A few years ago, before the current Moringa craze, a shot of wheatgrass was all the rage in nutrition circles. The überfood of superfoods. Heavy-handed marketing convinced us of its health claims, from losing weight to curing cancer.
Wheatgrass – The Evidence
We gulped this green slime, all the while ignoring the strong aversion signal to throw up – as our senses united to obstruct the impending assault. Proponents claim that wheatgrass shots and supplements suppress your appetite, hence its promotion as a weight loss tool. Wheatgrass contains thylakoids – chlorophyll containing micro-structures. In several studies, thylakoids isolated from wheatgrass resulted in increased satiety and decreased food intake.
Seems promising enough. But thylakoids are also found in many other regular greens. While a wheatgrass shot is unlikely to do much harm, it is not nutritionally superior to kale or spinach.
There is no doubt that plant extracts can have incredible medicinal potential. In my opinion, this should be reserved for initiating health, not sustaining it.
To sustain health, mother nature knows the perfect balance. As much as possible, we should be eating what she offers (whole food) when she offers it (seasonal).
In this article, I discuss ‘detoxing’ in more detail. Like ‘superfoods’ – another clever marketing invention – detoxing has been massively hijacked by avaricious individuals and companies. There are now hundreds of detox diets, body wraps, teas, shakes, and juices, often aggressively advertised after known periods of overindulgence – such as Christmas. There are hundreds of books purporting the benefits of DIY juicing. Shampoos and soaps carry detox claims on their packaging, and detox salt baths promise to effectively leech these toxins out of our bodies. It is worth a read if you have ever fallen victim to these marketing tactics.
Take a look at Table 1 on this webpage. The USDA’s extensive nutrition database is used to compare the nutrition profiles of wheatgrass, broccoli, and spinach.