Cracking open a cold can of soda with your meal is something so blissfully American. Pairing a Coca-Cola with a greasy burger may as well be considered elite cuisine here in the States. Though while standard sodas taste great going down, they might upset your stomach later. Thankfully, recent food scientists have created alternatives that aim to fix gut health rather than scramble it, all thanks to microscopic bacteria.
Searching for that sweet spot of harmony between the mind and body can be puzzling, especially while in university. Between late nights cramming for exams, falling into party-induced comas and eating greasy Panda Express from the food court, it can be hard to prioritize your physical well-being.
A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that sugar is highly addictive and, apart from that, the amounts of sugar in your average can of Coca-Cola is mind-boggling. Although diet soda options exist, sugar-substitute ingredients, most notably aspartame, may lead to a variety of health concerns, including cancer.
A good rule of thumb is to enjoy everything in moderation. However, sodas and energy drinks also have potentially dire impacts on human health and can lead to us feeling as if we are bouncing off the walls. Although making a conscious choice to find a healthier alternative to these drinks isn’t a fix-all solution, it does bring you one step closer to living a more balanced and wellness-centered lifestyle.
Consuming the recommended three liters of water is the ideal way to go, but that can get boring, even with popular additives such as Mio and Crystal Light. If you are craving a sweeter alternative, perhaps give prebiotic sodas a try. In the past few years, prebiotic sodas have become exceptionally trendy and innovative.
Do you even know what prebiotic sodas are or why they are good for you? As weird as it sounds, prebiotic sodas aim to improve gut and gastrointestinal health, not by eliminating bacteria in the gut, but by supplying our bodies with essential nutrients that help support a healthy immune system and a healthy bone structure.
The prebiotics in these sodas are sourced from whole foods such as apples, green vegetables and bananas, as well as unexpected health gems such as dandelion greens. These produce items are undigestible food components that are helpful in aiding the growth of natural bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are another ingredient in these sodas. Found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and tempeh, they contain microorganisms that help maintain and improve the normal microflora, or good bacteria, already in your gut.
Not only do these sodas help reset your gut, there are other benefits. J. Weinberg, a student here at the University of Miami, spoke on the base level of health regarding traditional soda versus the prebiotic alternative. “Prebiotic soda has significantly less sugar and it’s less calories, but in terms of carbonation and actual taste I feel like it’s very comparable to big name soda brands,” said Weinberg.
Dani Stavropoulos, another fellow ’Cane, said, “ as someone who struggles with eczema, I realized my flare ups could be caused by my diet. Overall, I wanted to reduce the amount of processed food and drinks I was consuming. Prebiotic soda seemed like an easy way to introduce healthier dietary habits into my life.”
Now that you know the benefits, you probably want to hop on the bandwagon. But where can you get these drinks, how many are there and what flavors are there?
After doing a survey of college students here at UM, we found out that the most popular brand of prebiotic soda was Poppi, In fact, it won by a landslide. The second most popular prebiotic soda was Olipop, with prebiotic soda brands Wild Wonder and Culture finishing closely behind them.
You can find these sodas in a variety of flavors such as orange, strawberry melon, raspberry rose, cherry vanilla, vintage cola, root beer and others that taste almost identical to their brand-name soda. Another bonus is that they are super convenient to find and are reasonably priced. Walmart, Target, Amazon, Whole Foods, Sprouts and many other grocery stores sell multiple prebiotic soda brands, with price points averaging around $2–4. So, ditch the sugar and chug some prebiotics. Your gut won’t regret it.
words_megan marley. photo_lizzie kristal.
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