Does Sugar-Free Kombucha Exist?
Whether you’re trying to kick the sugar habit or prefer to avoid it, you may be wondering if there’s such a thing as sugar-free kombucha. The short is answer is no, but we want to explain why and give you some perspective on our process. Let’s dive in!
The Sugar Fix
Compared with many other popular beverages — We’re looking at you, soda — The sugar content in kombucha is relatively low. Brew Dr. Kombucha has about 10 – 16 grams per 14 fluid ounces, depending on the flavor.
Here’s where it gets interesting and why no kombucha is sugar-free: Kombucha is a fermented beverage. In order for fermentation to occur, there must be three elements:
- Tea (made from tea leaves and water)
- Specific yeast and bacteria (called SCOBY)
The sugar feeds the yeast and bacteria, aiding in its growth. Without sugar, you have no yeast and bacteria, and without yeast and bacteria, you have no kombucha!
Most of the sugar added to the tea is consumed during the fermentation process. The byproduct of this is carbon dioxide (that’s where the fizz and tang come from) and small amounts of alcohol.
Sugar plays an important role in our brewing process and in making our kombucha so delicious. When it comes to taste, we find that a little bit of sweetness helps balance flavors and compliment the tea and botanicals.
How Much Sugar?
If you’re thinking 10 – 16 grams of sugar is a lot, we want to put that amount into perspective. Many people don’t realize the sugar content in some of the most popular beverages. Even though our kombucha does contain sugar to aid in the fermentation process, it’s still significantly lower than many other popular options:
- Brew Dr. Kombucha: 10 – 16 grams per 14 fl oz
- Sparkling water/plain water: 0 grams
- Fruit juice: 33 grams to 58 grams per 12 fl oz
- Coca-Cola Classic: 65 grams per 20 fl oz
- Dr. Pepper – 66 grams per 20 fl oz
- Lemonade – ~ 49 grams per 14 fl oz
- Gatorade – ~ 21 grams per 12 fl oz
- Starbucks Frappuccino – 66 grams per 16 fl oz
- Bottled smoothies – 50 grams – 60 grams per 12 fl oz
Last note: beware of any “sugar-free” drink. Most beverages that claim to be sugar-free add in other types of sweeteners and additives you may want to avoid. They are often hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, can be highly artificial and make you actually crave sugar.
Sure, you can drink water and sparkling water, but then you’d be missing out on all of the wonderful flavor variations, fizz and unique tartness of kombucha. Don’t forget the gut-friendly bacteria that makes kombucha so special. The result of that small amount of sugar is what’s keeping them strong and happy. Cheers!