What you should know about kids drinking Poppi, Olipop and other ‘healthy’ soft drinks

Green powders, gummy vitamins for all aspects of our health, and protein shakes of all kinds, there are so many wellness supplements and healthy alternatives available to buy these days, it’s hard to know what you really need. And, even more importantly, it’s not always easy to tell what’s safe to offer your kids. So, if you’ve ever wondered about prebiotic sodas, we asked a pediatric dietitian: Can kids drink Poppi, Olipop, and other products like them?

If you’ve seen them on store shelves but haven’t tried them yet, prebiotic sodas are basically new versions of our favorite soda flavors. Olipop and Poppi are the big brands sold in most of the big chain stores, but there are other smaller names too. They generally aim to be lower in sugar than regular sodas (a Coke has 39 grams of sugar while Olipops cola flavor contains 2 grams), which also makes them lower in calories. And they usually have some sort of wellness ingredient as well. Olipop uses prebiotics and plant fiber to support gut health, while Poppi includes a blend of prebiotics and apple cider vinegar.

Can children drink Poppi, Olipop and other prebiotic soft drinks?

Similar to regular sodas, juices and other drinks, most pediatric health experts will advise parents to stay away from Poppi, Olipop and other brands simply because you want to limit added sugar in your children’s diet. But it’s a good compromise if you’re trying to get your child to cut back on soda.

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If you really can’t get your child to stop drinking soda, it’s definitely a good change. In general, we recommend keeping under 25 grams per day of added sugars, and that’s just the US Dietary Guidelines. So as long as it’s within that guideline, I think it’s definitely a good option to switch to, says Lindsey Donovan, MS, RDN, a pediatric clinical dietitian at Wolfson Childrens Hospital in Jacksonville.

Soda and sugar flavors aside, what about prebiotics? Are they okay to give to children? Both Poppi and Olipop say on their websites that their drinks are safe for children. Prebiotics are basically these non-digestible fibers and they act as food for probiotics or your good gut bacteria. We can get them from a variety of foods, Donovan says. For children in particular, they are generally safe, but one thing to watch out for is added sugar. If you want to get other prebiotics and don’t want to give all the added sugar, parents can give things like bananas, oats, soy, and other foods like that that contain prebiotics.

Some of the other ingredients in prebiotic sodas may have you wondering if the drinks are safe for kids. Some brands contain apple cider vinegar, and many increase their sweetness by using plant-based artificial sweeteners. Donovan isn’t one bit worried about giving the ACV sodas to kids. However, she notes that there isn’t much research on how artificial sweeteners affect children, so Donovan can’t say for sure if there are any short- or long-term negative effects. Whether or not you keep them away will depend on what feels right for you.

You should also consider what flavors of prebiotic soda your child wants to drink. The flavors that emulate other soft drinks, such as Olipops Dr. Goodwin (Dr. Pepper), Vintage Cola (Coca-Cola), and Cherry Cola contain 50 milligrams of caffeine per can. Poppis Doc Pop and Classic Cola are estimated to contain approximately 32 milligrams of green tea-based caffeine each. As a general rule, pediatric health experts warn against caffeine for children under 11, and say children ages 12 to 17 should limit their intake to 100 milligrams a day.

Overall, prebiotic sodas are a solid alternative to regular sodas, with less caffeine and sugar and some helpful gut benefits. Parents will need to gauge the comfort they offer their children with artificial sweeteners, but everything else in these cans is well understood and approved by a pediatric dietitian.


Lindsey Donovan, MS, RDN, pediatric clinical dietitian at Wolfson Childrens Hospital in Jacksonville

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