Poppi is accused of making misleading health claims in a new lawsuit. Here’s what experts say about prebiotic soda.

Poppi, the popular prebiotic soda brand that has gained celebrity endorsements and appeared on notable platforms like Shark Tank and the 2024 Super Bowl, is facing a new class-action lawsuit. According to Business Insider, the lawsuit, filed recently, alleges that the beverage brand has made misleading claims regarding its impact on gut health.

The lawsuit argues that in order to experience any potential health benefits from Poppi’s prebiotic fiber, a consumer would need to consume more than four sodas in a day. However, even if someone were to do so, the high sugar content in Poppi would likely negate most, if not all, of the supposed gut health advantages.

Yahoo Life initially covered Poppi after the brand aired a commercial during the Super Bowl in February 2024. In this article, we will explore prebiotic soda and the health claims associated with it, as experts have shared their insights with us.
In February 2024, Poppi made its debut during the Super Bowl with a commercial titled “The Future of Soda Is Now.” The ad aims to change people’s perception of soda, stating that it will be the last time they consider it a negative or unhealthy choice. A woman’s voiceover declares this as shots of attractive individuals enjoying cans of Poppi fill the screen.

The commercial also highlights the brand’s focus on “clean ingredients” and prebiotics, which serve as a nourishing source for the gut’s beneficial bacteria. It emphasizes that each can contains a maximum of 5 grams of sugar and 25 calories. The ad boldly states that Poppi will be the soda that future generations, including kids and grandkids, associate with the concept of soda. It proclaims Poppi as the next chapter in the soda story.
Despite the claims made in Super Bowl ads, it’s important to remember that soda is still a beverage that has been linked to health issues like obesity and type 2 diabetes. So, is it actually healthy to drink a prebiotic soda, whether it’s from Poppi or a competing brand like Olipop? We asked nutritionists to weigh in.

What exactly does a prebiotic soda do? While each brand may have its own unique formula, the overall goal is to support gut health by providing dietary fiber that acts as food for beneficial gut bacteria. “Prebiotic sodas are designed to nourish and promote the growth of healthy microbiota in the digestive system,” explains Gina Keatley, a nutritionist and co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
Drinking a prebiotic soda is not necessary, according to nutritionists. While a healthy and diverse gut microbiome is important for digestion, immune system support, and potentially even mood and mental well-being, there are other sources of prebiotics that can be obtained from foods such as onions, garlic, whole grains, bananas, greens, soybeans, and artichokes. Consuming extra fiber from a prebiotic soda is not harmful, especially since many Americans do not consume enough fiber in their diets. However, it is not necessary to rely on a soda for these health benefits.
According to experts, prebiotic sodas may be healthier than regular sodas, but they are not necessary in your daily life. Additionally, it is unclear how much prebiotic content these sodas actually contain.

One example of a prebiotic soda, Poppi, includes the following ingredients: sparkling water, organic cane sugar, apple juice (concentrate), fruit juice color, organic apple cider vinegar, organic agave inulin, natural flavors, stevia, natural tartaric acid, and green tea caffeine. Deborah Cohen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and associate professor at Rutgers University, explains that a major concern is that the product does not list specific amounts for each ingredient. In the United States, it is standard practice for packaged foods to list ingredients in descending order of quantity, with the first ingredient being the most abundant.
According to the expert, apple juice, organic cane sugar, and apple cider vinegar do not qualify as prebiotics. She adds that the amounts of these fruit juices in the sodas are most likely insignificant due to their low calorie content. Inulin, which is considered a prebiotic, is present in Poppi, but it is listed further down on the ingredient list, suggesting that it is present in negligible amounts. Therefore, this product cannot be considered a good source of prebiotics.

However, if you regularly consume soda, switching to prebiotic soda could be a good alternative. Compared to regular soda, prebiotic sodas contain fiber and only 5 grams of sugar, whereas a regular can of soda lacks fiber and contains upwards of 40 grams of sugar.

Although prebiotic sodas are a nice option for those seeking a healthier soda alternative, the expert emphasizes that they are not essential. In fact, she suggests that they should not be consumed on a daily basis, as they are still sodas.
According to Keatley, it is incorrect to label these beverages as healthy sodas. She explains that using the term “healthy” is too vague and lacks specificity. She believes we should question who benefits from these drinks and in what circumstances.

Cohen shares a similar opinion, stating that referring to prebiotic sodas as healthy is deceptive. She describes these products as essentially being sugary water.