The Truth About "Healthy" Sodas

The Truth About "Healthy" Sodas

If you’re in the wellness world, you may have heard the latest buzz on Poppi. For those of you who do not know, Poppi is a wellness brand based in Texas that produces a “healthier” alternative to soda

This trendy prebiotic soda brand is currently facing a lawsuit over some questionable health claims. 

As someone who cares deeply about what goes into my body—and yours—I felt it was important to address this and emphasize why transparency is key.

The Poppi Lawsuit - Has Poppi Popped? 

Kristin Cobbs, a California woman, has filed a class action lawsuit against VNGR Beverage. She claims, “A consumer would have to drink more than four Poppi sodas in a day to realize any health benefit.” [1] The suit also claims that the high amount of sugar would offset any benefit and I am in full agreement with this statement.

With a whopping two grams of prebiotic fiber per can, these claims currently have the company under fire by health and wellness aficionados nationwide, and for good reason. 

This current case is a reminder to always read the fine print and do your research because not every brand has your best interest in mind...including the “healthy” brands. 

My Views on "Functional" Soda as a Holistic Nutritionist 

Marketing tactics can be tricky, but in my experience as a holistic nutritionist for 20 years, one thing I’ve learned is that the ingredient label never lies. 

Let’s dive into the ingredients of this popular drink:

Sparkling water, Organic Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Organic Agave Inulin, Apple Cider Vinegar, Apple Juice*, Stevia, Natural Tartaric Acid, Natural Caffeine. *Concentrate 

These ingredients are anything but good for you (or your gut).

Problematic Ingredients Found in Pop-ular “Healthy Sodas”

Are these “healthy sodas” better than your average soda brand? Yes. 

While they do have less sugar than a traditional cup of pop at 33g per serving, they still contain a decent amount of refined sugar and should not be consumed in excess, especially if you want a healthier gut. 

Let’s dissect the ingredients I find to be problematic and why I teach my clients to avoid them as a first step-basis to living an overall healthy lifestyle. 

Natural Flavors

Natural flavors are an ingredient that I will always tell my clients to avoid. The reason is that “natural flavors” are not so “natural” and the term is quite vague. 

Natural flavors are defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as substances derived from natural sources such as fruit, vegetables, spices, herbs, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products (you can see how problematic this is if you’re vegan or vegetarian). 

These flavors are obtained through processes like heating, roasting, or enzymolysis, and are used primarily for flavoring rather than nutritional purposes. Despite their natural origin, the extraction and processing methods can involve a variety of chemicals, making them not as "natural" as the term suggests.

The kicker here is that manufacturers are allowed to include a wide range of substances without disclosing specific ingredients on the label, leading to potential allergen exposure and health concerns. Some of those ingredients are known for disrupting your gut microbiome. 

When you see natural flavors on a label, there’s no way to know exactly what is in the product, because manufacturers do not have to list specific ingredients. Thousands of ingredients fall under the guise of “natural flavors” which should alarm anyone. 

Cane Sugar

While cane sugar is better than high-fructose corn syrup, I also tell my clients to avoid this ingredient. 

Refined white sugar is highly processed. It is harvested, heated at high temperatures, and doused in chemicals like bleach during its processing. The refining process virtually strips the once-natural sugar cane of any of its nutrients. 

This leaves behind empty calories and a boatload of health concerns to follow like inflammation, gut health issues, weight gain, high blood sugar, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even sugar addiction. 

Due to the lack of nutrients, rapid blood sugar spikes after ingesting sugar are known to cause highs and lows in blood sugar levels and energy crashes that cause cravings that keep you stuck in very unhealthy eating patterns.

Adding processed sugar to a “gut-healthy” drink is simply counterintuitive. The sugar you consume should always be from raw fruits, raw honey, or pure maple syrup. 

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are another offender on my “stay-away” list. And because I believe in the power of whole food ingredients, artificial ingredients will never make the cut. 

These sweeteners are often marketed as a guilt-free, low-calorie way to enjoy the sweetness. But what they don't tell you is that they come with a host of hidden dangers that are worth considering.

Artificial sweeteners are well… artificial (hence the name). These chemical concoctions are highly processed and can disrupt your gut microbiome and your metabolism. Many have also been shown to be carcinogenic in animal testing. Ironically these artificial sweeteners lead to cravings, weight gain, upset stomach, and more. 

Fibbing About Fiber

My biggest issue, as someone who values integrity, is the bold claims of prebiotic fiber in Poppi marketing. 

Each serving has only two grams of fiber, which means that you would have to drink many cans to get in enough fiber to promote gut health, which means that you’ll also be drinking many can’s worth of natural flavors, sugars, and artificial ingredients. 

At Raw Generation, we take these types of claims very seriously. 

Get Fiber From Whole Foods

The best way to get your daily intake of prebiotic fiber is through whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. 

That’s why I developed the Higher Fiber* Gut Reset. This pack makes is an easy and delicious way to get clean prebiotic fiber every day. 

There are 5-7 grams of fiber in each bottle from real ingredients like oranges, clementines, pineapple, mangoes, cashews, almonds, and peanuts. This is nearly double the amount of common fiber supplements on the market.

Get a healthier, happier gut naturally. No junk ingredients are necessary. 

Get Higher Fiber Now



  1. Poppi Sodas ' Are Basically Sugared Water' Due to Low Prebiotic Fiber Content, Lawsuit Says

Featured Products

Higher Fiber* Gut Reset

Higher Fiber* Gut Reset

Regular price From $149.99
Sale price From $149.99 $199.99 Regular price

Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

Older Post Back to I'll Start Monday Newer Post