Sorry to burst your bubble, prebiotic soda lovers. A new lawsuit alleges that Poppi, an Austin-based trendy beverage brand boasting low-sugar content and fibers for gut health, is misleading consumers with its marketing. Here's everything you need to know about the Poppi lawsuit.

What is Poppi?

Poppi’s vibrant, colorful cans are viral on social media and advertised as an alternative to traditional high-calorie seltzers. Spouses Stephen and Allison Ellsworth started the company as a way to incorporate the health benefits of apple cider vinegar into a tastier drink. In 2018, the couple appeared on “Shark Tank,” successfully receiving an investment from guest shark and marketing expert Rohan Oza. The brand launched early in the COVID-19 pandemic, taking advantage of health-conscious consumer purchasing patterns, and since 2020, sales have skyrocketed with flavors such as orange cream, lemon lime, and cherry limeade available for purchase. Celebrities including Post Malone, Hailey Bieber, and Kylie Jenner have all shared their love for the drink.

The Poppi lawsuit, explained.

However, a class-action consumer-fraud lawsuit filed by Kristin Cobbs on May 29 claims that the brand may not actually be such a healthy alternative. With each Poppi can containing just two grams of prebiotic fiber, according to the suit, a consumer would have to drink four cans per day for at least 21 consecutive days to reap the marketed gut health benefits. At this rate, “Poppi’s high sugar content would offset most, if not all, of these purported gut health benefits,” the plaintiffs claimed.

In addition, the lawsuit sheds light on the type of prebiotic that Poppi uses, claiming that the brand does not warn consumers about potential harmful side effects. Studies demonstrate that excess consumption of agave inulin — Poppi’s prebiotic fiber — can have negative health consequences, prompting abdominal discomfort and even diarrhea, which is “particularly problematic for people with existing digestive issues.”

In light of the lawsuit, Poppi has removed its functional benefit claims from products in Canada.

So, what does Poppi-gate mean for fans of the fizzy drink? At nine grams of prebiotic fiber per can, the brand’s competitor Olipop may be a wiser option for those seeking gut health benefits. Still, Poppi offers refreshing flavors at lower calorie levels than other sodas, and as some users have already shared on TikTok, many consumers will continue to purchase the drink. As for me, my beverage of choice this summer will be a cool glass of homemade lemonade. Prebiotic or not, there is simply no soda that compares.