Low-carb, no-carb and ketogenic diets have been gaining steam lately. They are rather restrictive, so you may be wondering if kombucha is keto. First, let’s define what keto is. The keto diet is a low-carb diet that focuses on consuming calories from protein and fat instead of carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates. Foods made with white flour, sugar, potatoes and white rice are off limits.
The theory is these diets force the body to quickly burn through stored blood sugar and start breaking down protein and fat for rapid weight loss. Many swear by it, even if only for the short-term benefits. U.S. News and World Report ranked the keto diet as #38 (out of 41 diets evaluated by a panel of health experts) on its list of the “Best Diets Overall”, #12 for “Best Weight-Loss Diet” and #2 for “Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet.”
WebMD concurs, saying the keto diet is a short-term plan for quick weight loss and not intended as a lifestyle. The body needs fat, protein and carbohydrates for basic metabolic function. Extreme limitations or elimination of any of these three essential elements can cause body chemistry to become out of balance which can lead to multiple health issues.
If, however, your goal is to lose that stubborn weight, a keto diet may be an option.
Answering whether kombucha is keto or not isn’t as easy as a simple yes or no. It really depends on how it’s brewed. When you look at a kombucha label, you’ll see sugar - something keto diets shun. But what’s behind that sugar content matters.
First of all, all kombucha has sugar. It has to in order for the fermentation process to work. Kombucha is fermented sweet tea and the sugar in the tea feeds the yeast and bacteria. Fortunately, most of the sugar is consumed by the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Smaller amounts of sugar that aren’t consumed during fermentation remain. If left alone in this state, kombucha can be enjoyed on the keto diet as it is low in sugar and carbohydrates.
Kombucha sugar and carbohydrate amounts differ. The sugar content completely depends on the manufacturer. They can add more sugar to sweeten their brew further, or they may ferment the brew in a second fermentation process where additional flavors and fruits are added to mask the vinegary, tangy taste of the natural kombucha. The second fermentation adds more sugar and carbohydrates, making the kombucha out of reach for keto.
You must check the labels to see how much sugar and carbohydrates are in each specific kombucha, as well as to understand the serving size for the listed sugar and carb content. If you have a daily allowance of sugar and carbs, make sure you know how many ounces of kombucha you can consume while still remaining in ketosis. You likely will not be able to drink the entire bottle, as most kombucha bottles are two servings.
At Brew Dr. Kombucha, we never do a second fermentation to add sweetness and flavor. The only sugar in our kombucha is what is left over after fermentation. Our kombucha flavors are completely natural, as we steep organic fruits and botanicals in our brews during the fermentation process. All of our kombucha flavors have 6 grams of sugar or less per serving and 7 grams or less of carbohydrates.
It is recommended that keto dieters consume anywhere from 20 to 100 grams of net carbs a day. It is highly dependent on your body and the keto diet you choose as to how many carbs you can consume to enter into ketosis. Check with the specific keto diet you are on to determine how it calculates the number of carbs you are to consume. You can also reference online guides.
Even with the lowest allowed carb levels, you can see that at 7 grams or less of carbs per serving, you can enjoy Brew Dr. Kombucha on a keto diet. You may not be able to consume the entire bottle (sorry!), but you will be able to have a single serving or half-serving without busting your diet.