Growing up, there was a pretty strict "you're-having-milk-with-dinner" rule in my house, but there were certain special occasions where my parents let us have soda. To this day, I can't have a pizza night without craving a beverage that comes in a bright red can.
As a kid, I was also blissfully unaware of added sugar's effect on the body, specifically the gut. Research has shown that added sugar kills the good bacteria living in the gut. Now, one can of soda every now and then certainly isn't a big deal. As a health coach, I'm all about balance, and when a client tells me they like to have a can of Dr. Pepper every now and then (or a slice of cake, or cookies...), I say go for it.
But if you like to enjoy a soda every day, all that sugar could lead to a gut imbalance, which can lead to digestive woes and other health issues. (And BTW, you can't skirt the issue by turning to diet sodas with artificial sweeteners.)
When I first set out looking for a gut-healthy soda, everyone I asked directed me to kombucha. No shade to the fermented tea, but kombucha is certainly no soda. Sure, it's good for the gut and can be refreshing, but no one is going to confuse its taste. But in the past few years, new beverages that actually do taste a heck of a lot like traditional soda have started springing up in the wellness world. Friends, I've tried them all. (Tough job, right?) While many are delicious, there's one that satisfies a craving for soda while actively working to improve gut health: Olipop ($36 for a case of 12).
Olipop is a gut-healthy soda that's high in fiber, which is great for digestion; the nutrient clocks in at 9 grams per can and is sourced from a few different prebiotic sources, primarily chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke. It also has almost zero sugar. “At its core, Olipop is designed to increase everyone’s consumption of fiber and prebiotics through a nutritionally diverse mix of botanicals and plant extracts,” co-founder Ben Goodwin previously told me. "It’s also our goal to provide a low-sugar alternative to soda, through a taste profile that people love and are familiar with.”
Of course, no one is going to care how healthy it is if it doesn't taste good and I can tell you firsthand that Olipop does. The flavors include Vintage Cola, Classic Root Beer, Ginger Lemon, Orange Squeeze, Strawberry Vanilla, and Cherry Vanilla. So no matter what type of soda you're into, there's one you'll like.
Again, sometimes you just want a can of the soda you already know and love, and that's fine. But for people looking for a soda that delivers on fizziness, flavor, and is full of gut-health benefits, Olipop has become the one I recommend to clients as well as pop open myself.
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