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Poppi. The Prebiotic soda?

Poppi Soda’s have flooded the market claiming that they are a healthy soda alternative that also acts as a prebiotic. While apple cider vinegar does offer some digestion benefits, let's take a deeper look to see if this wonder Soda can back up its claim. Before we settle in, let's review some scientific research on prebiotics, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and possible nutrition marketing red flags that may be raised due to the prebiotic health claim of these delicious drinks.

Microbiota are microorganisms that live within the gastrointestinal tract. Don’t be alarmed though, these microorganisms are friendly. Microbiota aid digestion, assist the immune system and protect the mucosal layer within the intestines so that it can properly absorb nutrients and fight off pathogens.1 These microorganisms love to feed on what is called “microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs)” which are found in dietary fiber and in prebiotics.1 The most common prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and trans-galacto-oligosaccharides (TOS). 2 As the microbiota feeds on these prebiotic sources they are simultaneously fermenting them. This process creates products, such as short-chain fatty acids, that are very beneficial to the body.2

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Apples happen to be a great source of dietary fiber. As we have covered, dietary fiber is the microbiota's favorite source of food which means they will be happy to help the body. The question that remains however is “Is apple cider vinegar a source of prebiotics?”. According to research, apple cider vinegar contains no dietary fiber and the vinegar aspect actually makes ACV more of a probiotic if anything.3-4 Additionally, the acidic vinegar may not be acidic enough to make a difference in an already very acidic stomach environment. Most probiotic sources, that are acidic, are offered in a capsule so that they can get past the acidic stomach environment and actually have an affect on the intestines.

Nutrition marketing red flags to consider in general is if the product being marketed is sold based on a health claim, does the health claim sounds too good to be true and does the health claim make a dramatic statement backed by little scientific evidence?5 Another way to be aware of faulty health claims is by looking at the language used. As you dig deeper into the Poppi website you will notice that their language of health claim switches to “may aid digestion”. This statement alone tells me that there is no strong scientific proof that this drink offers prebiotic benefits. To support their claims, Poppi Sodas should work with a team of food scientists and dietitians to meet the mark of a prebiotic drink. Additionally, the soda company could use the faces of this team as a marketing strategy to show that the claims they are making about this drink are dietitian-approved.

If you are looking for a healthier soda alternative by all means go for the poppi soda! Not only are they low in sugar and made with healthier ingredients, but they also taste great! Do be careful though when reaching for products that are being sold based off of a health claim. Remember to ask yourself about possible nutrition marketing red flags that may fool you as the consumer.


Link to Poppi Soda Website:

  1. Thursby E, Juge N. Introduction to the human gut microbiota. Biochem J. 2017;474(11):1823-1836. Published 2017 May 16. doi:10.1042/BCJ20160510

  2. Davani-Davari D, Negahdaripour M, Karimzadeh I, Seifan M, Mohkam M, Masoumi SJ, Berenjian A, Ghasemi Y. Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Foods. 2019; 8(3):92.

  3. Zakariaa F, Mokhtarb SI. Comparisons of the proximate values, mineral elements, and heavy metals contents in three local fruits vinegars with the apple cider vinegar. International Conference of Food Innovations. 2014. Published 2014. Accessed September 15, 2023.

  4. The microbiome. The Nutrition Source Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed September 15, 2023.,survive%20in%20this%20acidic%20environment.

  5. Ayoob K-T, Duyff RL, Quagliani D. Position of the American dietetic association. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102(2):260-266. doi:10.1016/s0002-8223(02)90062-3

  6. Photo: Be gut happy, be gut healthy. Poppi Soda. Accessed September 15, 2023.


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