High-Fiber Drinks Are Here to Replace Your Soda | Well+Good

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As much as dietitians like to use the F-word (fiber, obviously), the vast majority of people in the US don’t get enough. Like, basically, no one is. According to data that looked at more than 14,600 adults in the US, only 9 percent of women and 5 percent of men met the recommended daily amounts. (For the record, that’s between 25 and 38 grams, depending on your age and weight.)

This news is enough for health experts to start shouting the, well, another F-word. Fiber is very important for both short-term and long-term health. Not only does it keep the digestive tract working properlyis also linked to prevention of chronic inflammation (which can manifest in diseases, including cancer), and even connected to brain health.

To help fill the fiber gap, brands are launching new fizzy drinks that are bubbly with the nutrient. The logic is that if we’re not going to fill up on fruits, vegetables, beans, and other high-fiber foods, maybe we’ll gobble it up if it’s more like soda (minus all the sugar and chemicals). Three brands that do exactly this include olipop, EssenceY Midday.

Shop these high-fiber drinks:

What exactly is in these new high-fiber drinks? Would a registered dietitian recommend them? Read on for everything you need to know about the latest beverage trend taking over the wellness world.

How to make high-fiber drinks really taste good

These new canned beverages are certainly not the first high-fiber beverages to hit the market. The original high-fiber drink is, of course, the shake. It makes sense that mixing fruits and vegetables is a great way to get fiber on the go. But these new digestion-friendly drinks are nothing like a smoothie. Instead of being thick and heavy, they’re essentially sparkling water (or in Halfday’s case, tea) with added fiber. They are also different from kombuchawhich is made completely differently and is often high in sugar because it is a necessary part of the fermentation process.

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For each of the three brands highlighted here, the fiber does not come from fruits or vegetables. Instead, the focus is on the prebiotic fiber, specifically sourced from Jerusalem artichoke inulin. Gut Health Vocabulary Review: Prebiotics are the food source of probiotics, also known as the good bacteria in your gut. [since it’s not a source many people typically eat]says the founder of Gist lizzy hauske, of what attracted her to the ingredient. “It also gives Gist this almost silky texture. It’s not stringy at all, like a lot of prebiotic or fiber drinks are.” To her, none of these canned drinks taste grainy; they just have a refreshing taste.

Co-founder of Half Day Kayvon Jahanbakhsh says that he and his business partner Michael Lombardo were drawn to Jerusalem artichoke inulin because of the large number of scientific studies showing how beneficial it is. “[We] really dove into scientific studies to see what would be the best sources of prebiotic fiber to include,” Jahanbakhsh previously told Well+Good.

In addition to Jerusalem artichoke inulin, all three brands make a conscious effort to use only natural (not chemical) ingredients to make their beverages taste great, and none have added sugar. “At its core, Olipop is designed to increase everyone’s fiber and prebiotic intake through a nutritionally diverse blend of botanicals and plant extracts,” Co-Founder ben goodwin previously said Good + Good. For example, in Olipop drinks, some other ingredients you’ll find on the label include cassava root inulin, chicory root inulin (both for their prebiotic fiber), prickly pear, kudzu root, green tea caffeine, natural flavor vanilla, cinnamon and stevia

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Halfday’s ingredient list is even simpler: In addition to Jerusalem artichoke inulin, there’s agave inulin (for fiber), organic apple juice concentrate, lemon juice concentrate, stevia, and every flavor of tea. Gist drinks are similarly formulated. In the chamomile flavor, for example, the only ingredients besides the prebiotic fiber are organic lemon juice, chamomile flower, and rosemary extract.

Haucke, co-founder of Gist, says another piece of the fiber puzzle she kept in mind when creating the drinks was not adding then lots of fiber in every can would make you feel uncomfortable. “I wanted to set soluble fiber at a level that would provide significant benefits (14 percent of your daily value) but also not cause digestive upset,” she says.

Well, the ingredient lists look pretty good. But gaining the approval of a registered dietitian is another matter. Let’s see what one has to say, okay?

What a registered dietitian thinks about the new high-fiber drinks

When it comes to getting your fiber this way, Frances Largeman-Roth, RDNnutrition expert and author of Smoothies and Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen, has some thoughts. “On the one hand, if people only ate fruits and vegetables, they wouldn’t need to get fiber from their soft drinks. On the other hand, since soft drinks are such a large category and are becoming part of how modern people hydrate and fuel , it makes sense to add fiber to them,” she says.

In other words, she likes them, but still stresses the importance of getting fiber through food. “People shouldn’t try to get all their fiber from beverages,” says Largeman-Roth. “Primary sources should be fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

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That said, he likes what these high-fiber drinks are made with, particularly Jerusalem artichoke inulin. “Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is a fantastic source of prebiotic fiber thanks to the inulin it contains,” she says. But she says it is known to cause gas. “So don’t be surprised if you feel that effect after drinking these drinks,” she says. She also says that both Olipop and Halfday pack a lot of fiber into one can, which may be more than some people are used to getting at one time. “If you’re using these beverages to accompany a bean burrito or large salad, be aware that you may experience some bloating. It might be better to have these types of beverages between meals rather than with meals,” she says.

The bottom line: food is still the best place to get fiber. But these fiber-packed canned beverages can help boost your intake if you’re not getting enough. And, hey, it’s so much richer in nutrients than soda.

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