Olipop Review: Healthiest Soda Brand?

Olipop Review: Healthiest Soda Brand?


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Olipop is a healthy soda brand, and arguably the most popular of this emerging category of drinks. The company describes itself as “A New Kind Of Soda,” and claims their product line is “Healthy Meets Delicious.”

But is Olipop actually healthier than regular soda? What ingredients are in Olipop and how can the drinks be healthy and so sweet? Does Olipop contain any questionable additives? And which retailer sells this brand for the best price?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Olipop based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not this brand is actually a healthy option.

We’ll compare the healthiness of Olipop to regular soda, feature unsponsored customer reviews, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Olipop for the best price.

Ingredient Analysis

Olipop Lemon Lime ingredients

The ingredients in the Lemon Lime flavor of Olipop are shown above.

OLISMART is a proprietary fiber blend containing natural ingredients like nopal cactus and cassava root fiber.

This flavor of Olipop provides 9 grams (g) of fiber, which is 32% of the Daily Value (DV) and is a significant amount. 

Only 5% of Americans consume enough fiber according to a medical review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, and high fiber intake is associated with optimal gut function and reduced risk of obesity.

Calendula flower is one of the ingredients in OLISMART, and this plant was shown to possess “antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties” in a 2013 medical review.

We’re impressed by the fact that Olipop uses entirely natural, nutritious sweeteners like apple juice concentrate and key lime juice concentrate as opposed to white sugar.

As we documented in our Poppi Soda reviews article, refined sugar intake is clinically shown to be associated with a range of negative health outcomes like obesity and cardiovascular disease, so we believe fruit juice and concentrate is a much healthier choice.

There is only one ingredient in this flavor of Olipop that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Natural key lime flavor falls into the category of food additives called natural flavors, and a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests that some flavoring additives may have negative health effects.

A few Olipop flavors have caffeine (the soda-flavored drinks, not the fruit-flavored drinks), but no more than 50 milligrams (mg), which is similar to a strong brew of green tea, and is unlikely to cause jitters in anyone who's not extremely caffeine sensitive.

Overall, we consider Olipop to be a healthy choice and to likely be a net positive to the diet of most Americans (when consumed in moderation).

We Tried Olipop – Our Take

Olipop UGC

 

As the author of this article, I wanted to purchase and try Olipop myself to share my thoughts on its taste and healthiness.

I bought the Ginger Lemon soda from my local Whole Foods, because gingerale was my favorite type of soda as a kid.

This is the best-tasting "healthy" soda that I've tried by far. It actually tasted better than regular Gingerale to me, with a more unique flavor profile than just pure sugar.

The ginger tastes like real ginger (because it is) and you can taste the lemon juice as well. I was really impressed with how sweet and tasty this drink was with only a few grams of added sugar.

I would consider buying this occasionally if I have a sweet tooth, because it pairs really well with salty food.

I didn't personally notice any gut/digestive effects, but I don't have any digestive issues and it would probably take weeks or months of use to notice potential benefits from the prebiotic ingredients.

Overall, I'd rate Olipop an 8/10.

Olipop vs. Regular Soda

Starry Soda ingredients

Olipop is a much healthier choice than regular soda in our opinion.

To illustrate why, look at the ingredient list above from Starry Soda, a soda brand recently launched by Pepsi.

High fructose corn syrup may be even more damaging in regard to risk for obesity and other negative health outcomes than table sugar, according to clinical research.

Potassium benzoate is a preservative that was shown to damage DNA in a 2011 clinical trial.

The above-linked study was a test tube study rather than one on human participants, which is a weaker standard of evidence, but the results are still notable in our opinion.

Olipop is entirely preservative-free, processed-sugar-free and free of citric acid. This makes Olipop a much better choice for consumers who are searching for a soda brand.

Real People Try Olipop

A YouTube creator named “Yucking” has a video testing every Olipop flavor:

A YouTube creator named Nick DiRamio tried several flavors of Olipop as part of a “Trying Instagram Products” series, in a video with over 30,000 views:

Where to Buy Olipop for the Best Price

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

Brand website: $35.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $37.95 (free shipping, link to Amazon listing)

Walmart: $36.98 (free shipping, link to official Walmart listing)

At the time of publishing this article, Olipop is around 5% cheaper on Walmart than on the brand's website when factoring in shipping fees.

The Story Behind the Brand

A CNBC Make It profile of Olipop has over 140,000 views and shows how the company grew to make over $20 million per month in five years:

Real Customers Review Olipop

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

The Sampler 12-pack has been reviewed over 1,400 times on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Helen" who gives the product a 4/5 star rating, and likes the taste of most of the flavors:

"This variety pack enabled me to find that out! I think the root beer and classic cola taste exactly like the regular sodas. My overall favorite is the orange squeeze with the strawberry vanilla as a runner up!"

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Pete" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating and claims to have experienced side effects:

"Love the taste and lower sugar content so much that I have enjoyed a variety of Olipop flavors on numerous occasions over a five month period . Sadly I have come to the conclusion it gives me a significantly headache. No idea why. I even experimented with drinking it when already hydrated to see if that helped but no luck."

Pros and Cons of Olipop

Here are the pros and cons of Olipop in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Much healthier than regular soda
  • Sweetened with fruit juice
  • No preservatives
  • High in fiber
  • Low in added sugar
  • May support optimal gut health

Cons:

  • Contains natural flavors
  • More expensive than regular soda
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Olipop is the healthiest soda brand we’ve reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.

The brand uses whole food ingredients like fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate as sweeteners rather than refined sugar, and each can only has a few grams of sugar.

There are no preservatives or artificial flavors in Olipop, making the brand a much healthier option than regular soda like Starry Soda or Coke in our opinion.

For consumers intent on purchasing soda, we would recommend Olipop over all other options.

However, these drinks do contain natural flavors, which is an ingredient that health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid. We hope that in the future Olipop removes natural flavors from their ingredient list.