamin C and speaks little of minerals that are typically abundant in fruits and vegetables. In that regard, it’s intelligently designed and appropriately priced.