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Is Kombucha Good for Weight Loss? All You Need to Know
Weight Loss

Is Kombucha Good for Weight Loss? All You Need to Know

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on September 26, 2022
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7 min

Kombucha has been used for nearly 2,000 years for its health and weight loss benefits. In this article, we dig deeper to help you find out whether kombucha is good for weight loss and how you can drink it to reap its benefits.

Is kombucha good for weight loss

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Kombucha tea has been consumed for nearly 2,000 years. It originated in China and then spread to Japan and Russia. Today, kombucha is enjoyed worldwide.

The drink has bubbled up as a popular wellness portion in recent years. Of the many wellness options that have been claimed is weight loss.

It’s also said to improve gut health and reduce inflammation. Plus, it comes with so many fun flavors. And who doesn’t like a good choice of flavor faves?

But can drinking kombucha for weight loss help you burn fat?

Here is all you need to know about this wonderful drink, what it is, its benefits for weight loss, and much more.

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fizzy fermented tea that mixes four ingredients: bacteria, sugar, yeast, and black or green tea. The mixture is covered with a cloth and set aside for 7–10 days to ferment.

During the fermentation process, acetic acid, bacteria, and a small amount of alcohol form in the drink.

These acids and bacteria form a film over the liquid called a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). A SCOBY is a flat and spongy substance that looks like a mushroom or pancake. This is why kombucha is also known as “mushroom tea.”

You can ferment more kombucha by using the SCOBY. If you can’t make your own, you can get it online or at your local health food store.

Following fermentation, the SCOBY is removed, and the tea is sealed and allowed to carbonate. That’s why kombucha tea is so tangy and fizzy.

Is Kombucha Good for Weight Loss?

While kombucha does not cause weight loss on its own, it can be a helpful tool in the overall weight loss process. It’s made from green tea, which may have the same effects on weight loss as green tea itself.

Some research suggests that people who drink green tea burn more fat and lose weight than those who don’t.

Other studies show that green tea, an ingredient in kombucha, can also improve your metabolism and burn fat, making it a great beverage for recharging and rehydrating your body after exercise.

Sugar levels in kombucha have been a concern for some people. However, kombucha starts as a sugary beverage, but the fermentation process transforms it into a low-sugar beverage.

The yeast eats approximately 90% of the sugar added to the tea during fermentation. The fermentation process determines the amount of sugar remaining in the drink.

For a drink to be considered low sugar, it must be 5g or less of sugar per 100ml. Commercial kombucha products contain less than 0.1g up to 3.8g of sugar per 100ml.

While not all kombucha can make the “low sugar” claim, they beat sugary drinks found in supermarkets and cafes, such as Coca-Cola, which is 9.94g sugar, and orange juice at 10g sugar per 100ml.

Kombucha only contains 30 calories per cup. The calories in kombucha may slightly increase or decrease depending on how long you ferment it.

Kombucha also helps prevent overeating and cravings. When you consume too many refined carbohydrates or processed foods, they cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly and then drop rapidly.

This causes hunger pangs that lead to overeating unhealthy foods high in sugar or fat. However, when you drink fermented foods such as kombucha tea regularly, it helps maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, which prevents overeating and cravings for sweets.

Kombucha contains phenolic and polyphenolic compounds that enhance your sense of satiety, so you feel as if you’ve eaten enough.

As a result, you’re likely to eat less even though you’ve had just 30 calories. Therefore, starting your meal with a kombucha tea drink can help you eat less while still feeling full.

The acids in kombucha, such as acetic acid, can also help with health and weight loss. Acetic acid gives kombucha an apple cider vinegar taste and helps improve insulin sensitivity and lower fasting blood sugars.

Kombucha Tea Health Benefits for Weight Loss

Kombucha tea has been shown to be beneficial to overall health and weight loss. Here are the benefits of drinking kombucha tea for weight loss.

#1 Contains antioxidants

Since kombucha is just tea with a unique look, it contains many of the same polyphenol antioxidant compounds as regular tea.

In fact, in one rat study, the antioxidant activity of kombucha was ‌higher than that of green tea.

Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which can cause damage to cells and lead to chronic inflammation.

Your liver – the body’s main detoxifying organ – may benefit from kombucha’s antioxidant effect.

A rat study found that drinking kombucha regularly reduces liver toxicity caused by chemicals like carbon tetrachloride and lead by up to 70%.

The liver plays an essential role in the metabolism of food. Poor liver function may interfere with your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.

The antioxidant properties of kombucha tea may help restore normal liver functions and enhance its ability to burn calories efficiently.

#2 Source of probiotics

Kombucha tea contains lactic acid bacteria, functioning as a probiotic. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are ‌good bacteria that keep your body healthy when eaten or introduced to the body.

The probiotics in kombucha help balance and boost healthy gut bacteria by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your intestines, so you can increase your metabolism and burn fat more efficiently.

#3 Good for the digestive system

Probiotics also help digestion by breaking down foods into smaller particles that easily pass through the digestive tract. This can help you feel fuller faster after eating meals containing fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, or legumes.

#4 Lowers blood pressure

Kombucha is recommended for treating high blood pressure and has been used to prevent headaches and dizziness caused by hypertension. According to an analysis of nine studies, probiotics were found to have a modest impact on high blood pressure.

Possible Side Effects of Kombucha

Stomach issues, yeast infections, allergic reactions, yellow skin (jaundice), nausea, vomiting, and death have all been reported as side effects of kombucha.

The main side effect of kombucha is stomach upset. This happens because the bacteria in kombucha can produce gas when they metabolize sugar. This gas can cause bloating, belching, flatulence, nausea, and vomiting.

Other people who are allergic to yeast or mold may experience allergic reactions after drinking kombucha. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, and swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.

How to Drink Kombucha Tea for Weight Loss

#1 Swap alcohol for kombucha

Kombucha is well known for its internal and external benefits to the body. This makes it an excellent, healthy alcohol substitute, mostly because you can escape the hangovers and make the most of your day.

Kombucha also has fewer calories compared to alcohol. According to Drink Aware, a small glass of wine contains around 114 calories, while USDA states that a 12oz of kombucha is just 21.2 calories. Therefore, switching from alcohol to kombucha can significantly reduce your calorie intake.

#2 Drink kombucha instead of soda

Kombucha has an acidic flavor and is lower in sugar levels, making it an excellent supplement for your soda and carbonation cravings. Sugary drinks are culprits for weight gain. They’re among the high-calorie foods with no nutritional value whatsoever.

#3 Exercise regularly

To achieve weight loss success, ‌include exercise in your weight loss plan. Whether you enjoy a 20-minute run, cycling, or walking every day, kombucha makes a great workout companion.

It’s an excellent recovery drink for keeping the body hydrated and functioning smoothly even after a strenuous workout.

How Much Kombucha Should I Drink?

It’s not safe to consume too much kombucha. The small amount found in the drink can be a lot when over-consumed and can cause weight gain. To enjoy the benefits of kombucha without overdoing it, restrict yourself to 4oz of kombucha 1–3 times a day.

This means you shouldn’t drink over 12oz of kombucha per day. If it’s your first time drinking kombucha, we recommend ‌you start with 2oz a day, then add 1oz per day.

While kombucha is low in sugar, you may decide to have less if you take little sugar. If you’re also allergic to alcohol, you may choose to limit your kombucha intake.

Kombucha is also not recommended for those with a weak immune system, those sensitive to caffeine, or pregnant and breastfeeding women because it’s unpasteurized.

FAQs

What is the best time to drink kombucha?

The best time to have kombucha for weight loss is with or after a meal, as it may help with digestion. Kombucha’s carbonation may help you feel fuller for longer, which is beneficial if you’re on a weight loss journey.

Can I drink kombucha on an empty stomach?

If you’re not used to kombucha, drinking it when hungry may cause an upset stomach because of the probiotics. However, if you’re used to drinking it, the best way to maximize the probiotics’ potency is to drink it first thing in the morning.

Is it good to drink kombucha every day?

The CDC recommends drinking 4oz of kombucha 1–3 times per day, but drinking too much can lead to excess calorie consumption, and you might gain weight.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Drinking kombucha can help you lose weight, but not on its own. It needs to be combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan to see results.

When made properly, kombucha is considered safe by the FDA. Use glass, stainless steel, or plastic containers when making kombucha at home. Ensure everything is clean, including your hands and the equipment.

While kombucha has a lower sugar content than other beverages like soda, some brands will add unhealthy (but flavorful) ingredients to enhance the taste.

If you purchase bottled kombucha, look for organic varieties with low sugar content (usually 4 to 6 grams or less) with no artificial sweeteners or colors.

If you’re trying kombucha for the first time, make sure you start with a small amount so your body can adjust to the acidity before increasing your intake.

Conclusion

Drinking kombucha comes with a lot of health benefits. The drink helps you burn fat, but it can also improve your digestion, improve your blood sugar, your liver function, and much more.

To avoid possible side effects such as upset stomach, allergic reactions, or nausea, simply limit your drink consumption, especially if you want to lose weight.

While kombucha can help in your weight loss efforts, it’s important to limit your intake to one or two times a day to reap its benefits. Purchase from brands that are low in calories and sugar and high in quality.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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