What Is The Healthiest Soda?
If you're on the hunt for a healthy soda, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been asking ourselves the question “what is the healthiest soda?” for years now. We weren’t happy with what we found, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. But let’s start at the beginning…
Is Soda Healthy?
When you Google the question, “what is the healthiest soda” the leading brand that often comes out on top is Sierra Mist. This lemon-lime soda often finds itself in the number one position for “healthiest soda” because it’s slightly lower in sugar and calories than other soda brands.
But is the bar really so low that a 12oz drink with 140 calories, 37g of sugar (!), 35mg of sodium, and zero nutritional value is considered “healthy”? Because there’s nothing healthy about 37g of sugar in one can. (Which, according to the American Heart Association, puts you well above your recommended daily intake of sugar with just one can!)1
An excess of sugar has serious consequences for your health. High levels of sugar lead to a large number of health concerns including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, and non-alcoholic liver disease, among other conditions.2 And with 24% of all added sugar in the Standard American Diet (SAD) coming from these sugar-sweetened beverages, it’s no surprise that sodas are a major contributor to these dangerous health conditions and diseases.3
So… healthy? Let’s try that again.
Is Diet Soda Healthy?
If you take out the 37g of sugar, does that make your soda healthier? That’s the appeal of diet soda: a beverage that uses artificial sweeteners to offer its drinkers a zero-calorie and zero-sugar alternative. But does having “zero” on the label make diet soda a healthier choice?
Not necessarily. Diet soda focuses on the elimination of sugar and calories but doesn’t add any kind of nutritional value. Zero calories mean zero nutrition. Their made-in-a-lab sounding ingredients are either providing a sweet sugar-substituting flavor, or helping to extend shelf life. They’re not providing you with any kind of nutrition to help get you through your day.
Does Healthy Soda Exist?
Thankfully, yes! There are several options other than sugar-filled or diet soda to choose from. And one of those healthy soda alternatives is OLIPOP. Our OLIPOP co-founders, Ben and David, believed that there had to be another way to satisfy your sweet tooth without negatively affecting your gut health, or drinking more than your daily limit of sugar in one can.
In their search for research-backed ingredients, they put together a team of some of the top microbiome researchers in the world. And out came OLIPOP, a functional and delicious soda that combines the rich, sweet, and bubbly flavors you know and love with the complex nutrients you need.
Meet OLIPOP: A New Kind of Soda
At OLIPOP, we focus on the benefits of our functional ingredients. The ingredients in OLIPOP are hand-picked for their biome-supporting qualities that work to promote healthy digestion by feeding the microbiome that exists within all of us.
In other words, even though it tastes like the soda you grew up sipping, OLIPOP also has the added benefit of gut health support. Sierra Mist, the so-called “healthiest soda” contains 37g or more of sugar and zero nutritional value. But our squad of delicious soda flavors has 2-5g of sugar. That’s almost 20 times less sugar! With its combination of plant fiber, prebiotics, and botanicals for both a sweet and healthy taste, OLIPOP is the new king of healthy soda.
And thanks to over fifteen years of research, our functional formula combines up-to-date microbiome and digestive health science with the knowledge of top researchers around the world. Results from our in-vitro studies, conducted with Purdue University and Baylor College of Medicine, reveal OLIPOP's ability to increase diversity, promote good bacteria, and facilitate short-chain fatty acid production in the microbiome.
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! Hard for a sugar-loaded soda to compete with that, right? But just for comparison’s sake, let’s line them up side-by-side for a closer look.
OLIPOP vs. Sierra Mist
Sierra Mist: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Potassium Sorbate
OLIPOP Ginger Lemon: Carbonated Water, OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus, Calendula Flower, Kudzu Root, Marshmallow Root), Ginger Juice, Lemon Juice, Cassava Root Syrup, Apple Juice Concentrate, Ginger, Himalayan Pink Salt, Stevia Leaf, Organic Natural Mulling Spice Flavor, Cinnamon
Sierra Mist: 140 calories
OLIPOP Ginger Lemon: 35 calories
Sierra Mist: 37g total sugar
OLIPOP Ginger Lemon: 2g total sugar
Sierra Mist: 0g dietary fiber
OLIPOP Ginger Lemon: 9g dietary fiber
So, which one’s the healthier soda? We’ll let you be the judge.
What Is The Healthiest Soda?
The makers of the first sodas would argue that the soda they made was the healthiest soda. But the “health tonics” of the late 1800s are a lot different than today’s sugar-filled beverages. A 12oz can of Sierra Mist—the so-called “healthiest soda” on many lists—contains about 140 calories, 39g of carbs, 37g of sugar, 35mg of sodium, and there’s absolutely nothing healthy about it. Luckily, you have other options like OLIPOP to fulfill your soda cravings without loading up on sugar and artificial ingredients.
Learn more about why OLIPOP can be your healthier soda alternative on OLIPOP Digest, a blog packed with helpful tips, recipes, and research on all things soda, fiber, and gut health.
- Added Sugars. (2021, November 2). American Heart Association. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars
- Stanhope, Kimber L. “Sugar Consumption, Metabolic Disease and Obesity: The State of the Controversy.” Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, vol. 53, no. 1, 17 Sept. 2015, pp. 52–67., doi:10.3109/10408363.2015.1084990.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
5 min read
An RD Answers: Is Prebiotic Soda Good For You?
Prebiotic sodas are popping up on grocery store shelves. But are they healthy? Here are the reasons why an RD thinks prebiotic soda is a good choice.
7 min read
Meet Your Microbiome: Get To Know the Healthy Bacteria in Your Gut
A healthy gut microbiota can help support your immune health, digestive health, and mental health. Here is everything you need to know about your microbiome.