Fruit and Vegetable Supplements
by Mary B Grosvenor, MS, RD and Lori A Smolin, PhD
AKA Greens powder
Fruit and vegetable pills and capsules
Fruit and vegetable supplements are whole fruits and vegetables that have been processed to remove water; in some cases, nutrients and components are added or lost. They are sold as pills, purees, and powders.
Fruit and vegetable supplements are marketed to increase fruit and/or vegetable intake. Only 1 in 10 Americans eat the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risks of chronic disease including CVD, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults consume 2.5 cup-equivalents of vegetables and 2 cup-equivalents of fruits per day.
May contain 300–600 mg of potassium per serving so should be avoided in those with severe renal disease or a history of hyperkalemia. Some brands may contain soy or other common food allergens.
Pearls to Know
These products are not a substitute for a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Because of losses that occur during processing, many do not contain all the fiber, vitamin, and minerals that were contained in the original food. They are not calorie free; the calories they provide must be considered in weight management plans.
These products are sold as dietary supplements, which are not regulated by the FDA. Many are marketed as “superfoods” but there is no legal definition of this term. The serving size on the label (2 to 6 capsules) is not equivalent to a serving of fruits or vegetables. They can cost up to $100 per month, which is more than the cost of eating the recommended servings of actual fruits and vegetables.
While some studies have shown specific supplements may influence cardiovascular disease predictors, such as blood pressure or body weight, and others show an increase in serum level of specific vitamins and phytochemicals, the overall effects on individual or public health are not known..
Lee SH, Moore LV, Park S, Harris DM, Blanck HM. Adults meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations — United States, 2019. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022;71(1):1-9. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7101a1
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials. Accessed April 7, 2023.
Stewart H, Hymen J. USDA ERS - Americans Still Can Meet Fruit and Vegetable Dietary Guidelines for $2.10-$2.60 per Day. https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2019/june/americans-still-can-meet-fruit-and-vegetable-dietary-guidelines-for-210-260-per-day/. Published June 3, 2019. Accessed April 19, 2023.
Dams S, Holasek S, Tsiountsioura M, Dams S, Holasek S, Tsiountsioura M, et al. An encapsulated fruit, vegetable and berry juice powder concentrate increases plasma values of specific carotenoids and vitamins. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 2021;91(1-2):77-86. doi:10.1024/0300-9831/a000609
Lorenzoni G, Minto C, Vecchio MG, et al. Fruit and vegetable concentrate supplementation and Cardiovascular Health: A systematic review from a public health perspective. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2019;8(11):1914. doi:10.3390/jcm8111914