Probiotic drinks lined up on a counter.

The Best (and Worst) Probiotic Drinks for a Healthier Gut

Cheers to a diverse microbiome.

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30-Second Takeaway

  • Probiotic drinks contain healthy bacteria that can support immune and digestive function.
  • Look for a probiotic drink that’s low in total sugar, since sugar can negatively affect your gut microbiota.
  • Probiotic drinks may not be as effective as a probiotic supplement—they often have a smaller overall dose of probiotics, and fewer probiotic strains.

Bacteria for your health—who knew? Probiotics (AKA live, beneficial bacteria) have exploded in popularity due to their far-reaching potential health benefits like a healthier gut, clearer skin, and improved immune function (1). There’s no shortage of ways to get more probiotics—from probiotic supplements to probiotic yogurts—but probiotic drinks are arguably the tastiest way to partake.

Probiotic drinks are beverages that have either naturally occurring probiotics (like kombucha or kefir) or have live active cultures added to them (like probiotic soda or greens powder). But are they any good for you? And how do probiotic drinks stack up to probiotic supplements?  

Everything you need to know including the best probiotic drinks, below.

Why Trust Us

Hone Health is a team of health-obsessed journalists, editors, fitness junkies, medical reviewers, and product testers. As a registered dietitian, it’s my job to sift through marketing claims and beautiful branding to figure out which products contain meaningful ingredients and which don’t. I search high and low for the tastiest options with the highest quality ingredients. The below products are items that I would purchase myself or recommend to a client or friend.

Are Probiotic Drinks Good For You?

Maybe. Probiotic drinks can be an easy, and tasty way to get more probiotics in your diet. However, probiotic drinks range in their potential health benefits depending on how many probiotics they contain, the strain of probiotics (different strains are good for different things), and other added ingredients like sugar.

Most probiotic drinks don’t have as large (or targeted) a dose of probiotics as probiotic supplements, so they may not be as effective. They also might not contain the specific type of probiotic you need to clear up a specific issue. For example, L. bulgaricus (one of the probiotics in Activia yogurt) is effective for IBS; while, L. rhamnosus GG (LGG) is effective for diarrhea sparked by taking an antibiotic (2).

How to Choose a Healthy Probiotic Drink

To hunt down the healthiest probiotic drinks on grocery store shelves, look for:

  • Low in Total Sugar: Since sugar can negatively impact gut microbiota, it may counteract any positive effect a probiotic drink may have (3). Look for the lowest amount of sugar (both added and naturally occurring). 10 grams of sugar or less is a good rule of thumb.
  • A Range of Probiotics: Unless you’re trying to clear up a specific issue, focus on consuming a wide variety of beneficial probiotics. Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus are popular strains for general health (4, 5).  

Best Probiotic Drinks

We’ve rounded up the best probiotic drinks from fizzy probiotic soda and tangy kefir, to probiotic greens powders and probiotic shots. These tasty, low-sugar, probiotic-rich picks get our stamp of approval.

Worst Probiotic Drinks

Not all probiotic drinks are healthy. Here’s one probiotic drink we recommend steering clear of.

Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Juice

Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Juice

Per serving: 1 billion CFUs, 170 calories, 37g sugar, 0g added sugar, 41g carbs, 1g protein, 0g fat

Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Juice has a monstrous 28 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving. Although this sugar comes from fruit and is not added, that’s a lot of sugar to consume just to get some probiotics. Enjoyed once in a while, this juice could be a tasty treat with a bonus of roughly one billion live and active cultures. However, it should not be the primary way you fill your probiotic needs.