Our Favorite Prebiotic Sodas
As any health and wellness junkie knows, probiotic drinks have been all the rage in recent years. From kombucha, kefir, drinkable yogurt and vegan shots, they promise a hearty dose of good bacteria and better digestion. And with gut health so closely linked to our overall immunity, it’s no wonder these functional beverages have soared in popularity.
But when it comes to hydration, you may have noticed that there’s a new kid on the block: sparkling prebiotic sodas. While these fizzy drinks are gaining more buzz by the day, you may still be wondering what the heck prebiotics are and what exactly they can do for you.
To get you up to date on the recent health and wellness trend, we’ll fill you in on their benefits and give you the download on some of the most popular prebiotic beverages. But first, let’s answer a very important question: What the heck are prebiotics?
Probiotics vs. Prebiotics: Let’s Sort the Whole Thing Out
Probiotics are vital when it comes to the health of our GI tract as well as our overall well-being. These living strains of healthy bacteria not only help you to break down food but also protect us from infection and stave off inflammation.
But these microscopic soldiers of wellness need something to feed on in order to thrive: prebiotics. Prebiotics are plant fibers that feed the good bacteria in your belly and stimulate their growth. To have a healthy stomach, you need a balance of both probiotics and prebiotics.
Which is why this new wave of sparkling waters has been gaining traction on supermarket shelves. Are they the only sources of prebiotics? Nope. Foods like bananas, oats, onions, chicory root, garlic and artichokes are just a few great sources of these specialized plant fibers.
But drinking your prebiotics does have its advantages. Let’s talk about why these beverages are more than fizz.
Why Drink My Prebiotics?
There are ways that drinking your prebiotics can boost your overall health. Here’s how:
Prebiotic Drinks Support Gut Health
As mentioned, prebiotic drinks contain plant fibers that the healthy bacteria in your gut need in order to thrive. And while our primary source of prebiotics should be through whole foods, even the most health-conscious among us may not eat perfectly every day.
Nutritionists emphasize that women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber every day, while men should consume about 38 grams per day. So if you’re having trouble reaching your target, a prebiotic drink can be a simple way of getting more fiber into your life.
Prebiotic Drinks Support Overall Hydration
Our bodies are composed of 60% water overall, which is why being well-hydrated is a crucial part of staying healthy. You need water to regulate your body temperature, keep your organs functioning properly, prevent infections and deliver nutrition to your cells.
And for you beauty fanatics out there, keep in mind that the collagen in your skin is also 60% water. And if you don’t get enough, those collagen fibers begin to break down, which leads to (oh no!) saggy skin.
Obviously, these are all great reasons why we should all be endlessly hydrating. But guzzling straight up H2O all day can be (let’s face it) boring. With an array of flavors from traditional root beer to exotic mango chili, a prebiotic drink will definitely up the fun factor when it comes to your water intake and could contribute to your overall sense of well-being.
Prebiotic Drinks Are Way Better Than Soda
And now, for one of the most obvious reasons. Prebiotic drinks kick regular sodas butt all over the place. Of course, that’s not very hard to do.
Traditional soft drinks are full of added sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavorings, colorings and artificial sweeteners. Not exactly the recipe for glowing health. And yet, these fizzy temptations can be hard to resist.
So if you have a soda habit you’re trying to kick, the clean ingredients and much lower sugar content of a prebiotic beverage could put you on the road to healthier hydration without taking out all the fizzy fun out of your life.
Of course, sugar content does vary between brands, with averages running between 2 to 9 grams. And yes, sugar is still sugar. But considering that a run of the mill cola contains 39 grams of sugar and around 140 calories per 12-oz can, we’re talking about a major cutback on the sweet stuff.
And that alone is a great reason to give prebiotics a try.
Popular and Emerging Prebiotic Drinks
Now that you know a little more about prebiotics, here’s the download on some popular brands and brands that are recently gaining steam in the marketplace.
Texas husband and wife duo Allison and Stephen Ellsworth created Poppi in their own kitchen while searching for a remedy for Allison’s symptoms from a chronic health issue. They experimented with an array of fruit juices combined with prebiotic apple cider vinegar. The result was a delicious drink that also cleared up Allison’s health symptoms.
Their experiment was so successful that it sold like hot cakes in their local farmer’s market and eventually landed them on Shark Tank, where their brand got a major revenue infusion and a truly “Poppi” makeover from Rohan Oza.
Each can of Poppi prebiotic soda contains a full teaspoon of ACV and is definitely taster than drinking the stuff straight up. And with a wide array of flavors and a maximum of 5 grams of sugar, these colorful cans have been popping off the shelf.
Why we like it: Contains ACV, made with fresh fruit juice, a variety of fun fruity flavors, low calorie, low sugar, non-GMO
Drawbacks: Contains stevia, which can be an issue for people that don’t like the flavor
Fiber Content: 2 grams
Sugar Content: 5 grams or less
Average calories: 15 to 20
Poppi Flavors Include:
Strawberry Lemon, Raspberry Rose, Blueberry, Ginger Lime, Orange, Watermelon, Classic Cola, Doc Pop, Root Beer, Grapefruit
Health fanatic and actress Zooey Deschanel is just one of the major fans of Olipop. Their healthy twist on classic soda flavors contains the prebiotic chicory root as well as fiber-packed ingredients like marshmallow root and cassava root fiber.
While the calorie count is slightly higher than OIipop, the sugar content is only between 2 to 5 grams. And the fiber content is a whopping 9 grams! With classic flavors like root beer, cherry vanilla and vintage cola, you can get your soda fix in without the added guilt.
Fiber Content: 9 grams
Sugar Content: 2 to 5 grams
Average calories: 35 to 45
Cherry Vanilla, Ginger Lemon, Vintage Cola, Classic Root Beer, Strawberry Vanilla, Orange Squeeze
Why we like it: Classic flavors, low sugar, fairly low calorie, great fiber content, non-GMO
Drawbacks: Contains stevia, high fiber content can lead to bloating if you drink too much
For those of you looking for a dose of prebiotics with no sugar or sweeteners, Gist may have just what you’re looking for. Founder Lizzy Haucke invented her healthy brews in her own farm kitchen during the pandemic.
Disappointed with supposedly clean and healthy beverages, Haucke told Food Beverage Insider that she decided to create an herbal prebiotic because “Digestion is a core element of self care that often gets overlooked. All of us are processing so much mentally, physically and emotionally every day – especially now after a pandemic year. So I was interested in finding an everyday way to enhance the body’s ability to digest.”
Currently, the brand only sells 3 flavors, and at 41.99 a 12-pack, they don’t come cheap. And the sugar-free herbal flavors definitely don’t try to imitate traditional sodas. But if you’re looking for a truly clean product with limited ingredients, these prebiotic drinks offer truly healthy sips.
Why we like it: Made from herbal botanicals, zero sugar content, low calorie.
Drawbacks: Limited flavors, pricey compared to other brands, the unsweetened taste may not be for everyone.
Fibre Content: 4 grams
Sugar Content: 0
Average calories: 20 to 25
Chamomile Rosemary, Ginger with Rooibos, Hibiscus with Lemon Balm
Health-Ade Pop (Formerly Known as Health-Ade Booch Pop)
Health-Ade wide was started by husband and wife team Daina and Justin Trout and their friend Vanessa Dew at their local farmer’s market. But their brand was destined for much bigger success. Their line of probiotics drinks soon expanded from its artisanal origins and became one of the most pòpular kombuchas in America.
Now, this gut-friendly company has expanded its product line to include prebiotic pop. Certified organic, their soda alternative is made with real juice and sweetened with a touch of cane sugar and monk fruit.
Fiber Content: 3 grams
Sugar Content: 5
Average calories: 30 to 35
Lemon Lime, Pomegranate Berry, Ginger Fizz
What we like about it: organic, non-GMO, low sugar, fairly low calorie, no stevia
Drawbacks: Limited flavors
Mayawell was co-founded by Vincent Reyes. After working with agave for 20 years in the mezcal industry, he decided to turn his attention to its health benefits. The result was a line of organic sodas that contain both agave and a prebiotic from the same plant called agavin (which has been shown to retain healthy gut bacteria).
Though sweetened with organic agave, these sodas only contain 4 grams of sugar, offer 5 grams of fiber and come in unique flavors like pear lime and raspberry cucumber.
Fiber Content: 5 grams
Sugar Content: 4 grams
Average calories: 35 to 40
Pineapple Mango, Pear Lime, Strawberry Ginger, Raspberry Cucumber
Why we like it: Interesting flavors, made with organic active agave, low sugar, fairly low calorie
Drawbacks: Made with agave, which may be an issue for some people, made with natural flavors but contains no actual fruit juice
De La Calle (which means “from the street”) produces a traditional Mexican brew called tepache. Tepache is a fermented, sparkling drink whose roots spring from the indigenous communities of Latin America. It can be made from corn or with fruits like pineapple, oranges, guavas or apples.
Although not tea-based like kombucha, because tepache is fermented, it has probiotic qualities. And added plus: it contains prebiotics too!
De La Calle’s organic line of tepache is made from organic pineapple and has both probiotic and prebiotic properties. However, we do have to mention that the 7 grams of sugar contained in each can include sugars from erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Although naturally derived and supposedly without side effects, health purists who want to avoid any type of sugar alcohol may want to try one of the other brands mentioned.
On the plus side, because De La Calle’s recipes are inspired by the traditions of Mexico, you’ll find truly exotic flavors like Mango Chili, Tamarind, Pineapple Spice and more.
Fiber Content: 2 grams
Sugar Content: 7 grams
Average calories: 35 to 40
Why we like it: Organic, low sugar, fairly low calorie, unique flavors, probiotic and prebiotic properties
Drawbacks: Contains the sugar alcohol erythritol
Organic Pineapple Spice, Organic Mango Chili, Organic Tamarind, Organic Ginger Manzana, Organic Orange Turmeric
Happy Tummy, Happy Life
The link between our gut and overall well-being has become more and more apparent in recent years. Not only does a healthy digestive system mean you can break down food more efficiently, but it also means less bloating, stronger immunity and increased energy.
There are also studies that indicate that gut and brain health are closely linked because of all the important messages that pass between these two systems. Messages that can get garbled when our gastrointestinal system is not working the way it should. In other words, your stomach can literally affect your mood!
To work properly, your gut needs a balance of probiotics (healthy live bacteria) and prebiotics, or the fiber that nourishes them. While we should focus on eating fermented foods, getting plenty of fiber from fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water to maintain that balance, the new wave of sparkling drinks offers a way to get some prebiotics into your life while hydrating at the same time.
While you don’t want to overdo it, these low-calorie and low-sugar drinks are a healthier soda substitute and could contribute to your overall sense of well-being when consumed in moderation. Test out a few variety packs on Amazon, and you’re sure to find something you love.
Remember, when your belly is happy, you will be too!
Best Prebiotic Sodas: