In today’s world of “disruptive” foods, drinks, and supplements, there’s no shortage of options or marketing hype. One type of supplement that has made the rounds of the podcast steer. Some green powders claim to offer a barrage of benefits, from digestive health to vitamin and mineral optimization. With the podcasters and other online influencers backing some of these products, we wanted to see if they make sense for somebody in their post-bariatric surgery life. Now, it’s essential to understand that we can only offer general guidance on suitability. Every person is different. So, speak to your doctor and bariatric surgeon before changing any supplementation routine.
What Are These Powders?
Essentially, these are dehydrated fruits and vegetables turned into a powder so they can be mixed with any of your favorite drinks to create delicious concoctions. Many of these powders claim to have superfoods and other highly nutritious ingredients. Each blend typically includes many vitamins, digestive enzymes, and more. Some are organic, while others are not. Some are also artificially sweetened for taste. After all, who would want that cringe-worthy, hold-your-nose feeling of eating unflavored dried vegetables?
The Pros of These Drink Powders
Some of these powders claim to improve health and other key markers of inflammation and digestion. Many claim to offer physical and psychological benefits. To some degree, these are inherently true. Many of us lack vitamins that control physical and mental function. Supplementing to get those levels higher is no bad thing.
Taking these powders with liquid also promotes hydration, especially if you drink water or other low-added-sugar mixer like almond or skim milk. Getting that first dose of hydration in the morning can be a game changer for the rest of the day and help you stay on track with your diet.
Note: While there might be a lot of hype surrounding these products, there is little oversight, so be sure to research the manufacturer carefully. Check the ingredient list to ensure you are not sensitive or allergic to any ingredients.
Now, for the Considerations
How you take it…these supplements can become less healthy if you mix the greens with high-sugar juice for taste. Doing so negates many of the benefits of these products, as you will consume too much sugar for your diet. Remember that in many cases, juice has more sugar than soda and can be a diet buster.
You will have a delicate balance of nutritional requirements after your bariatric procedure and supplementing with one or more vitamins, including a multi. Be sure to speak to your bariatric surgeon or dietitian to ensure you’re not consuming too much of a good thing. Overconsumption of supplements can cause problems. For example, you can consume too much iron.
These are not heel replacements. While some of these products contain protein, they should not be used as meal replacements since they need to offer more of the primary nutrients that bariatric patients need.
They can be expensive. We encourage you to discuss this with our office if you have the budget and feel confident in the manufacturing process. Remember that you will also buy bariatric protein and vitamins in your postop life. All of this can add up. If budget is an issue, always prioritize your bariatric-specific vitamins and proteins.
While the claims may not be verified, the idea is that getting some extra nutrients is good for you. However, the degree to which it will offer a benefit is questionable. Do you have an insufficiency in the first place? If not, does getting more of these vitamins or minerals make you healthier, or are you feeling a placebo effect or the effects of hydration? Again, this will come down to a discussion with your dietitian and whether these products fall within your budget.
The Bottom Line
Though many people who have not had bariatric surgery can theoretically benefit from these green powders, it’s less obvious in the typical bariatric patient. Remember, we have particular dietary needs and limitations after our procedure. So, speak to your surgeon or dietitian to understand if taking the supplements makes sense.
Of course, we’re looking out for your health and want to ensure that everything you do works towards the ultimate goal of weight loss and better health. As with any new supplementation regimen, we strongly encourage our patients to speak to us before they try anything new. Doing so can avoid many complications from patients not following their postoperative guidelines. If you have been cleared to take these products, we’d love to hear your experience, so feel free to bring it up with your surgeon at your next consultation. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us. We will be happy to work through any concerns you may have after your procedure.