Poppi’s "Gut Healthy" Soda Might Not Be So "Gut Healthy" After All

The brand was hit with a lawsuit, citing misleading marketing claims. 'Marie Claire' asked the experts whether it's time to stop drinking Raspberry Rose for good.

poppi soda
(Image credit: Poppi)

Content creator Devin Raimo, who has more than 200,000 followers on TikTok, says she's been drinking Poppi's prebiotic sodas for more than a year. Labeled as a “better for you” beverage, Poppi claims to support a healthy gut with prebiotics, apple cider vinegar, and less than five grams of sugar.

Raimo bought into the brand's cheeky marketing and, frankly, delicious taste when it came across her social media feeds—and she's hardly alone. Poppi boasts plenty of influential customers, including Kylie Jenner, Alix Earle, and Olivia Munn. Even without celebrity endorsements, it's one of the fastest-growing non-alcoholic beverages in the U.S. Poppi's millions of fans have helped it swallow up 19 percent of the market share—1.5 times that of Coke’s.

That’s why it was so surprising for Raimo when her For You Page stopped feeding her Lemon Lime and Orange Cream flavor reviews and instead two-minute crash courses on a Poppi lawsuit instead.

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Earlier this week, Poppi was hit with a $5 million class action lawsuit that claims the soda alternative misleads consumers with marketing aimed at boosting gut health. “Poppi soda only contains two grams of prebiotic fiber, an amount too low to cause meaningful gut health benefits for the consumer from just one can,” the legal document states. “Accordingly, a consumer would need to drink more than four Poppi sodas in a day to realize any potential health benefits from its prebiotic fiber.” That quantity isn’t just a lot of bubbles—it also equates to quite a high level of cane sugar consumption.

The Poppi fan base, typically clad in their branded pink sweatsuits online, is a bit divided on how the lawsuit will impact their soda-drinking habits. Most, like Raimo, will keep supporting the healthy-ish soda. For her, it was never about gut health. “I was more so drinking them for taste to begin with,” she tells me. However, others are understandably confused about what their Poppi consumption means for their gut health while the brand faces legal scrutiny.

To help clear up confusion, I'm breaking down exactly what to know about the lawsuit (including Poppi’s response)—and sharing what it means for your gut microbiome, ahead.

The Poppi Lawsuit, Explained

The lawsuit, filed in a California court last week, is considered a class-action consumer fraud case. I’ll spare you the 24-page document and provide the Spark Notes. While acknowleging that part of Poppi’s appeal is great taste and cheeky marketing, the suit does claim that the brand’s “Be Gut Happy. Be Gut Healthy.” slogan and promise of prebiotic fiber—a type of dietary fiber that helps foster beneficial bacteria in the gut—results in “misleading claims regarding the products health benefits.”

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According to Yana Delkhah, board-certified emergency medicine physician and Integrative and Functional Medicine Practitioner at Apa Aesthetics and Clinique de Champs, the lawsuit has legs to stand on from a health perspective. Offering just two grams of prebiotic fiber per can, she explains you won’t reap the prebiotic benefits of a healthy digestive tract, enhanced immune function, or reduced risk of disease from Poppi consumption alone.

“Two grams of prebiotic fiber per can is quite low compared to the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men until the age of 51—then it's 21 for females and 30 for men,” she says. “While two grams can contribute to your overall fiber intake, it's insufficient to produce significant gut health benefits.”

Has Poppi Responded to the Lawsuit?

Marie Claire reached out to Poppi for a comment on the lawsuit. A representative for the brand shared the following statement:

“We are proud of the Poppi brand and stand behind our products. We are on a mission to revolutionize soda for the next generation of soda drinkers, and we have diligently innovated to provide a tasting experience that millions of people have come to enjoy. We believe the lawsuit is baseless, and we will vigorously defend against these allegations.”

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Does Poppi Actually Do Anything for Gut Health?

According to Dr. Delkhah, don’t expect Poppi to actually impact your gut health—or health in general. “Drinking four cans of Poppi a day to achieve a beneficial level of prebiotic fiber is impractical and could lead to excessive sugar consumption,” she explains.

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“Each can of Poppi contains about five grams of added sugar, so consuming four cans would mean ingesting 20 grams of sugar, which is close to or exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit,” the expert adds. This high sugar intake could negate any potential benefits from the prebiotic fiber, leading to health issues such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and other metabolic problems.

Are There Side Effects to Drinking Poppi?

Just because Poppi allegedly doesn’t help your gut with just one can, doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. “There doesn’t appear to be any direct harm in continuing to consume it occasionally,” says Dr. Delkhah.

Still, it’s a soda—so don’t expect it to offer the same nutritional benefit as a salad. “This is a great alternative for people who are addicted to soda, diet or regular, to help them have something similar but with less negative effects.” In short, moderation is key.

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Is Poppi Healthier Than Other Sodas?

While Poppi has added sugars, it is still a better alternative to other sodas. “It doesn’t seem to have aspartame (a possibly carcinogenic ingredient found in most sodas) and has a lower sugar content, along with the inclusion of some prebiotic fiber,” says Dr. Delkhah. “However, it is not a health drink and should not be relied upon as a primary source of prebiotic fiber or overall gut health.”

Can I Drink Poppi Every Day?

Poppi is still a soda. Like everything with sugar added, it’s best in moderation. It is better than regular soda, however. Drinking one can a day, in addition to consuming a healthy diet and sufficient water, shouldn’t cause harm.

How Much Caffeine Is in a Poppi Soda?

Not a lot. Only two of the 13 flavors contain any caffeine: Doc Pop and Classic Cola. In those, the caffeine content is naturally derived from green tea and taps out at 32 mg. For context, a can of Coke contains 34 mg.

Marie Claire will update this post when the outcome of Poppi's lawsuit is released.

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.