Is Olipop healthy? How about the other alternative sodas?

I was in Target. C’mon – aren’t we all at least on a monthly basis?!

Anyways, while there, I showed an Instagram Story of Poppi and said, “Target should carry Pop Cultured instead of Poppi.”

And boom – just like that, I got alllllllllll the private messages with a simple,

….but why? Can you share more about why?

So, while I had no intentions of writing today or digging into my research and then subsequently sharing thoughts with you, I must.

Because I’m a HUGE fan of Culture Soda Pop, and not such a fan of Olipop and/or Poppi.

Note: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT SPONSORED. I have never, ever worked with any soda pop company nor have I been paid a dime to say anything. This is truly based off trial-and-error and personal opinion plus factual information taken directly from each of the companies nutritional labels.

Is OLIPOP Healthy (+ alternatives for your gut)

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Is OLIPOP Healthy (+ alternatives for your gut)

First, let me just answer the question as a whole,

Is Olipop healthy?

Well, the first thing we have to understand is that “healthy” is subjective. 

Some people think that meat is healthy. And others think it’s borderline devilish and the only “healthy” options are plant-based foods.

Or how about the idea that some believe having regular sodas are healthier than these alternative sodas because the sugar is “real” (aka nonnutritive)?

Furthermore, some even have strong convictions that diet soda is healthy and traditional sodas are not.

So could I actually tell you what’s healthy and what’s not and have you agree? Maybe. Likely not.

For the record, my stance: meat, some – not all, is healthy, a junk food Vegan diet is not healthy, diet sodas are no better than a regular soda counterpart (actually I think they are worse), and when it comes to sugar, “real sugar” is definitely not better than zero sugar.

Okay, so if we are clear on all of that, let’s move forward.

Comparison Between 3 “Healthier Alternative” Sodas

Because I have had all 3 of the below alternative soda drinks, I wanted to do a comparison for you.

Alternative soda Comparison Instagram Post (Pinterest Pin)

What is OLIPOP (according to OLIPOP)

OLIPOP is ‘A New Kind of Soda,’ which they have trademarked. 

Some things they say….

  1. Healthy meets delicious
  2. Founded by Ben Goodwin and David Lester
  3. Thoughtfully crafted tonic that found its taste in wholesome, hardworking ingredients instead of spoonfuls of sugar
  4. They have a global team of leading human gut microbiome research pioneers with diverse expertise spanning digestive health, prebiotic structures, model gut systems and gut microbiome-supportive nutritional strategies.

What’s in a Can of Olipop

For reference, I’m using their Classic Root Beer as an example.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, OLISMART (Cassava Root Fiber, Chicory Root Inulin, Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin, Nopal Cactus*, Marshmallow Root*, Calendula Flower*, Kudzu Root*), Cassava Root Syrup, Apple Juice Concentrate, Natural Root Beer Flavor, Lemon Juice, Burdock Root*, Stevia Leaf*, Himalayan Pink Salt, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Sweet Birch* *Extract

Olipop Sodas Health Benefits / Highlights

  • Nutritional value: 0g fat, 25mg sodium, 16g carbohydrates (9g of which are dietary fiber), 2 grams of sugar (2g added sugar), and 35 calories
  • 9g of fiber from sources like cassava, and both chicory root inulin and artichoke inulin (both are a type of fiber beneficial for gut health)
  • Stevia vs other sugars
  • lemon juice
  • Dietary labels conducive for various health concerns: Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, GMO Free

What is Culture Pop Soda (according to Culture Pop Soda)

​Culture Pop Soda is a tasty twist on familiar flavors.

Some things they say….

  1. Made with probiotics (“get more gutsy” — yes, they actually say this)
  2. We’ve reinvented soda by crafting unique & delicious combinations of honest ingredients with live probiotics to aid a healthy gut!
  3. Founded by Tom First
  4. A refreshing soda that makes you feel good

What’s in a Can of Culture Pop Soda

For reference, I’m using their Wild Berries & Lime (my personal fave!) as an example.

Ingredients: Carbonated Filtered Water, Organic Juice Blend from Concentrate (White Grape, Blackberry, Blueberry, Lime), Natural Flavors, Malic Acid, Organic Pink Peppercorn, Organic Basil, Sea Salt, Live Probiotic (Bacillus Subtilis)

Culture Pop Soda Health Benefits / Highlights

  • Nutritional value: 0g fat, 45mg sodium, 10g carbohydrates, 8 grams of sugar (0g added sugar), and 45 calories
  • No Stevia, monk fruit or other “healthy alternative” sugars
  • Peppercorn + Basil
  • Live Probiotic for a healthy gut microbiome (Bacillus Subtilis)
  • Dietary labels: Vegan, No Stevia, No Added Sugars, Non-GMO, Kosher

What is Poppi (according to Poppi)

Poppi reminds us that, “it’s time to love soda again.”

Some things they say….

  1. Get all the soda feels with 5g sugar and 25 calories, or less, and prebiotics for your gut.
  2. Founded by husband-and-wife duo Stephen and Allison Ellsworth
  3. Received an investment from Shark Tank, and have celebrity backing from people like like Hailey Bieber, Kylie Jenner, and Billie Eilish
  4. They remind us that, “Cravings aren’t a crime.”

What’s in a Can of Poppi

For reference, I’m using their Orange as an example.

Ingredients: Sparkling Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Orange Juice*, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Agave Inulin, Natural Flavors, Lemon Juice*, Stevia. *Concentrate

Poppi Health Benefits / Highlights

  • Nutritional value: 0g fat, 0mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar (4g added sugar), and zero calories (or none that are the label because it’s fewer than 25)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Stevia not regular sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Inulin (= prebiotic fibers)

Sources: OLIPOPCulture Pop SodaPoppi

WHICH ONE is actually the Better Alternative?

ANY ONE of these three options are a better alternative to other soft drinks and a general can of soda. 

Yes, I do believe this is true. And honestly, I prefer to live without fear of having anything “alternative.” In my early days, I’d follow diets like Whole30 and believe that I couldn’t even make my own “healthier alternative” pancake because it was still a pancake.


It will only set you up to fail, and it can likely even make you worse off because you’ll still have cravings and ultimately end up choosing all or nothing; neither of which is conducive for long-term digestive system healing.

So then, why did I say that I personally choose Culture Soda Pop?

Here’s why:

  1. Remember, I have tasted all three and prefer the taste of Culture Soda Pop over the other two. And if I had to guess why I’d probably say it’s because there are NO artificial sweeteners in it. If given the chance, I ALWAYS choose monkfruit over Stevia because I’m not a fan of the Stevia aftertaste. In fact, the ONLY product I’ve found to date that I cannot taste the Stevia in is LMNT, which I religiously consume because for me, the health benefits outweigh the Stevia.
  2. Furthermore, while LMNT has THIS great article about Stevia and it’s benefits (all of which I believe to be true), because I have meticulously food journaled over the years, I have found that Stevia flares my acne. You may or may not relate to this.
  3. Someone reached out to me and said she didn’t understand why, after consuming Poppi, she bloated so badly. Well, Poppi, like OLIPOP contains extra plant fiber by way of Inulin. And Inulin is a type of fiber, a soluble prebiotic fiber. It is also a polysaccharide, along with a fructan, oligofructose-carbohydrate. For MANY in the gut HEALING (not health) category, THIS could absolutely make you bloated. If you want to learn all about Inulin I wrote an article about it which you can read HERE. Depending on where you’re at on your journey, the prebiotic sodas, while they are in fact health beneficial for overall gut microbiota, might not work for you right now.

But also….

It’s true that all 3 of these alternative sodas, while they do contain natural ingredients, they also use the natural flavors. Some don’t want to see this term at all when they are reading a nutritional label for gut health.

I’m always skeptical when I see it (read “Natural Flavoring“), but also I am not saying that all products with the words “natural flavoring” on them are bad. And I would know, too, because I worked with many natural food companies who do use natural flavors (and can tell you almost exactly what those natural flavors consist of). 

Would I LOVE to see Target carry Culture Soda Pop? 100%.

But do I think YOU might enjoy the other two as a healthier way to soda without bloat? Also 100%. For the record, because Culture Pop Soda has probiotics in it, this could also make some of you bloat. I’m not blind to that.

Try them all – let your own body and taste buds tell you what is best for YOU!

If you need help, get a copy of Ahara Dinacharya, my gut healing journaling system to help direct your decisions.

If you liked this post you might also enjoy:

  1. Interesting Facts About the Immune System {Plus 13 Science Backed Ways to Boost Your Immune System}
  2. Gut Bloat Detox (A Gutsy Girl’s system to banish bloat!)
  3. Gut Bacteria Die Off Symptoms


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