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The keto diet is all about eating a low-carb diet that maximizes results for weight loss and health.
When it comes to knowing what to eat, it helps to arm yourself with the right information when looking for healthy products.
But not all foods that are marketed as healthy are good for those on keto.
Kombucha is a type of tea fermented to yield numerous health benefits, including being good for gut health.
If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. But is kombucha keto-friendly?
Unfortunately, not all kombucha products are created equal. You will need to know what to look out for when deciding whether it is right for your diet.
We talk about the benefits of drinking kombucha, whether you should have it on the keto diet, and how to make keto-friendly kombucha.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a type of tea that is made through fermentation. With a slightly sweet and vinegar flavor, this drink offers a lot of health benefits.
Kombucha is a mixture of black or green tea and a sweetener. It is fermented for 3 to 30 days with a symbiotic bacteria, and yeast culture called a SCOBY.
You can use the SCOBY repeatedly to ferment more kombucha.
Acetic acid, the same acid found in vinegar, is formed when kombucha is fermented.
People have been brewing kombucha for thousands of years. It has only become a trendy drink recently because of its apparent benefits to gut health.
Consuming kombucha has the potential to feed the “good” bacteria in your body while getting rid of the “bad” bacteria.
Is Kombucha a Superfood?
Kombucha is often referred to as a superfood. Superfood is often used for highly nutritious foods that are beneficial for one’s health and well-being.
Unfortunately, this term is not scientifically recognized. It’s more of a marketing term attributed to foods packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other micronutrients that fight disease.
There are no real superfoods. No one food has all the nutrients we need. Our diet should always be balanced and varied, filled with many foods that provide different health benefits.
So, it doesn’t matter whether kombucha is called a superfood or not. The important thing is whether it adds any nutritious value to your diet.
Kombucha Health Benefits
Here are four evidence-based health benefits of kombucha.
Manages Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by high blood sugar levels, affects over 300 million people worldwide.
A study of diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels. It also improved liver and kidney function.
Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals that damage your cells.
This drink can provide antioxidants to your body, especially when you combine it with green tea.
Rat studies have shown that drinking kombucha reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals.
There are still no human studies on this subject, but anecdotal evidence shows how promising this area of research is.
Rich in Probiotics
As mentioned, kombucha is made by adding strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar to tea.
A mushroom-like film is formed on the surface after a few days, which is why kombucha is also known as “mushroom tea.”
This film is a living colony of bacteria and yeast that can be used to ferment kombucha again.
Probiotics provide your stomach with healthy bacteria that improve your digestion and reduce inflammation.
The good bacteria in kombucha can help alleviate issues linked with bad bacteria, such as:
- gas and bloating
- bladder infections.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Rat studies show that kombucha improves two markers of heart disease, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, in just 30 days.
Green tea, in general, protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation.
Protects Against Cancer
One of the world’s leading causes of death is cancer. This disease is caused by cell mutation and uncontrolled cell growth,
Test tube studies confirm that kombucha can prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells. This is because of the polyphenols and antioxidants found in the tea.
But there is still insufficient research on how and why this happens. It is only thought that polyphenols block gene mutation and the growth of cancer cells while promoting cancer cell death.
Other Health Benefits
Other anecdotal benefits of kombucha include the following:
- helps with hangovers
- boosts metabolism
- reduces kidney stones
- reduces sugar cravings
- improves energy levels.
Is Kombucha Keto-Friendly?
Kombucha is keto-friendly. As mentioned, it can slow down the digestion of carbs.
However, there are exceptions. It should be noted that kombucha is made from a sweet tea base, meaning it’s made with sugar that might kick you out of ketosis.
However, the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast feeds off the sugar added to the tea. We know that sugar provides energy, and this is why the good bacteria thrive in the drink,
What’s left is generally a low-carb drink that won’t knock you out of ketosis.
Unflavored kombucha usually has around 2 to 3 grams of sugar, depending on the recipe.
Kombucha also often has a hint of vinegar or tartness that is easy on the palate. But if you don’t like it, many commercial kombucha brands manufacture using double fermentation.
Here, different flavors and fruits are added to the drink to make it tastier.
But these types of kombucha are not keto-friendly as they usually contain more than 10g of sugar per bottle.
Be careful when choosing different brands and flavors of kombucha. Choose the wrong one, and your ketone levels may be affected, and you’ll get kicked out of ketosis.
Always check the label and serving sizes before purchasing store-bought kombucha. Unnecessary ingredients include artificial colors, preservatives, and additives.
Any drink that has these components won’t give the benefits of high-quality kombucha.
You also don’t want to over-ferment your kombucha if you’re home-brewing because it will be cloudier and sourer tasting. It can also cause serious health problems and even death.
Before making kombucha, you should first check that you’re not allergic to it. For some people, the yeast in the drink can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
How to Make Kombucha Keto-Friendly
The best way to guarantee that your kombucha is keto is by fermenting it for 21-30 days. This procedure will encourage the yeast to consume the sugars, leaving you with a low-carb drink.
The longer the fermentation, the stronger the kombucha. Bottle and refrigerate it to halt the fermentation after brewing.
Every time you brew kombucha, the mother SCOBY produces more, which means you can use that to make another batch.
For a SCOBY to safely grow, keep it in an environment that is about 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20-30C.
However, over-brewed kombucha can cause complications because it is already too acidic. If you notice anything that looks like mold, throw it away as soon as possible.
Brewing your kombucha at home also makes it prone to contamination. The slightest bit of contamination can make you sick. So make sure you know what to look for.
You can try diluting kombucha with plain water or flavored seltzer water to avoid going over your daily carb intake!
Adding stevia is another way to make it sweeter without kicking you out of ketosis.
Can I Add Sugar to My Kombucha?
If you drink kombucha with sugar, you’re reducing its health benefits and defeating the purpose of the keto diet.
Sugar is sweet; soluble carbs are used to flavor foods and drinks. It can be in the form of granulated sugar, table sugar, or regular sugar.
Sugar may kick you out of ketosis, whether it’s the bad or good type, because your body will use it for fuel instead of fats.
Can I Have Miso on Keto?
Another Asian food that undergoes fermentation just like kombucha is Miso.
This staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine is keto-friendly. It also contains probiotics that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria to help you recover from infections.
You can consume it in moderation, but the high amount of sodium in miso can be harmful to your health.
Check out the best miso products you can try for keto!
What Other Drinks Can I Have on Keto?
It’s hard to choose what you need to eat on keto. But it’s just as hard when it comes to keto drinks!
Kombucha is a keto-friendly drink you can enjoy. You can also have black coffee, low-carb smoothies, bone broth, and more.
But the best drink you can have is water. Enhance it with herbs or lemon juice to make it tastier and healthier.
For more, see our guide on what you can drink on keto!
How Else Do I Know if I’m in Ketosis?
Testing your ketone levels is a surefire way to know if you’re in ketosis because they show measurable and specific answers.
However, if you haven’t invested in these types of methods yet, one way to tell that you’re in ketosis is if you are experiencing the keto flu.
The keto flu has different symptoms for everyone. Some people don’t even experience it at all.
Here are some of the signs of the keto flu, so you know what to look for.
Enjoy Kombucha on Keto!
Kombucha is an amazing drink to help promote your good health. It can help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease and keep your gut happy with its healthy probiotics.
Fermented foods that are low in carbs like kimchi and miso are a good way to stay in ketosis without damaging your gut health and immune system.
Make sure to opt for kombucha products with no added sweeteners or high-carb flavors if you want to stay in ketosis.
However, if you’re not yet in a fat-burning state, learn how to get in ketosis in the first place!