15 min read
Us vs. Them: How OLIPOP Stacks up to Other Sodas
What Is OLIPOP?
Our co-founders, Ben and David, spent years on a quest for a healthier, tastier soda that could undermine the old guard of soda behemoths. In their search for research-backed ingredients, they put together a team of some of the top microbiome researchers in the world. What resulted was both a functional and delicious soda called OLIPOP.
OLIPOP tastes like the soda you grew up sipping, but with the added benefit of microbiome and digestive health support. While many other sodas have 39g of sugar or more and zero nutritional value, OLIPOP has 2-5 grams of sugar and a combination of plant fiber, prebiotics, and botanicals for both a sweet and healthy taste.
As the fastest-growing functional beverage in the United States, OLIPOP has contributed more than 75 million grams of prebiotic fiber to the American diet. And counting!
After all those years of searching for the best research-backed ingredients and vetting them with leading human gut microbiome research pioneers, what we ended up with was a delicious and nutritious lineup of ingredients that not even a sugar-loaded soda could compete with.
OLIPOP features natural ingredients such as our OLISMART in-house proprietary blend of eight botanicals, plant fibers, and prebiotics. Each ingredient is hand-picked for its biome-supporting benefits and works together to promote healthy digestion by feeding the microbiome that exists within all of us.
Add in natural sweeteners like cassava root syrup, sweet birch, stevia leaf, and natural fruit flavors and you’ve also got the healthy answer to your demanding sweet tooth.
Take a peek inside the can to learn more about our amazing lineup of OLIPOP ingredients.
Currently, we have eight delicious OLIPOP flavors: Vintage Cola, Classic Grape, Orange Cream, Strawberry Vanilla, Cherry Vanilla, Ginger Lemon, Orange Squeeze, and Classic Root Beer.
Each flavor features biome-supporting benefits... and its own unique and colorful personality! Get to know all the different OLIPOP flavors.
Common Ingredients in Other Sodas
Unlike OLIPOP, most soda companies aren’t partnering with leading microbiome researchers and spending years formulating a nutritious tasty beverage. A quick look at the back label of the leading soda brands will reveal a whole lot of sugar, food coloring, artificial ingredients… and nothing nutritional about it.
So which ingredients are there in other sodas? Before we break down the specific differences between OLIPOP and a few leading soda brands, here are some common offenders you’re likely to find:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
One of the top ingredients in your soda can (and the reason for its addictive sweet flavor) is high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is a chain of glucose or simple sugar that forms from corn starch1. You get high fructose corn syrup by converting some of that glucose into fructose, or fruit sugar.1
Overconsumption of high fructose corn syrup (or any sugars!) can increase your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.2 And with 39 to 45 grams of added sugar, the leading soda brands mentioned below put you well and above your daily limit in just one can.3
Cane sugar, otherwise known as table sugar, comes from sugar cane.4 But don’t read cane sugar on your soda label and assume that this sugar is any better than high fructose corn syrup. All sugar converts into glucose in the body, meaning that they all have the same effect once digested. And like high fructose corn syrup, too much cane sugar can result in negative health impacts.2
Caramel color is a food coloring added to a lot of sodas to create that familiar dark coloring you often find in a drink like root beer or Coca-Cola.5 It’s made with ammonium compounds, which can, in the manufacturing process, form a chemical compound called 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible carcinogen.5
While a study from 2007 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer found the compound to be potentially carcinogenic to humans, a 2020 report by the FDA found that small amounts of the compound are safe for human consumption.6 7
Citric acid is an acid naturally found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and some berries.8 It’s a common ingredient in sodas, along with other beverages and food items, because it works as both a preservative and flavoring agent.8 But, the citric acid you’ll find in these soda brands is a man-made or artificial version of the acid, meaning it doesn’t offer the same benefits as you’d get biting into an orange.
Phosphoric acid is a colorless and odorless phosphorus-containing acid that gives soda its tangy or tart flavor. It also helps protect the drink from unwanted bacteria growth. Phosphoric acid helps keep our bones strong and supports our kidneys, although too much of it could put you at risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.9
Sodium benzoate is an FDA-approved chemical preservative used by manufacturers to extend your soda’s shelf life and increase its freshness. Alongside other common preservatives like potassium benzoate and potassium sorbate, a small amount in your soda can help protect your drink from mold, yeast, and unwanted bacteria.10 Although generally recognized as safe by the FDA, sodium benzoate can form benzene, a known carcinogen, when combined with ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C.11
OLIPOP Orange Cream vs. Americana Orange Cream
OLIPOP Orange Cream is the classic creamy, vanilla taste from your favorite memories of chasing down the ice cream truck on a hot summer day. This iconic childhood popsicle in nutritious can form combines flavors of tangerine and mandarin citrus with all the digestive health benefits and none of the loaded sugar.
Let’s get to know this flavor in comparison to the Americana Orange Cream soda brand:
Americana Orange Cream: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Gum Acacia, Orange Extract, Orange Juice, Natural Color
OLIPOP Orange Cream: Carbonated Water, OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus, Calendula Flower, Kudzu Root, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark), Clementine Juice Concentrate, Cassava Root Syrup, Mandarin Juice Concentrate, Apple Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice, Stevia Leaf, Himalayan Pink Salt, Natural Dark Vanilla Flavor, Natural Orange Flavor
Americana Orange Cream: 160 calories
OLIPOP Orange Cream: 50 calories
Americana Orange Cream: 42g total sugar
OLIPOP Orange Cream: 5g total sugar
Americana Orange Cream: 0g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Orange Cream: 9g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Classic Root Beer vs. A&W Root Beer
Root beer is a rich and creamy American classic. Unfortunately though, like other major soda brands, it’s also rich in added sugars and artificial ingredients. But, luckily for you, our OLIPOP Classic Root Beer redefines the meaning of classic. It combines the sweet and creamy flavor you know and love with extracts of sweet birch, smooth-vanilla bean, and naturally sourced burdock root for a gut boost that feels as good as it tastes.
Get to know this classic flavor in comparison to a can of A&W Root Beer:
A&W Root Beer: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate (preservative), natural and artificial flavors, quillaia extract
OLIPOP Classic Root Beer: Carbonated Water, OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus, Calendula Flower, Kudzu Root, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark), Cassava Root Syrup, Apple Juice Concentrate, Organic Natural Root Beer Flavor, Lemon Juice, Burdock Root, Stevia Leaf, Himalayan Pink Salt, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Sweet Birch
A&W Root Beer: 170 calories
OLIPOP Classic Root Beer: 35 calories
A&W Root Beer: 45g total sugar
OLIPOP Classic Root Beer: 2g total sugar
A&W Root Beer: 0g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Classic Root Beer: 9g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Vintage Cola vs. Coca-Cola
Our small batch prebiotic OLIPOP Vintage Cola has the same old-fashioned taste you grew up loving but is naturally enhanced with distinct notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel. Plus, it's filled with gut-supporting fiber and nutrients from OLISMART to help keep things moving. Unlike Coca-Cola, it strikes a delicate and delicious balance between healthy and crave-able.
Let’s break down the difference between OLIPOP and the ultimate soda behemoth:
Coca-Cola: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine
OLIPOP Vintage Cola: Carbonated Water, OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus, Calendula Flower, Kudzu Root, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark), Cassava Root Syrup, Apple Juice Concentrate, Lime Juice, Organic Natural Cola Flavor, Alpha Galangal Root, Stevia Leaf, Himalayan Pink Salt, Green Tea Caffeine, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Natural Caramel Flavor, Cinnamon
Coca-Cola: 140 calories
OLIPOP Vintage Cola: 35 calories
Coca-Cola: 39g total sugar
OLIPOP Vintage Cola: 2g total sugar
Coca-Cola: 0g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Vintage Cola: 9g dietary fiber
OLIPOP vs. Other Sodas Takeaway
We’ve taken a drink traditionally dominated by processed sugar and artificial ingredients and made it into a healthy and delicious experience. That’s because at OLIPOP we know that life is too short to load up on unnecessary sugar and zero nutrition. But it’s also too short not to meet your sweet cravings with a delicious can of microbiome-supporting soda.
So what are you waiting for? Time to pop open a can of one of our eight bubbly and delicious OLIPOP flavors for a soda experience that beats the competition.
- “High Fructose Corn Syrup Questions and Answers.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 4 Jan. 2018, www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/high-fructose-corn-syrup-questions-and-answers.
- Malik, Vasanti S., and Frank B. Hu. “Fructose and Cardiometabolic Health.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, vol. 66, no. 14, 6 Oct. 2015, pp. 1615–1624., doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2015.08.025.
- “Added Sugar in the Diet.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2 Jan. 2019, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/.
- Brennan, Dan. “Cane Sugar: Is It Good for You? Pros and Cons, Nutrition Information, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, 3 Dec. 2020, www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-cane-sugar#1.
- Smith, Tyler J. S., Julia A. Wolfson, Ding Jiao, Michael J. Crupain, Urvashi Rangan, Amir Sapkota, Sara N. Bleich, and Keeve E. Nachman. “Caramel Color in Soft Drinks and Exposure to 4-Methylimidazole: A Quantitative Risk Assessment.” Edited by Maciej Buchowski. PLOS ONE 10, no. 2 (February 18, 2015): e0118138. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118138.
- Caramel Color: The Health Risk That May Be in Your Soda.” Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports, 10 Feb. 2014, www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/caramel-color-the-health-risk-that-may-be-in-your-soda/index.htm.
- Questions & Answers About 4-MEI.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 27 Mar. 2020, www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/questions-answers-about-4-mei.
- Bhargava, Hansa D. “Citric Acid Health Benefits.” WebMD, WebMD, 23 June 2020, www.webmd.com/diet/what-is-citric-acid#1.
- Tucker, Katherine L, Kyoko Morita, Ning Qiao, Marian T Hannan, L Adrienne Cupples, and Douglas P Kiel. “Colas, but Not Other Carbonated Beverages, Are Associated with Low Bone Mineral Density in Older Women: The Framingham Osteoporosis Study.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84, no. 4 (October 1, 2006): 936–42.
- Brennan, Dan. “What Is Sodium Benzoate? Is It Safe for Use as a Food Preservative?” WebMD, WebMD, 12 Apr. 2021, www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-sodium-benzoate.
- “Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Benzene.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 24 Jan. 2018, www.fda.gov/food/chemical-contaminants-food/questions-and-answers-occurrence-benzene-soft-drinks-and-other-beverages.
- OLIPOP tastes like the soda you grew up sipping, but with the added benefit of microbiome and digestive health support.
- Unlike OLIPOP, most soda companies aren’t partnering with leading microbiome researchers and spending years formulating a nutritious tasty beverage. A quick look at the back label of the leading soda brands will reveal a whole lot of sugar, food coloring, artificial ingredients… and nothing nutritional about it.
5 min read
Working at OLIPOP: Why We Use JOON
JOON's wellness benefits platform makes it easy for us to empower employees to practice positive habits that support their health and happiness. This makes our company feel even more like a family,...