8 Kombucha Myths You Shouldn't Believe!
Updated: Feb 8
Recently introduced to the Indian market, kombucha is still something people have many misconceptions about. This article is to break all those stereotypes and myths that kombucha comes with!
Myth 1: Kombucha is high in caffeine
Reality: Kombucha only has around 1/3rd the caffeine as compared to the tea that it’s made from.
During the fermentation process, the bacteria and yeast actually consume some amounts of the caffeine, therefore, leaving a residual amount. A general standard, if the tea you used in brewing your Kombucha has 30mg of caffeine, the final ready Kombucha will most likely have around 10mg of caffeine. So, if you’re someone who’s caffeine sensitive or trying to cut down on caffeine consumption in the evenings (Yes, you should), your fizzy friend kombucha is always there for you!
If you’ve ever consumed Kombucha, you’ve most likely felt a buzz of energy! This buzz is a culmination of the pairing of L-Theanine with caffeine. L-Theanine, an amino acid found in copious amounts in tea, is known for its calming and relaxing properties and also stimulating the brain’s alpha waves, which heightens creativity and alertness.
This combination of caffeine and theanine is actually widely used in the west as an alternative to caffeine. The main reason being, when caffeine is paired with L-Theanine, you get calm focus and energy without the crash! Theanine is used to reduce anxiety, while caffeine is known to increase anxiety.
This contrasting combination of caffeine and theanine is the true energy boost you need every monday morning!
Myth 2: Kombucha is bad for diabetics
Reality: In small amounts, Kombucha could actually be good for diabetics!
One of the most common questions I get asked is, ‘Is kombucha diabetic friendly?’
Anything that has sugar, including Kombucha, consumed in excess, is no doubt, going to be counterproductive for diabetics. But, there are a few reasons why kombucha is set apart as being beneficial for diabetics!
Firstly, kombucha typically has around 3.5gms of sugar per 100ml. That is almost 1/3rd in comparison to your typical ‘healthy’ cold-pressed fruit juices.
Secondly, kombucha also has acetic acid. This acid, which popularised apple cider vinegar as a health drink, is known to prevent blood sugar spikes by improving insulin sensitivity to a high carbohydrate diet.
Thirdly, a study done on rats in 2012 showed that, when rats were given Kombucha tea over a 30 day period, their blood sugars were shown to be lower than those rats given normal black tea! It showed Kombucha’s potential to not only reduce sugar spikes, but also improve liver-kidney response.
So, when looked at as an alternative to other beverages, kombucha seems to be ideal for diabetics to consume! Click here to know about several other benefits of kombucha!
Myth 3: Kombucha is alcoholic
Reality: Kombucha contains less than 0.5% alcohol, thus considered nonalcoholic.
If you’re wondering, where Kombucha gets its trace alcohol content from, you first need to understand the basic process of kombucha fermentation. Kombucha, essentially being a fermented tea, requires some sugar to kickstart this fermentation.
In the first few days, the bacteria get active and break down the sugar into alcohol. This alcohol is then used by the yeast to produce the organic acids, like lactic acid, acetic acid & gluconic acid, that make kombucha so healthy. During this process of conversion, trace amounts of ethanol are left behind which gives kombucha its sub 0.5% alcohol content.
So, if you’re someone who gets a buzz from drinking kombucha, don’t think it’s the alcohol, but It’s most likely to be either the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, or, Vitamin B12 which can boost your energy levels if you’re deficient in the said Vitamin.
P.S.- If you’re looking to get drunk with Kombucha, you can use it as a mixer and make some amazing cocktails! Click here to see our GinBerry Kombucha cocktail recipe!
And if you really wanna explore alcoholic kombucha, there are actually a couple of brands around the world that specifically make kombucha with ABV percentages of upto 5%.
Myth 4: Kombucha should be consumed only in small quantities
Reality: It completely depends on how you feel! #TrustYourGut
A standard Google search would give you a generic response, ‘If it’s your first time-consuming booch, consume up to 150ml and not more.’
Truth be told, this number is arbitrary. It all depends on our existing gut microbiome and gut health, both of which are reflective of our lifestyle and hence subjective individual to individual. There is no fancy scientific logic to determine how much kombucha you must-have on a daily basis. However, I would yet advise caution on consuming kombucha excessively if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Same goes with the time of the day, there is never going to be one specific time to enjoy kombucha! Just do what it takes to incorporate it into your lifestyle! I really enjoy drinking kombucha alongside my meals, but well that’s just me! If you enjoy drinking it to wind up your night, that’s completely fine too.
From experience, I have personally seen people consume 500ml of kombucha and absolutely enjoy it, and faced no repercussions. That being said, if you’re trying out new probiotic food, it would be wise not to binge on copious amounts and try it in small quantities first. See how you feel and then trust your gut!
If you want a full-fledged breakdown on how much kombucha and when you should be drinking your kombucha depending on your use case scenario, check out this post!
Myth 5: Kombucha makes you lose weight
Reality: No single food item can make you lose weight.
At The Culture Ko., we’ve always been adamant to bring out and communicate the truth to consumers. Being personally an ardent health and fitness enthusiast, I am against titling kombucha, or any other beverage, as a ‘Weight Loss Drink’.
Innumerable times, people have asked me ‘Will Kombucha make me lose weight?’ I always have the same response. I tell them, ‘kombucha can possibly aid and support you in your weight loss journey, but kombucha alone, will never help you reach your weight loss goals.’
The reason being, you could have immeasurable amounts of Kombucha, or ACV, or any other ‘Fat Loss Drink’, but if you are not in a caloric deficit, you will not lose weight.
Coming to how kombucha plays a supporting role in your weight loss. There is actually a correlation between gut microbiome and obesity. Our gut microbiome plays an essential role in improving our digestive health and nutrition partitioning (absorption of macro and micro nutrients), which can definitely help in your weight loss journey.
Another important constituent of kombucha, acetic acid, has shown to improve the uptake of carbohydrates and thus prevent insulin(our fat storage hormone) spikes.
Myth 6: Kombucha must always be refrigerated
Reality: Kombucha can be left at room temperature for a short period of time
Traditionally, foods were fermented for preservation, to increase the lifespan. During the process of fermentation, the pH of kombucha drops to a range of 2.5 to 3.5. At this pH pathogens fail to germinate and grow, making kombucha, just like any other fermented food safe to consume without preservatives.
But then, why do all kombucha brands recommend storing kombucha in the refrigerator?
To answer that; as kombucha keeps on fermenting at room temperature, its pH or acidity levels keep on reducing. But, when stored in a refrigerator, the bacteria and yeast in kombucha go dormant, putting fermentation to a temporary halt.
Now kombucha being a ‘live’ drink, if left at room temperature over a prolonged period, would lead to a change in taste of the kombucha, making it much more acidic and probably unpalatable. That being said, kombucha can be left out indefinitely, and it wouldn’t go stale or be bad for you. If anything, it’d probably be much more fermented and hence have even more health benefits.
At The Culture Ko., we recommend to all our consumers to store KoBu in the refrigerator and consume it within 60 days. Although, if you find a bottle in your fridge which is a few months old, feel free to give it a try. You might just enjoy how it’s aged in your fridge.
Myth 7: Kombucha is high in sugar
Reality: The sugar in kombucha is not for you to consume. Read on to understand.
These days, everyone’s favorite enemy is sugar. So before you go weary about kombucha, it’s important to understand that the sugar put at the beginning of the fermentation process isn’t for you to consume! It’s for the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast) i.e. the kombucha culture.
For fermentation, the bacteria and yeast require something to feed off of. Sugar is their fodder, not yours. The sugar is broken down by the bacteria and converted into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted by the yeast to produce the organic acids that make kombucha so healthy! So by the end of fermentation, the actual is a bare minimum. Compared to your generic cold-pressed ‘health’ juices, kombucha contains just 1/3rd the amount of sugar.
P.S.- At The Culture Ko., we pride ourselves in feeding our cultures with only the finest quality of organic unrefined and raw cane sugar!
Myth 8: Kombucha is a superfood
Reality: Fortunately, this myth is a reality!
While the term superfood might be a marketing gimmick, we’d like to believe otherwise! Abundant in probiotics, organic acids, B vitamins and antioxidants, your fizzy friend Kombucha is here! A true superfood
The Bottom Line
Although kombucha is over 2000 years old, its revival in the commercial market is not more than 10 years. So, as one would expect there are a lot of questions and doubts surrounding this new category of fermented probiotic beverages. I hope I was able to clear them out for you so the next time you’re drinking some chilled kombucha, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body!