Are prebiotic sodas good for your health?

Once upon a time, the cola wars were just Coke vs. Pepsi. These days, however, store fridges are full of cans that claim to be a healthy answer to your soda cravings.

Some of the newest offerings are prebiotic sodas, so-called “functional” drinks that combine carbonation with plant-based carbohydrates that have been linked to gut health and increased immunity, among other benefits.

A report published in July 2021 a Food and Beverage Insider stated that “widespread growth is predicted” in the prebiotic drink market, and the variety of fun, colorfully packaged brands such as Poppi, Olipop and Health-Ade seem to prove the prediction correct. But are these sodas really better for you? Nutrition experts discuss what the research shows and what to know before you buy.

What exactly are prebiotic sodas?

“As public attention to the importance of a healthy gut continues to grow, companies have also begun to fortify prebiotics in various beverages, breakfast cereals or snacks,” says Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University.