With kombucha rising to popularity in recent years, it is highly unlikely that you have not heard about it by now. It seems like everyone is going crazy over a drink that smells like vinegar. Or maybe you are a fan of this drink already. Either way, it sparks interest in many people.
However, when you are on the keto or a low-carb diet, you can not eat or drink everything you want. You are constantly having to check almost all foods and drinks you consume. And, you need to do that, especially if you are a beginner at this lifestyle.
So, now you must be wondering if you can drink kombucha on a keto or a low-carb diet or not. And, luckily, you are at the right place to get all your questions answered and more! Keep on reading!
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha tea or also called kombucha is a lightly effervescent, fermented, sweetened green or black tea drink. People consume this fermented drink for its purported health benefits, as well as its unique taste. We can describe its taste as slightly sweet, tart, and just enough bubbly to tingle your taste buds. Its taste can vary depending on the flavorings added. It can vary from floral, spicy, herbaceous, to fruity.
The exact origins of this drink are still unknown. However, scientists think that most likely it originated in the Bohai Sea district in China. From there, it spread in Russia, where it is widely used to this day. From Russia, it quickly spread to the rest of Europe. People started consuming kombucha in the United States in the early 21st century. Today people consume it daily, and it is still increasing in popularity.
People are homebrewing this drink, but some companies are also producing it commercially. So, you can find kombucha in most supermarkets and common grocery stores.
How is it made?
As we mentioned before, you can make this fermented drink at home by yourself. You can make kombucha tea by adding kombucha culture to sweet tea. The tea is usually green or black. The kombucha culture is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast or SCOBY. SCOBY contains one or more species of each bacteria and yeasts that ferment the tea.
When you add the SCOBY to the sweet black or green tea, the sugar in the tea acts as food for the bacteria. That is how the bacteria grow in the tea. The bacteria float in the tea and ferments it for a few weeks. When the fermentation process is over, you get a naturally fermented, bubbly tea. This fermented drink shares the gut-beneficial, and overall health beneficial properties of other fermented foods and drinks.
Kombucha Nutritional Facts
Below, you can see the nutritional information on 100 ml of Humm’s Kombucha Tea. Keep in mind that some brands add additional sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives to their products. (*)
Kombucha health benefits
We have mentioned in the above sections that people consume this fermented drink for its health benefits for a long time. People claim that this beverage can help hangovers, make your metabolism faster, help kidney stones, and help bladder and other urinary tract infections. However, there is not much research on these benefits people have claimed. Still, there is some research done on animals that can lead us in the right direction.
And, fermented foods and drinks are especially beneficial for the gut. If your gut microbiota (the bacteria in your intestines) is in disbalance, you may experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and more.
Fermented food can help improve and restore the gut microbiota, and prevent and/or improve symptoms. They have beneficial bacteria and probiotics that will help restore the balance of your gut microbiota (*).
While scientists have not yet done much research on kombucha on humans, there are several studies done on animals that show promising results. For example, scientists have researched its effects on prostate cancer and found that it may help in the prevention and treatment. This is likely because of its antioxidant ability. (*)
There is also research done on its protective properties. In rats that had high cholesterol levels, the bacteria in this fermented tea showed liver and kidney function and lowered the cholesterol levels. (*)
Another study on rats that were diabetic discovered that kombucha tea has blood sugar controlling properties, along with improved kidney and liver functions. And, it can potentially be used as a supplement when treating diabetes. (*)
Can You Drink Kombucha On The Keto Diet?
It might sound like the obvious answer to this question is NO, since we all know that sweet tea is packed with sugar. However, that is not the case. The kombucha cultures or SCOBY that you add to the black or green sweet tea consume the sugar. They use it to grow and ferment the tea. That way, there is only a little bit of sugar left in the tea after the whole process is finished.
That is why when you look at the table with nutritional facts you can see that it is not only low-calorie, but it is also low in carbs. In 100 ml of kombucha tea, there are only 19 calories, no fat or protein, 5 grams of total carbs, and 3 grams of net carbs.
The number of net carbs it contains is not hard to incorporate into the diet of a keto or a low-carb dieter. However, many brands add additional flavors, sugar, and other additives to their products to mask the tanginess of the tea. They usually do this by fermenting the tea a second time.
So, to answer the ultimate question- can you drink kombucha tea on the keto or a low carb diet? The answer to that question is not a simple YES or NO. It greatly depends on how you or the companies make the tea.
If it has been sweetened with additional sugar or other additives added then no, it is not strictly ketogenic, and you should avoid it. But, you can choose to make it yourself and control how much sugar you put in it. A small serving of kombucha tea without additional additives and sugar will not kick you out of ketosis.
Therefore, if you want to have some of this natural bubbly drink, make sure you carefully read the nutrition label if you are using store-bought, or make keto kombucha yourself. And, of course, watch how much you consume.
Yes it is low in carbohydrates because the sugar is consumed by kombucha cultures or SCOBY.
It has 3 grams of net carbs per 100ml.
Not all kombucha tea is ketogenic. It is keto-friendly if it does not have any added sugars or other additives. However, some brands do add extra sugar to their products, so read the labels carefully. Some keto-friendly kombucha brands sweeten the final product with stevia and erythritol, which makes it good for the keto diet.
Kombucha tea is a fermented product made by fermenting sweet black or green tea. The kombucha cultures that people use are also called SCOBY. They consume the sugar from the sweet tea, and that way they ferment it. At the end of the fermentation process, you are left with a slightly sweet, tangy, and bubbly fermented drink.
This beverage has a surprisingly low number of carbs. The reason is that almost all sugar is used up by the bacteria. In 100 ml of kombucha, there are only 3 grams of net carbs. That makes it easy to fit in a keto or a low-carb diet.
However, not all kombucha is keto-friendly. Some brands add additives such as additional flavors and more sugar in a second fermentation process. That is because they want to mask the tanginess of the tea and make it sweeter. If you plan on consuming store-bought fermented tea, make sure you read the labels, so it does not kick you out of ketosis.
The good thing is that this fermented beverage is easy to make at home. That way you can control how much sugar you add to it. If you want to make it sweeter, simply add a little bit of keto sweetener.
*image by Sewcream/depositphotos