Some of the most common kombucha questions I get are: Can I drink kombucha every day? How much kombucha should I drink? What is the best time to drink kombucha?
Even if you drink it because you love the fresh bubbly taste of kombucha, it still comes with various health benefits.
As with most things, too little and you won’t get the benefits, but too much can lead to trouble.
Here are a few things to consider before deciding how much kombucha you should be drinking.
It’s essential if you’re just getting started, to start low. If you don’t typically consume fermented foods, or if your diet is high in carbohydrates and refined sugars, or if you already have health issues, you will need to be extra cautious at first.
Think of your system; how is your body going to react? Will your digestive system still be okay? Sensitive individuals may experience bloating and gastrointestinal disturbances. With time as your body will adjust, these symptoms will disappear, and you can increase your daily intake of kombucha and fermented foods.
Your home-brewed kombucha will be different from the store-bought kombucha.
Home-brewed kombucha contains billions of live probiotic bacteria from hundreds of different strains.
A quality store-bought kombucha starts with live naturally formed probiotic bacteria. But, to keep alcohol levels below the legal limit, commercial brands generally will either pasteurize their final product (heat treatment to kill the bacteria), modify their culture to remove the alcohol-producing yeasts, and/or mechanically filter out the alcohol-producing yeast.
Most brands will also use some mechanical carbonation during bottling for consistentcarbonation results. Others add probiotics manually right before bottling.
Short cuts and production principles need to be used to mass-produce a commercialkombucha with consistent results. Other short cuts used are’ natural’ flavourings, mass-produced acidifiers, and added sugar or sweeteners.
By brewing your own, you know what has gone into your brew, how long it has fermented, and the quality of your tea, sugar, and fruit.
In general, you would consume less home-brewed kombucha than store-bought to get the same benefits.
Individuals with diabetes or sugar sensitivity need to consider the amount of sugar and calories in kombucha.
While a good part of the sugar is used during brewing to feed the yeast, some sugar and calories remain. Example: As per GT’s Original label, it contains 8 g of sugar and 30 calories per 240mL.
Let’s do some math:
A 4L batch of plain home–brewed kombucha contains 16 servings and uses 200 gm of sugar, which is 12.5 gm per 240 mL serving.
1gm of sugar contains 3.9 calories. So a home–brewed kombucha starts with 49 calories.
Kombucha, if left to ferment fully, becomes a vinegar. So, consider that the calorie content of red wine is 200 per 240mL and that the calorie content of the same amount of red wine vinegar is 45 (25% of the original calories), we know that calories decreaseduring the fermentation process. Unfortunately, the exact amount of calories used up during fermentation is challenging to determine.
Of course, the kombucha we drink is not vinegar. Let’s assume that at least 25% of the calories are used during a normal fermentation cycle; this would bring the calorie content of 240 mL of plain home-brewed kombucha to 37 calories.
More math is involved in calculating your end calories when you are adding fruit or fruit juice in the second ferment. Fruit juice: assuming 120 calories per 240 mL
If you use 80mL fruit juice and 160 mL kombucha, you will have 40 calories from fruit juice and 25 calories from kombucha for a total of 65 calories. (Minus an unknown amount that will be used up in the second ferment.)
So if you use 37 calories for plain home-brewed kombucha and 65 calories for a juice flavoured home-brewed kombucha, you will have some sort of reference point. Keep in mind the amount of sugar in fruit varies by season and ripeness. You can make yourself dizzy trying to figure out a hard number. LOL
And remember that commercial kombucha brewers sometime add sugar to enhance flavour. Making home-brewed kombucha allows you to control the sugar content and adjust the flavour to your taste.
I developed Kombucha Tea Blend B to be sweet without adding fruit in the second ferment, making it an excellent choice for those looking to keep the sugar content as low as possible.
Kombucha is a fermented drink, and like in any other fermentation process, alcohol will occur naturally. The more sugar added, and the longer it sits, the higher the final alcohol content will be.
Studies show that most home-brewed kombucha may contain up to 3% alcohol content, which can be too much for anyone trying to avoid alcohol.
Most commercially brewed kombucha, on the other hand, will only contain traceamounts of alcohol. Thanks to the “techniques’ they apply to ensure that they can be sold as non-alcoholic beverages.
Pregnant women, children, those with alcohol dependency, or those who are avoiding alcohol for religious reasons, please consider the above when deciding whether you want to add kombucha to your daily diet.
Simple fact, green tea and black tea used to make kombucha contain caffeine. Most people that are caffeine sensitive can tolerate kombucha since a typical batch of kombucha tea is very weak compared to brewing yourself a standard cup of tea.
Coffee has 95 mg per standard serving
Black tea has 48 mg
Green tea has 35 mg
White tea has 25 mg
When you brew 4L of tea with six tea bags of black tea, the batch would contain 288 mg of caffeine, which equates to 18 mg of caffeine per cup before fermentation.
A common rule of thumb is that fermentation will naturally reduce the caffeine by 1/3 of the original caffeine content. And because we dilute the kombucha with fruit juice in the second ferment, the final caffeine is about 8 mg of caffeine per 240 mL of kombucha.
Those who are caffeine sensitive may want to avoid drinking kombucha before bed.
Note: If this is still too much caffeine for you, check out our Water Kefir Grains for a caffeine-free fermented beverage option.
Whether to drink kombucha during pregnancy is another question I often receive from my clients. Please follow your physician’s recommendations concerning alcohol and caffeine consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Studies say that alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding can result in miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, behavioural, physical, and intellectual disabilities. So, many avoid kombucha during this time.
Though kombucha is safe for most individuals, it can pose a danger to those with a weakened immune system, liver or kidney issues, and the like, especially if consumed in excess.
In severe cases, kombucha may lead to liver complications and allergic reactions in some individuals. So please proceed with caution and under the advice of your doctor if you have underlying medical conditions.
So, how much kombucha should you drink in a day?
After considering the seven things listed above, how much kombucha can you drink in a day?
Start slowly with 2 oz per day. If no side–effects, then increase to 4 oz. Then increase to 8 oz up to a maximum of 16 oz.
If at any time you get side-effects, stop, take a break and restart with a smaller amount. Always listen to your body.
Side effects will typically be digestive stress. Diarrhea, bloating, gas, and the like.
But on average, a maximum amount of 16 oz or 500 ml per day is recommended.
Can I drink kombucha every day?
When to drink kombucha
Morning, noon, or night? What is the best time to drink kombucha?
While you can drink kombucha at any time during the day, I like to start my day with at least half a glass of kombucha on an empty stomach. I feel it gives me a boost of energy from caffeine and vitamin B and gets my digestion going.
Drinking kombucha first thing in the morning on an empty stomach takes advantage of the increased gut surface area allowing the healthy live kombucha probiotic to get into your gut and offer the intended health benefits.
Additionally, taking it first thing in the morning has extra benefits such as:
In summary, start slowly to avoid digestive issues, and drink at most a glass or two at any time every day.