You may see Kombucha drinks at your local grocery store. While you may just be noticing them, they are not a new craze. It has been around for centuries. The Keto diet may seem like a craze because it has been gaining popularity recently, leaving people wondering if they can drink Kombucha while on Keto. The quick answer is it depends. There are some Kombucha drinks that are Keto, but others are not. Some Kombucha drinks taste sweeter than others. This is dependent on the amount of sugar and fruit contained in the Kombucha drink. Keep reading to find out more about which Kombucha drinks are acceptable on a Keto diet.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a sweet tea that has been fermented. As with most sweet teas, this sweet tea has a significant amount of sugar before fermentation. The good news is Kombucha needs this sugar to help the fermentation process. The sugar contained in the sweet tea feeds the yeast and bacteria. A large percentage of the sugar in sweet tea is eaten up by the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) process. The SCOBY is alive and floats in the tea for quite a while. When this process happens, the tea becomes rich in probiotics and a naturally carbonated drink. After fermentation is complete, the SCOBY is filtered out of the Kombucha.
There are small amounts of sugar that are not eaten during the fermentation process and this small sugar remains in the Kombucha. If the drink is left as it is, it can be part of the Keto diet because it is low in carbohydrates and sugar. At this stage, the Kombucha has a tangy and vinegary taste. Some do not like the taste. However, some commercial brands of Kombucha add back more sugar to help sweeten the taste of the drink, so be sure to read the nutrition labels if you are trying to stay on a low carb or keto diet.
Benefits of Kombucha
There are many benefits to Kombucha because of the process of fermentation. The bacteria in Kombucha can help improve the microbiome of your gut, similar to other healthy foods that are fermented. The yeast and bacteria in the Kombucha are good bacteria, which helps the other good bacteria in the gut thrive and grow. It can also push the harmful bacteria from the gut.
Many things can disrupt the balance in the gut. Things like stress, bad diet, pollution, alcohol, and hormonal changes can impact the gut bacteria balance in the body. Too much bad bacteria makes you feel uncomfortable, is combined with issues in your digestive system, and other irritations. You may have constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and infections.
Those who drink Kombucha often find a reduction of symptoms related to slow metabolism, hangovers, reducing cravings for sugar, and increasing energy.
How to Have Kombucha on Keto
It is possible to have Kombucha on a Keto diet, but it is important to understand how much sugar is in the drink. If you read the label of the drink and see sugar as an ingredient, this is not acceptable for Keto. The number of carbs and sugar in the drink depends on the manufacturer and how the drink is fermented.
When creating their drink, some manufacturers add additional sugar to their blend. This would not be acceptable on Keto. Some use the second process of fermentation to add fruit or other flavors. This is to help mask the bitter taste of the drink. This second process adds more carbs and sugar and may not be acceptable for Keto. You should check the nutritional label of any Kombucha to determine how much carbs and sugar are included in the drink.
Is Kombucha Safe to Drink?
There are many different types of Kombucha available. Some have as much as 120 calories per bottle, while others are lower in calories. Having an occasional Kombucha will not impact your weight, but if you drink it regularly, you make be consuming an excessive amount of calories. Excessive calorie consumption may cause you to gain weight. Calories in liquid form are easy to consume and fill you less than when you ingest calories from food that is solid. This lack of satiety can lead you to take in more calories than you would otherwise. Drinking Kombucha can prevent you from eating healthier foods that help fill your stomach.
Kombucha is not pasteurized and has a variety of yeast and bacteria. While this helps bacteria grow in the body, when there is too much bacteria, it may encourage infections in some, especially those that have a weakened immune system. Some people have allergic reactions or complications with the liver because they drank a contaminated Kombucha drink.
Kombucha has a tea base, typically green or black tea. Both of these teas contain caffeine. Black tea typically contains more caffeine than is contained in green tea. If you do not realize the base of the drink is tea, which contains caffeine, you might consume more caffeine than you should. If you drink a lot of Kombucha and coffee, you may have more caffeine than you should. If you are sensitive to caffeine, perhaps you should not be drinking Kombucha. You may want to consider the time of day you are drinking it because it may interrupt your sleep and prevent you from sleeping.
Is Kombucha Keto or Not?
As long as most of the original sugar in the sweet tea has been consumed during the fermentation process and there has not been a lot of sugar added back for flavoring, most Kombucha is keto and appropriate on a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
Looking to get started on the ketogenic diet?
Set yourself up for success and read our Ketogenic Diet for Beginners article.