TikTok is featuring prebiotic sodas, bright beverages in cute packaging that promise everything from weight loss to heart health. Olipop, Poppi, and Vive Organic bill themselves as healthy sodas. Is it true? Can sweet, bubbly drinks also be healthy?
What’s the difference between a Poppi and a Coke? Their nutritional information is quite different.
A Poppi soda brings you 2 grams of fiber and 4 or 5 grams of sugar. Various flavors contain 3 to 7% juice. The first two ingredients are water and sugar. Some also contain apple cider vinegar.
An 8-oz can of Coke, by contrast, contains no fiber and 39 grams of sugar. Its ingredient include carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, and 34 mg of caffeine.
That’s a big difference.
What about the fiber? Does that fiber content make Poppi a good alternative to blueberries?
While the prebiotic sodas do contain fiber, that doesn’t make them a good stand-in for fresh fruit.
The fiber in these sodas is inulin, a starchy substance that is not digested. Instead, it can stay in your large intestine and provide fuel for good bacteria. Inulin is found naturally in many plant foods, from onions to bananas.
The inulin in the prebiotic drinks is extracted from chicory and processed. It may get fermented faster than naturally occurring inulin, so it may not do as much good. In fact, it may not even reach your large intestine.
One study found negative reactions to higher doses of these purified fibers.
In short, prebiotic sodas are not a great source of fiber and probably don’t have any meaningful health benefits — unless they help you drink less sugar and high fructose corn syrup.