It feels like everyone is talking about kombucha lately, namely, they’re wondering about what it is, if it’s healthy, and if it can help you lose weight.
While it seems like kombucha came out of nowhere, this tea actually originated over 2,000 years ago and is an ancient practice for fermenting tea.
Its uniqueness, health benefits, and the fact that it can be easy to make at home are what make kombucha so popular.
But how healthy is it, and can it help you lose weight? That is what we’ll be answering in our article today. But first, let’s take a look at what kombucha actually is.
What Is Kombucha?
Four ingredients go into kombucha. These are bacteria, black/green tea, sugar, and yeast, and as it is a fermented tea, you need a little patience to let these ingredients do their magic.
Tea is the first ingredient that goes into kombucha. Then sugar, yeast, and bacteria are added. Sugar acts as the food for the bacteria and yeast, encouraging fermentation.
The bacteria and yeast will then create a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
Usually, this SCOBY floats to the surface of the tea and creates a sponge, a flat substance that looks like a pancake.
It takes a month at most for the tea to be transformed into kombucha. The longer the kombucha sits, the more the sugar ferments.
The longer you leave the tea to ferment, the less sugary the kombucha will be. It will instead have more of a vinegar flavor.
Kombucha is ultimately a carbonated, tart, slightly sweet, and refreshing beverage.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombucha?
Raw, organic kombucha is unpasteurized and is an acquired taste, to say the least!
It has a tart, earthy, and vinegary smell that will probably be unlike anything you’ve ever drunk before, but the health benefits make kombucha a drink you should at least try.
There is a lot of talk about the health benefits of kombucha. You may have heard that it can boost your energy, help with hair loss, and even prevent cancer.
However, no scientific data confirm any of these claims. Still, the ingredients found in kombucha and how it’s made undoubtedly come with verified health benefits.
In its final form kombucha contains antioxidants, B vitamins, enzymes, glucosamine, probiotics, and particular acids that have properties that can improve your health.
These factors can help preserve the structure of your cartilage and ward off joint degeneration, which boosts your body’s detoxification processes, aids in digestion, and boosts your gut health.
Can Kombucha Help You Lose Weight?
Now, you might have read that kombucha has sugar in it, and are wondering how it could possibly help you lose weight.
However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that about 90% of the sugar that’s added to kombucha in the fermentation process is eaten by bacteria and yeast, much like the fermentation process that occurs when making bread, beer, or wine.
So when drinking kombucha in its rawest form, it’s a great alternative to other sugar-heavy drinks like fruit juice or soda.
One of the biggest advantages of kombucha is its probiotic content, i.e. ‘good bacteria.
Almost every cell in our body is reliant on bacteria, and when the bad and good bacteria become unbalanced in our gut, then this can have a negative impact on our overall health.
This is called ‘dysbiosis,’ and dysbiosis can lead to issues like bloating, cravings, food sensitivities, and poor bowel movements.
If your gut flora is healthy and your digestive tract is properly functioning it can have a positive effect on your overall health, and help you lose weight.
Studies have continually illustrated a connection between a healthy gut microbiome and weight loss.
A good balance of gut bacteria improves your digestion, helps you absorb nutrients, and improves your metabolism as a whole. When our body is functioning well, it can burn fat more efficiently.
Kombucha has acetic acid, which also has benefits when it comes to losing weight too.
Acetic acid is what gives kombucha its vinegary taste, and crucially, has been proven to have a positive impact on insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood sugars.
This acid might intervene with the breakdown of starches and sugar, and so reduces the impact on blood glucose.
Although there are many factors to losing weight, regulating blood sugar and glucose directly helps our bodies burn fat rather than store it.
You may also feel slightly more energetic after drinking kombucha, and this may be because of the caffeine found in the beverage.
In fact, many people like to drink it before exercising to give them a boost, while some with a sweet tooth find kombucha satisfies their cravings for sweet treats.
Although kombucha can be beneficial to health overall and can be a helping hand in losing weight, it is of course not a magic potion.
Drinking 8 ounces a couple of times a week can be beneficial to your weight journey.
Just like other foods and beverages known for their health benefits, there are usually a lot of products that make claims to improve your health on their labels, but on closer inspection, you’ll find excess sugar, sweeteners, or other ingredients that undermine its health benefits.
This is also the case for kombucha, due to its acquired flavor that might not be appealing to all.
It’s actually very common for kombucha manufacturers to add ingredients to the beverage that taste nice but have little to no health benefits.
You should keep an eye out for organic varieties that have little sugar (typically under 6 grams), and that don’t have any added artificial ingredients, like colors or sweeteners.
Some manufacturers add juice and sugar when the fermentation process is done, boosting the sugar content.
It’s also important to remember that although unpasteurized kombucha has more live probiotics, you should speak with your doctor to make sure this is safe for you to drink.
While kombucha shouldn’t be seen as a weight loss drink and some of its health claims are unverified at the moment, it can definitely be a beneficial addition to your weight loss plan, and is full of good vitamins that shouldn’t be overlooked.