Soda, pop, soda pop — whatever you call it, you know that downing a can of it isn’t exactly the healthiest decision in the world (no judgement tho, we’ve all got our cravings). Well, now it’s looking like that might be changing, thanks to the rise of functional soda.

Functional soda is a lot like soda/pop/soda pop, except instead of being loaded with sugar and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients, they’re packed with health-boosting components.

Some popular functional beverages feature goodies like probiotics (hi, gut health), collagen (oh hello, healthy skin), nootropics (sup, enhanced cognitive function), and adaptogens (byeee, stress and fatigue).

The use of these popular ingredients for better health and enhanced performance isn’t anything new, but adding them to soda def is. And people are loving it.

A May 2021 report from Research and Markets, analyzing the growth of the functional beverage industry, projected that the functional beverage market will grow about 7 percent between now and 2026. This is huge considering that traditional soda sales have been declining for years.

Smaller startups selling functional beverages (like the hella popular Olipop and Poppi) are seeing success from the growing consumer interest, but big soda companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have also already thrown their hats in the ring by launching their own functional bevvies — like PepsiCo’s Soulboost.

It’s def likely that the functional soda trend will continue to rise, with small and large companies eager to snag some of the soft drink market share. But as the market floods with new options, it’ll be more important than ever to make sure you’re buying from reputable brands that can actually back up any health claims they’re making.

Curious how to navigate the flooding market of functional bevvys? Here are some tips:

  • Check who you’re buying from. If you want to support smaller businesses, always check if the brand you’re buying is owned by a bigger company like PepsiCo. You don’t want to hurt the underdog by not reading the fine print.
  • Research ingredients. Consider doing some research on the ingredients in the soda before buying. If you’re looking for gut health benefits, look for probiotics. Want help staying focused? Check out sodas with nootropics like L-theanine. Want help chilling out? Adaptogens are your new BFFs.
  • Start slow. Rather than buying a giant case of a new popular drink, it might be a good idea to start with a single can/bottle or two first. That way, you can see how your body responds to that brand’s mix of ingredients and decide if you want to start sipping it on the reg.
  • Consider supplements. If you’re def looking to swap your fave soda for something healthier, functional soda is a pretty sweet option. But if you’re just looking for the health benefits, you can also buy over-the-counter supplements of a lot of the same ingredients.