OLIPOP Classic Grape Flavor

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An RD Answers: Is Prebiotic Soda Good For You?

Prebiotic sodas are popping up on our grocery store shelves more frequently than ever before. And as trendy as they are, you may be wondering if they’re actually good for you. As a dietitian, I am a big fan of these buzzy sodas. And in this article, I’ll share exactly why that is…

Prebiotic Soda vs. Regular Soda

Traditional sodas are packed with sugar, artificial flavorings, and not much else—offering very little in the nutrition department. Thankfully, new soda brands are spinning traditional sodas on their heads adding botanicals, plant compounds, and other ingredients that bump up the nutritional value in their cans. 

And one exciting new ingredient is prebiotics in prebiotic soda. This indigestible ingredient can offer up some unique health benefits that sugary empty-calorie sodas can never rival. By adding prebiotics, prebiotic soda joins the soda aisle as a bubbly, gut-friendly option for soda drinkers.

What Are Prebiotics?

Probiotics are live organisms that help support healthy gut microbiota. And these live organisms (like certain bacteria) need fuel to thrive. Prebiotics, a type of fiber, is that fuel. You can find prebiotics in foods like Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, chicory root, asparagus, and now… prebiotic soda. 

Is Prebiotic Soda Good For You?

Prebiotic fibers help support gut health, immune health, and other factors for your health. And since only 7% of Americans are consuming the recommended amount of fiber every day, finding any way to increase this important nutrient in your diet is a good idea. A prebiotic soda like OLIPOP contains 9 grams of fiber, zero artificial colors, and is significantly lower in added sugars than traditional sodas. 

Why Is Soda Bad for You?

Eating or drinking any food that is essentially empty calories is not the best choice when it comes to supporting your health. From the large quantities of added sugars to the artificial ingredients, loading your body with these beverages could lead to some unsavory side effects. And since these beverages contain zero micronutrients, they won’t help you avoid nutritional gaps either. 

Drinking large quantities of regular soda could increase your risk of:

Dental Cavities

Soda is acidic and high in sugar. And when teeth are in an acidic, high-sugar environment, the dental enamel can break down. This opens up the possibility of developing cavities. 

Developing Belly Fat

Consuming too many added sugars can cause the body to accumulate fat. And since regular soda is packed with added sugars, consuming this drink in excess can lead to a weight gain side effect. 

Developing Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone that your body needs to turn glucose from your blood into energy. When you have insulin resistance, your cells can’t use the insulin and you may experience elevated blood sugar. Having consistently high blood sugar can lead to kidney, vision, and many other health concerns. 

Heart Disease

Added sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of heart disease (and stroke!). Since soda can be a significant source of added sugars, consuming this drink frequently may not have the best effects on your heart health.

Is Diet Soda Bad for You?

If you are looking for a healthier soda alternative to regular soda, you may think that diet soda can do the trick. But drinking diet soda doesn’t come without risk either. Sure, it is calorie and sugar-free. But it is also void of any micronutrients, and it is typically made with artificial colors and flavors. 

Consuming diet soda regularly could have the following effects: 

Weight Gain 

Diet soda is free from added sugars. But that doesn’t mean that drinking it isn’t linked to weight gain. While there is data that suggests otherwise, some evidence suggests that drinking diet soda doesn’t guarantee that weight gain isn’t a risk. 

An Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Even though diet soda is free from added sugars, some studies found an association between high diet drink intake and cardiovascular disease outcomes and mortality.

Negative Effects on the Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiome plays a role in your immune health, mental health, and digestive health. If the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria is off-balance, our health can suffer the consequences. While we need more data to confirm a definitive link, some evidence suggests that consuming non-nutritive sweeteners, like the ones found in diet soda, may have negative effects on the gut microbiome balance. 

So, Should You Make the Switch to Prebiotic Soda?

If you are a soda lover (and who can blame you if you are?), opting for a prebiotic soda instead of a traditional sugary pop or a diet soda will fuel your body with gut health-supporting ingredients with far less cavity-promoting sugar. And skipping loads of added sugars or non-nutritive sweeteners may protect your body from the negative effects that traditional or diet soda drinkers may experience. 

OLIPOP soda is significantly lower in sugar and free from non-nutritive sweeteners. Plus, it contains a whopping 9 grams of prebiotic fiber per can, which provides over 30% of your daily value of this key nutrient. Having a can of prebiotic soda as a part of a balanced and healthy diet can be one simple way to support your gut health while satisfying your craving for a sweet soda.

Sources

  1. Cohen, L. J., Curhan, G. C., & Forman, J. P. (2012a). Association of Sweetened Beverage Intake with Incident Hypertension. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(9), 1127–1134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-012-2069-6

  2. Cohen, L. J., Curhan, G. C., & Forman, J. P. (2012b). Association of Sweetened Beverage Intake with Incident Hypertension. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(9), 1127–1134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-012-2069-6

  3. Fowler SP, Williams K, Hazuda HP. Diet soda intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older adults: the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Apr;63(4):708-15. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13376

  4. Narain, A., Kwok, C. S., & Mamas, M. A. (2017). Soft drink intake and the risk of metabolic syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 71(2), e12927. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcp.12927

  5. Nettleton, J. E., Reimer, R. A., & Shearer, J. (2016). Reshaping the gut microbiota: Impact of low calorie sweeteners and the link to insulin resistance? Physiology & Behavior, 164, 488–493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.04.029

  6. Palmnäs MS, Cowan TE, Bomhof MR, Su J, Reimer RA, Vogel HJ, Hittel DS, Shearer J. Low-dose aspartame consumption differentially affects gut microbiota-host metabolic interactions in the diet-induced obese rat. PLoS One. 2014 Oct 14;9(10):e109841. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109841

  7. Pollock, N. K., Bundy, V., Kanto, W. P., Davis, C. L., Bernard, P., Zhu, H., Gutin, B., & Dong, Y. (2012). Greater Fructose Consumption Is Associated with Cardiometabolic Risk Markers and Visceral Adiposity in Adolescents. Journal of Nutrition, 142(2), 251–257. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.111.150219

  8. Staff, A. (2021). Most Americans are not getting enough fiber in our diets. American Society for Nutrition. https://nutrition.org/most-americans-are-not-getting-enough-fiber-in-our-diets/

  9. Thorburn, A., Storlien, L. H., Jenkins, A., Khouri, S., & Kraegen, E. W. (1989). Fructose-induced in vivo insulin resistance and elevated plasma triglyceride levels in rats. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49(6), 1155–1163. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/49.6.1155

  10. Vyas A, Rubenstein L, Robinson J, Seguin RA, Vitolins MZ, Kazlauskaite R, Shikany JM, Johnson KC, Snetselaar L, Wallace R. Diet drink consumption and the risk of cardiovascular events: a report from the Women's Health Initiative. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Apr;30(4):462-8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-014-3098-0

Cheat Sheet
  • Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that support healthy gut microbiota.
  • Certain sodas now include prebiotic fiber in their ingredients, helping you meet your daily fiber needs and supporting your health.
  • Adding prebiotic sodas to a healthy and balanced diet can be a smart addition to support your overall health, especially if you love the taste of soda.
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