As a new year is upon us, it’s likely that you’ve made at least one resolution for next year. Maybe it isn’t a formal list of resolutions, but it may be just an intention to do something new or different next year. Not surprisingly, getting healthier is the number one New Year's resolution. For some, that means going Whole30®.
You may have been on the Whole30 for some time now or perhaps you’re interested in trying it before a summer vacation. No matter what time of year it is, plenty of people swear by Whole30 as a great way to jump-start a healthy routine. Before we get to whether or not kombucha is okay to drink on the Whole30, let’s review what, exactly, the Whole30 diet is.
According to whole30.com, the official website of the Whole30, the idea for Whole30 arose in 2009 when Melissa Urban had a lightbulb moment. After finishing off a sleeve of cookies, she and a friend challenged each other to go an entire month without eating any sugar or processed foods or drinking any alcohol to improve their health and performance. They both committed and the rest is history.
The Whole30 is not a diet, mind you. The founders are careful to make that point. They call it a “reset” that they believe gives your body a chance to heal from inflammation caused by a poor diet. By cutting out foods and beverages that are not “whole” for a full 30 days with no cheating, they claim your health will dramatically change for the better. The most dramatic effects are believed to impact one’s cravings, metabolism, digestion, and immune system, all of which influence one’s physical and mental states.
The Whole30 is a 30-day reset, although some people decide to extend it because they feel so much better when eating healthy. They learn what foods trigger a negative reaction and which foods make them feel better. For many, the Whole30 is a practice in understanding one’s personal relationship with food - why they eat and how they really are what they eat.
The Whole30 comes with an extensive list of foods and beverages you can eat and drink while doing the Whole30 and which ones to avoid. The list is long, so we won’t detail it all here, but you can find it by going to their website or reading their books. There are also hard and fast rules you must abide by if you’re really going to dig in. One thing you’ll quickly learn: the Whole30 is either all or nothing. If you cheat or mess up, you have to start all over again on day one if you want to get the intended effect.
The number one rule of the Whole30 is to not consume added sugar, real or artificial. They say that if sweetener of any sort is in the ingredient list, you can’t have it for 30 days. At first glance, this is a bummer because if you look at any bottle of kombucha, you’re going to find sugar in the ingredient list. But that’s not the “whole” story.
Yes, all kombucha has sugar because that’s how the fermentation process works. Kombucha is fermented sweet tea and the sugar in the tea feeds the yeast and bacteria. Here’s the good news. The fermentation process also has a built-in sugar-reducing mechanism of sorts. Most of the sugar is consumed by the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). There is still a small amount of remaining sugar, but it’s quite minimal.
According to whole30.com, sugar is a no-no only when it is added to the product after the fact. In the case of kombucha, because sugar is used in the beginning to feed the SCOBY, it is okay to consume. The same goes for the alcohol that is a natural byproduct of the fermentation process.
Of course, the amount of sugar in kombucha greatly depends upon the manufacturer and how they brew their kombucha. Some choose to add more sugar to make their kombucha sweeter. They may also process their kombucha with a second fermentation where they add flavors and fruits to reduce the vinegary, tangy taste of the natural kombucha. In either case, the levels of sugar are considered too high for the Whole30.
At Brew Dr. Kombucha, we don’t add sugar beyond what is necessary to facilitate the fermentation process. We also do not do a second fermentation. All of our kombucha (excluding Uplift Caffeinated) flavors have 6 grams of sugar or less per serving and 7 grams or less of carbohydrates. The alcohol levels in our kombucha are also below 0.5 percent and are only the natural byproduct of fermentation.
So if you are on the Whole30 and looking for more variety in your beverages, or if you are about to take the Whole30 plunge, you can safely enjoy kombucha. In fact, it may be one of the few exceptions to the rules that you can indulge in for the next 30 days! So, load up your fridge with different flavors of Brew Dr. and good luck with your reset!