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Is prebiotic soda too good to be true?

Plus: 🍌 Banana Ball invades Fenway

The B-Side
Welcome to The B-Side, the daily dose of news you actually want to hear. Katie Cole

It’s Tuesday, Boston.

🕺 Boston was booked and BUSY this weekend. But just because you didn’t make it to this year’s Pride Parade or Cliff Diving competition doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the good vibes, including this picture of Sen. Ed Markey in a rainbow boa and the endless snaps of divers flipping through the air.

👀What’s on tap today:

  • A win is a win
  • Boston’s newest beer garden
  • Let’s play (banana) ball!

Up first…

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Is this the new Diet Coke?

Image: John Minchillo. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

Pre- and probiotic sodas have taken the internet by storm. Whether it’s PoppiOlipop, or Cambridge-based Culture Pop, these drinks bill themselves as healthier (and cuter) alternatives to soda with the added bonus of supporting a healthy gut.

But with Poppi’s health claims facing a lawsuit, we needed to know: What’s the (real) deal with these drinks?

🥤 Pre- and probiotic sodas fit into the shifting landscape of diet culture. “We look at Culture Pop as sort of a healthy slight indulgence,” said Tom First, the company’s founder. “It’s a real treat, but it’s something that you can drink every day and feel good about yourself.” And that’s exactly what the internet is looking for, according to Kim Donlan, professor of marketing at BU. These days, people don’t want to be made to feel guilty about their dietary choices, but they value convenience, she said (see: TikTok trends like desk treadmillsmouth taping, or lemon coffee). So a canned, tasty beverage that’s purportedly good for you feels like a slam-dunk to consumers. 

🦠 But is it all too good to be true? TLDR: Probably.Prebiotics, which are the primary healthy selling point of Poppi and Olipop, are a type of dietary fiber. Fiber is great for regulating digestion, gut health, and blood sugar, yet most of us don’t get enough of it. But eating a balanced diet with veggies and grains is probably a better way to close the gap since you’ll get a more complex assortment of prebiotics with more vitamins and minerals, according to nutritionist Dr. Joan Salge Blake.

🫧 Some studies show that probiotics have health benefits. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut, and you’ll also find them in sodas like Culture Pop. But with all that’s still undiscovered about the gut microbiome, it’s tough to know if a certain probiotic will help you specifically without the input of an expert, Salge Blake said.

💩 Poo for thought. For some drinkers, especially those who have low-fiber diets, such a concentrated amount of prebiotic fiber in just one can can cause an upset stomach or G.I. issues, Salge Blake said. Especially with Olipop, which has 9 grams per serving. Translation: You may be running to the toilet.

😋 But at the end of the day, don’t let us yuck your yum. Just because these sodas aren’t health tonics doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy them. For your bowels’ sake, Salge Blake suggests limiting the Olipops to one a day, but otherwise, they’re probably not going to hurt you, especially if you’re swapping them for a soda.

TOGETHER WITH CONSERVATION LAW FOUNDATION

🔍 The truth behind offshore wind hate 

🌊🌎 Ever wonder why offshore wind gets a bad rap? When a right whale washed ashore on Martha’s Vineyard in January, social media conspiracy theorists claimed it was killed by offshore wind construction. Spoiler: it wasn’t. A Brown University report exposed that disinformation is being spread by conservative think tanks, Koch-funded initiatives, and climate-damaging nonprofits — hidden behind innocent-sounding names — to derail clean energy. Don’t get duped. Find out how you can support offshore wind and protect the planet.

CITY

Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe

🏀 The Celtics are two wins away from their 18th NBA title. Watching the C’s shoot from 3 last night may have been cringey (were 10 for 39 from long distance overall), but thanks to contributions from across the roster, we still managed to cobble together a 105-98 victory over the Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Jrue Holiday was the star of the show with 26 points. And while our eyes were mostly on the court, it was hard to not notice all the celebs in the stands — see: Bill Belichick with a side of Trader Joe’s snacks, Shaq, and Olympic gold-medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman. The C’s are now off to Dallas for Games 3 and 4. Dont wanna jinx it, but … CELTICS IN 4!

🏒 An international hockey tourney is coming to Boston. This weekend, the NHL announced that Boston and Montreal will serve as host sites for the 4 Nations Face-Off tournament in early 2025. The seven-game, round-robin tournament will pit the best players from the U.S., Canada, Finland, and Sweden against each other, and the final three games (including the championship!) will be played at TD Garden from Feb. 17-20, 2025. You can sign up to get the latest updates and ticket info here

🅿️ Parking in a bike lane? Prepare to get blasted on social media. The war between Boston cyclists and drivers seems never-ending. And now, some fed-up bikers are taking matters into their own hands: To address some of the dangers posed to cyclists, they’re using accounts like BosBikeBlockers or Carsnbikelane to document instances where bike lanes are blocked. The account posts photos of these “blockers,” sometimes several a day, in attempts to bring attention to the issue, and even subtly turn up the heat on city officials. Offenders range from cars to trailers, scooters, and even porta potties

🍻 Nothing says summer like a traveling beer garden. So it’s just our luck that this year, the Alianza park series is visiting seven Boston neighborhoods this summer. The project, a collab between Roundhead Brewing and Fresh Food Generation, will bring Latin-influenced brews and Caribbean and Modern American food for two weeks at a time to city parks, creating a space for all ages to hang out and enjoy some bites and sips. The first pop-up is coming to A Street Park in South Boston on June 19. Check out the whole schedule here.

THINGS TO DO

Weekday plans

🧱 Feel like a kid again. Boston’s LEGO Discovery Center is hosting an adults-only night on Wednesday where you can relive your glory days with a LEGO building competition, win awesome LEGO prizes, and more.

🏀 Cheer on the C’s next to TD. If you missed tix to the watch parties at the Garden, the next best thing is next door at The Greatest Bar’s Game 3 and 4 watch parties on Wednesday and Friday. 

🍗 Winner winner chicken dinner! Your al fresco dinners plans are set for Wednesday night at State Park’s fried chicken picnic. A $35 ticket gets you a spread of their famous fried chicken, a banana split, and other picnic staples. 

🧶 Socialize while sewing. Whether you scrapbook, quilt, or cross-stitch, the BPL’s Parker Hill branch wants you to bring your latest art project to its craft and chat night on Wednesday to mingle with fellow craft makers. 

🦃 Run with the Wild Turkeys. And by turkeys, we mean the Wild Turkeys Run Club. They’re hosting a three- to four-mile run along the Charles on Wednesday for all running levels.

🎭 Take a shot for Shakespeare. TheSh*t-faced Shakespeare crew is back at again with their drunk rendition of “Much Ado About Nothing” this Thursday at The Rockwell.

🍻 Pop by a beer garden pop-up. $5 for a beer and a donation to a local charity? Sign us up! That’s the plan at Urban Park’s beer garden pop-up on Thursday, featuring brews from Lamplighter. 

🧙 Grab your 20-sided die. Because there’s a Dungeons & Dragons night going down at Mothership Alewife on Thursday. And good news for D&D newbs: They’ve got a beginner’s table. 

ONE LAST THING

Let’s play (banana) ball!

Image: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe. Gif: Gia Orsino.

The Green Monster looked a little … yellow this weekend. 

Red Sox fans were decked out in bananas and yellow jerseys on Saturday to welcome the TikTok-famous Savannah Bananas baseball team, who graced a sold-out crowd at Fenway with a round of Banana Ball.

If you haven’t heard of the Bananas, they’re essentially the baseball equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters — see: catching a pop fly barehanded mid-backflipbackhanded catchesetc. — but with a little extra spice

And by spice, we mean choreographed dances (including the umps!), fan participation, imaginative rules, and other silly surprises (like this mid-inning baby race during Saturday’s game).

I’ve gone to dozens of Sox games in my life, but watching a round of Banana Ball was arguably the most fun I’ve ever had at Fenway (especially given the Sox’ record this season …). 

You can watch the full highlight recap of the game here. 

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

🍌 Thanks for reading! Petition to make all baseball games like Banana Ball and cap out around two hours.

💜 Special shoutout to today’s sponsor, Conservation Law Foundation, for supporting local journalism and keeping the public informed about environmental issues that matter. 

🏳️‍🌈 The results are in: Most B-Siders (38%) said that they didn’t go to Pride this year, but they wish they had. One reader, who definitely went, said: “Miss out on the biggest gay shindig of the year?? No thank you!”

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IGTikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].