Poppi Soda Review: Can Soda Be Healthy?

Poppi Soda Review: Can Soda Be Healthy?


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Poppi is a prebiotic soda that’s marketed as a healthier alternative to regular soda. The brand describes their products as “Bubbles With Benefits” and claims that apple cider vinegar (ACV) which is included in their sodas has benefits to gut health and digestion, as well as “immunity support.” 

But does Poppi actually contain research-backed ingredients for improving health or are these just marketing claims? Is it really healthier than regular soda like Pepsi? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the health effects and taste of Poppi soda?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Poppi based on medical studies to give our take on whether the brand is actually healthy or if it’s a waste of money. 

Ingredient Analysis – Is Poppi Healthy?

Poppi Orange ingredients

The ingredients in the Orange flavor of Poppi are shown above.

The good news is that most of the ingredients are naturally-derived.

Orange juice and lemon juice are used to create the tart flavor and color of the drink, and are much healthier than the artificial colorants used in commercial soda brands.

Orange juice was shown to have favorable effects on cholesterol levels in a meta-study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, but Poppi is under 10% juice so we don’t expect it to have any specific health effects.

ACV is the health-promoting ingredient that Poppi highlights in much of their marketing, and the brand is correct that this ingredient has documented health benefits.

As we documented in our Goli reviews article on the most popular ACV supplement brand, ACV is shown to cause weight loss in overweight individuals and support optimal immune system health. However, the minimum effective daily ACV dose based on clinical studies appears to be around 15 milliliters (mL), and the ACV dose in Poppi is not published on the Nutrition Facts label.

Thus, we cannot determine whether or not Poppi has an effective dose of ACV for health benefits.

Organic agave inulin is the prebiotic ingredient that allows Poppi to market itself as a prebiotic soda, however the soda only provides 2 grams (g) of dietary fiber which isn’t particularly impressive.

While Poppi contains some whole food, health-promoting ingredients, it also contains two ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.

Added sugar was shown in a 2019 medical review to be associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes when consumed in excess. 

The 4 g of added sugar in this Poppi flavor is relatively low, but we consider sugar from fruits to be a healthier option than refined cane sugar.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical descriptor that fails to document the specific flavoring agents used. A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests that some natural flavoring compounds and their metabolites may be toxic to humans.

Overall we consider Poppi a relatively healthy option, although we don’t currently recommend it due to the two additive ingredients referenced above. 

It’s worth noting that most Poppi flavors are caffeine-free. The only Poppi flavor that contains caffeine is the “Doc Pop” flavor, and it only contains 32 milligrams (mg), equivalent to around one-third of a cup of coffee.

But is Poppi healthier than commercial sodas? We’ll review in the next section.

Is Poppi Healthier Than Regular Soda?

Pepsi ingredients

The ingredients in the original version of Pepsi are shown above.

There are no ingredients in this formulation that we consider healthy (other than the water which is used as a base), and plenty of questionable additives.

High fructose corn syrup intake is associated with obesity according to a 2010 medical review, and this is a highly processed ingredient that’s low in nutritional value.

Phosphoric acid is a flavoring ingredient that may negatively impact bone health, as we referenced in our research review on is Coke Zero bad for you.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer shown to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals in a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Pepsi also contains 41 g of added sugar, or more than 10x the amount in Poppi.

Overall, we consider Poppi to be significantly healthier than Pepsi and all commercial soda brands.

But how do real users rate and describe the health effects and taste of Poppi? We’ll review in the next section.

We Tried Poppi – Our Take

Poppi UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to purchase a Poppi drink and try it for myself to share my thoughts on its taste and effects.

I bought a can of the Doc Pop flavor to have with a dinner that consisted of grass-fed beef with onions, avocados and fresh-baked rosemary bread. Since the meal was savory, I figured a sweet soda would taste good with it.

I was sorely mistaken. This is the worst-tasting soda brand I've ever come across, and this flavor tasted like Tylenol seltzer.

The label claims it contains caffeine, but I did not notice any increased energy, which is unsurprising given that the dose is likely low.

I feel like this drink is a net negative for my health given that it contains more than twice as much refined sugar as it does fiber.

I would not even consider purchasing this again, and would rate this soda 3/10.

Where to Buy Poppi for the Best Price

Poppi is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown for a 12-pack of Poppi Orange at the time of publishing this article:

Walmart: $44.27

Target: $29.88 (in-store only)

Vitacost: $27.99 (plus shipping)

Amazon: $28.66 (free shipping  link to official Amazon listing)

When factoring in shipping fees, Amazon currently has the best prices on Poppi sodas, and the Amazon listings are featured on the Poppi website which further suggests that this is the best site to buy from.

Real People Try Poppi

A YouTube creator named “ChipsAndCaseo” did a taste test of all Poppi soda flavors:

A TikTok creator named “Mo Moneyy” claims that Poppi can be part of a healthy weight loss plan:

@momoneyy333 poppi is a good soda replacement! #fypdoesntwork #whatieatinadayweightloss #weightlossjouney #caloriedeficit #DoTheJuJu #ShareTheMagic ♬ Her Way - PARTYNEXTDOOR

Poppi vs. Olipop

Olipop is another healthy soda brand, so consumers are often curious about which is a better option.

The ingredients in the Orange Squeeze flavor of Olipop are shown below:

Olipop Orange Squeeze ingredients

Cassava root syrup is used as the sweetener rather than refined sugar, but we don’t consider it any healthier given that it’s still categorized as an added sugar, and a 2010 clinical trial found that high-fructose corn syrup can be derived from cassava, suggesting this is a relatively “processed” ingredient.

Olipop’s drink contains more botanical ingredients, some of which have documented health benefits.

Mandarin juice is a potent, natural antioxidant according to a 2008 clinical trial.

Slippery elm bark is clinically shown to support optimal gut health, as we documented in our Gut Connect 365 reviews article on another health brand containing this ingredient.

Olipop is also free of natural flavors, and contains significantly more juice (13% vs. 7%).

We consider Olipop to be slightly healthier than Poppi due to its lack of flavoring additives and broader botanical ingredient variety.

Olipop is also around 50% more expensive, currently costing $35.99 for a 12-pack.

Interested consumers can check out Olipop Orange Squeeze at this link to the brand’s official Amazon listing.

Real Customers Review Poppi

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion.

Poppi has been reviewed over 21,000 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named “REAPERS” who gave the product a 5-star rating, and claims to love the taste and effects but dislikes how the soda cans arrive damaged:

“I absolutely love these drinks, how they taste and make me feel! My only thing is I am super surprised that non of them burst open this time, a lot of them had dents in them and a few of them barely sit upright because the tent was so bad. I don’t mind paying the price for these because they help me but they are too expensive to come looking like this.”

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Michelle Bell” who gave the product a 1-star rating and claims the brand changed their formula and now the product tastes worse:

“Poppi never tasted like this before. We opened another flavor and the same thing. I thought maybe we got a bad batch but then we noticed the cans were different. The can label used to be a plastic wrap around it now it is printed on. I turned it around to see the ingredients and there was my answer. You have completely changed the formula. Reducing the amount of actual juice in it and upping the amount of sugar cane and stevia. You’ve even added tartaric acid and vegetable juice for color. I am So disappointed and won’t be buying anymore.”

Most of the negative reviews we came across on Amazon were complaining about the new formulation.

Certified Nutritionist Reviews Poppi

A nutritionist and YouTube creator with a channel called “Health-vilicious” reviewed the nutrition of Poppi:

Our Healthy Soda Pick

Olipop is our healthy soda pick.  

This natural soda uses no flavoring additives or refined sugar, and is instead flavored with nutritionally-rich botanical ingredients like mandarin juice (which is clinically shown to be a potent antioxidant), nopal cactus and calendula flower.

The cans have only 2 to 5 g of added sugar from natural sources like cassava root syrup and apple juice.

MBG Organic Fiber Potency+ is our top prebiotic fiber pick because it's certified organic, provides 7 g of fiber per serving and costs under $1.85 per serving at the time of updating this article.

MBG Organic Fiber Potency+ contains 100% soluble fiber, which was described as "one of the most important nutrients for the gut microbiota" in a clinical review published in the Molecules journal.

Pros and Cons of Poppi Soda

Here are the pros and cons of Poppi as a brand in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Healthier than commercial soda
  • Low-calorie
  • Low in added sugar
  • Contains healthy ingredients like ACV 
  • Favorable online customer reviews
  • Cheaper than other healthy soda brands

Cons:

  • Contains flavoring agents
  • Contains added, refined sugar
  • ACV dose isn’t published
  • Doesn’t appear clinically tested for any health effects
  • Worse than Olipop nutritionally (in our opinion)
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Poppi soda is definitely a healthier option than commercial soda brands like Pepsi and Coke in our opinion. The drinks are primarily made from carbonated water, fruit, fiber and ACV.

A consumer who swaps out all of their soda consumption with Poppi may notice positive health effects.

We don’t currently recommend Poppi because it contains natural flavors and added sugar. However, we don’t believe it’s likely to be acutely harmful and we wouldn’t even categorize it as “unhealthy.”

Olipop is another healthy soda brand with a slightly superior formulation from a nutritional perspective, but also costs around 50% more than Poppi.

At the time of publishing this article, Amazon has the best prices on Poppi soda.

We hope that in the future, Poppi publishes the ACV dose in their drinks on the Nutrition Facts label, because this would be helpful for consumers (and researchers like us) to determine if it’s an effective dose for weight loss and immune system support.