Kombucha has a relatively low sugar content and numerous benefits, so it’s a natural replacement for sugary sodas. Here are 6 reasons to make the switch.
Kombucha has been a clear leader in the search for healthy beverage alternatives. Enticed by features like probiotics and antioxidants, kombucha drinkers have helped make the beverage one of the fastest-growing drinks in the world. Even as we are still understanding the full health benefits of kombucha, it has become a popular way to take strides towards a healthier lifestyle.
It's also a way to turn away from old habits. Regular soda consumption is often associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, leaving a new generation of consumers looking for more nutritional alternatives. While soda consumption is still very high (particularly in the U.S.), soda has been on the decline since it peaked in 1999.
Kombucha's relatively low sugar content and health benefits make it a natural replacement for sugary sodas. Here are six reasons to consider swapping your soda for kombucha.
Monitoring your daily sugar intake is an important part of a healthy diet. Beyond the often-discussed health issues like diabetes and obesity, lowering sugar levels can decrease your risk of depression, liver issues, and problems with oral health. Replacing high-sugar sodas with lower-sugar, nutrient-rich drinks like raw kombucha is a huge step toward that healthier diet.
But does switching from soda to kombucha really help you lower your daily sugar intake? The answer is an emphatic yes. The flagship brands from the top soda makers have more than three grams of sugar per ounce, with all of the sugar being of the added variety. By comparison, many of the leading kombucha makers have roughly one-third the amount of sugar per ounce.
The other problem with soda is the size. A 12-ounce can of soda has plenty of sugar, but many soda drinkers drink 20-ounce bottles on a regular basis. The sugar in one 20-ounce bottle of regular soda is more than 100% of an adult's recommended daily sugar intake. By comparison, the average 14-ounce bottle of kombucha should have about one-quarter (or less) of the recommended amount of sugar in a day. Even without the other benefits associated with kombucha, the drop in sugar speaks for itself.
Soda makers have deployed a variety of artificial sweeteners to help consumers cut their sugar intake. But even though experts suggest this is a clear step in the right direction, artificial sweeteners bring other concerns. Gut health is one area that can be affected by sugar substitutes, particularly for those with bowel diseases and certain genetic disorders. Long-term daily use is even believed to be connected to an elevated risk of stroke.
Health researchers also worry about how artificial sweeteners can alter the palate. Consumers who are overly dependent on sugar substitutes can develop an increased desire for sweet foods and beverages, often making it difficult to consume the recommended amount of water. Studies have even shown that the brain can be disappointed by zero-calorie sugar substitutes, leading consumers to crave calories in other forms. This is part of why experts recommend using artificial sweeteners only on occasion.
Kombucha drinkers, meanwhile, enjoy a much different scenario. With a limited amount of sugar and no sugar substitutes, the leading kombuchas provide sweetness without the negative health effects associated with daily soda drinking. Despite a higher calorie count than a diet soda, kombucha doesn't distort taste buds or confuse the brain into looking for additional calories elsewhere.
We now have an excellent overview of what fermented beverages and foods can do for your overall health. A Stanford study demonstrated that fermented foods – including fermented teas like kombucha – can overhaul the gut microbiome and deliver a variety of benefits. The increase in gut microbe diversity points to lower inflammation levels in the body and even improved immune responses.
The enhancement in immunity isn't that surprising, considering that your gut holds 70% of your immune system. Researchers note that Americans in particular have a hard time with dietary diversity, which can lead to a gut microbe that isn't as diverse as it should be. Increasing gut diversity directly impacts immune cells, helping lower the risk of chronic disorders associated with high levels of inflammation. While a fiber-rich diet can also help, the Stanford study showed that fermented foods were even more effective at diversifying the gut.
That's why kombucha can help anyone who needs a boost in gut microbiome diversity. Switching from soda to kombucha can quickly boost your gut and encourage immune cells to improve their response. Although kombucha isn't enough to maximize gut health on its own, it's an excellent step in the right direction from sodas with little to no nutritional value.
Many kombucha drinkers are looking to add regular doses of probiotics to their diet. Some of the health benefits associated with probiotics include lower levels of:
But what exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are microorganisms in yeasts and bacteria that come with certain foods and beverages, providing a boost to gut health when consumed on a regular basis. They're considered a good form of bacteria that can help create a balance in your gut and facilitate digestion.
Improving digestion can have various benefits, including lowering stress levels. Researchers note that the "brain-gut axis" is a critical part of the body, connecting the psychological and the physical. While stress can cause digestive issues, digestive issues can also cause stress. Even though kombucha can't clear the psychological cobwebs (we don't think), it can boost gut health that can have many positive reverberations.
The type of probiotics included in kombucha can also vary. While the top kombucha producers tend to have naturally occurring probiotics, others add them after the fermentation process. Those looking for an organic boost should stick to traditional kombuchas that let the fermentation process dictate which live cultures make their way into the bottle.
Antioxidants have a similarly upbeat profile. Though we're in the early stages of understanding their impact, antioxidants are already associated with a range of positive health outcomes. Antioxidants are believed to lower the odds of muscular degeneration by as much as 25% while providing an overall bump in eye health. An antioxidant-rich diet can also help older adults avoid cataracts.
There are other correlations that have researchers excited about antioxidants. Antioxidants are connected to lower levels of oxidative stress, a cell-harming form of stress caused by free radicals. When free radicals are not effectively processed and removed from the body, it can lead to increased oxidated stress and a host of corresponding health issues. Elevated levels of oxidative stress can increase the risk of illnesses like heart disease and various forms of cancer.
More research is needed, but we know that kombucha helps moderate free radicals and improve oxidative stress levels. This is why researchers believe antioxidants help curb vision loss and likely have other health benefits. In time we will find out whether they are the super-vitamins researchers hope they are, but what we do know is already encouraging.
The established health benefits of kombucha are vast, but there's more to the story. Kombuchas can also be a fun way to change up the soda routine while encouraging even more positive health decisions. While soda tends to go with other high-sugar foods like ice cream, kombucha is much more versatile and can be a game-changer in the kitchen.
Consider the following ways to get creative with kombucha:
Kombucha and soda appear to have opposite trajectories. While kombucha gains in popularity, soda consumption has been steadily declining for decades. Swapping soda for kombucha can help you significantly lower your sugar intake while adding regular doses of probiotics and antioxidants to your diet. Add in the health benefits of fermented foods and it's easy to see a large nutritional divergence between the two beverages.
But drinking kombucha can also be a state of mind. Kombucha can supplement a healthy lifestyle in a variety of ways, encouraging drinkers to move away from high-sugar diets and embrace the versatility of fermented teas. Even if you still crave a soda every now and again, kombucha is an excellent way to enjoy full flavor on a regular basis without the myriad drawbacks associated with daily soda consumption.
Brew Dr’s traditional approach to kombucha brewing has made it a favorite among former soda drinkers. Our raw, organic, low sugar and probiotic-rich kombuchas come in a variety of flavors, with each one offering a unique taste. Choose your favorite kombucha flavor and swap out your high-sugar soda today!