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  • Priya Mukherjee

Poppi versus Olipop: Is this so-called "gut-health science" real or are pro-biotic sodas the newest money grab?

If you're like me you're a bev girl.


A bev girl by nature enjoys herself a beverage. Lattes, matchas, chais, sodas: the cuter, the tastier the better. This can be an unhealthy and pricey habit or - by nature of marketing and trendy labels from certain health soda companies - a shocking new cure for an irritated tummy.


Intrigue followed by obsession lead me to adore brands like Poppi and Olipop. Bev girl indeed.


But when the so-called health sodas are almost $35 for a pack of 12...you have to ask yourself: what "health-benefits" are you actually paying for?

That's the price-tag for your average 12 pack of "pro-biotic soda" on Amazon.com


We've all seen the various new sodas on the market. Flashy labels, classic yet innovative flavors. Long gone are days of 40g sugar Coca-Colas. They've been trendily replaced by soda thats, gasp, good for you? Poppi and Olipop are just two examples of the different versions sweeping the market.


But how real is that claim and what science is backing it?


Let's look into Poppi first:




Poppi markets itself as being, "a modern soda that combines agave inulin, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and fruit juice to give you all the soda feels with 25 calories or less, 5g sugar or less, and prebiotics."


Let's break this down.


  1. Sweetening Ingredients: According to the ingredients list: the sweetness in your average can of Poppi comes from "natural juices", cane sugar and stevia. According to the FDA, Stevia is "generally considered safe" in normal doses but can cause you to develop a heightened sweet tooth.

  2. Gut Health: The important ingredient to now consider is the ACV - or Apple Cider Vinegar. Poppi's proprietary Apple Cider Vinegar blend is its claim to gut health fame and benefit. While ACV has been an old wives tale and household remedy for many illnesses, the actual clinical gut-health benefit is...unclear. Taken raw ACV can be helpful by killing harmful gut bacteria, providing natural probiotics to the gut biome and introducing beneficial antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage (Cleveland Health Clinic). However, clinical studies confirming that the "mother" (the culture of beneficial bacteria that transforms apple cider into vinegar found within ACV and in Poppi) can improve gut health, are small and limited in scope (WebMD). This makes the science behind Poppi's formula slightly shaky.

Let's look into OLIPOP next:



Olipop's marketing slogan describes itself as: "a new kind of soda" with its 2-5g of sugar, 9 grams of fiber. But let's break down the ingredients and benefits.


  1. Sweetening Ingredients: Stevia, apple juice concentrate, and cassava root syrup are the main sweeteners in the average can of Olipop. Again Stevia reigns here as the low-calorie sweetener option for health beverages. While Stevia does not present any inherent challenges to a healthy diet, Cassava root syrup has some surprising health benefits including being a good source of Vitamin C (Healthline).

  2. Gut health: Chicory root, cassava root fiber, and Jerusalem artichoke inulin are all ingredients a part of the "Oli-smart" in-house proprietary blend boasted in the Olipop formula. These are all forms of fiber that can help, ahem, clear you out if you're feeling backed up. The extensive amount of fiber in a can of Olipop in general can help with a whole host of stomach issues by giving you that full feeling and helping to feed the good bacteria in our intestinal biomes and...its clinically backed by academic research.


What? Backed by clinical data? That's almost unheard of in our world of marketing and gimmicks. But yes its true. In a study done by Purdue University, "Findings indicated that consuming the equivalent of at least one can of OLIPOP per day for 30 days results in a boost in beneficial Bifidobacteria, one of the critically important good bacteria that live in the intestines," (Forbes.com)

Ultimately, you shouldn't even be only relying on a soda to give you all the fiber or benevolent bacteria that you need in your body. Introducing fiber in the forms of vegetables and whole foods and bacteria in the form of yogurt will be far more beneficial to you in the long run.


Now, I won't tell you how to live your life but if you're trying to introduce a fun, delicious, healthy alternative to soda to your life: I would definitely grab the OLIPOP first - my favorite flavor is the cherry vanilla.


But if you're like me and you're a bev girl; you're keen on drinking them both. You're pouring them into a cute little sleepy girl mocktail, and calling it a day.

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