What’s with The Kombucha Sugar?
Is There Sugar in Kombucha?
One of the main reasons people drink kombucha is because it is a flavor-packed beverage that is relatively low in sugar. Sodas, juices, and many coffee and tea beverages can be loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. Experts have their opinions on many things, but reducing these ingredients in our diets is a recommendation they can all agree upon.
We often get asked about whether there is any sugar in our kombucha. First of all, we can honestly say there is. But, we want to explain why the role of sugar is so important in our kombucha. It isn’t there to sweeten it as much as it is to foster the fermentation process.
The Fermentation Process
Fermentation can only occur when sugar (glucose) is converted to alcohol. This anaerobic reaction combines molecules of glucose (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) with enzymes in yeast to form alcohol. Beer and wine also go through this process.
Related: Kombucha 101
Plenty of factors influence the production of kombucha. Brew Dr. Kombucha begins with our own Townsend Teahouse blends, a small amount of sugar, and organic herbs, fruits and spices with the right temperatures, time and environment. These catalysts all come together to give us the slightly fizzy, slightly vinegary, slightly sweet wonder we call Brew Dr. Kombucha. None of it would be possible without a little sugar to get the fermentation process going.
What’s the Kombucha Sugar Content?
Not all kombuchas are made the same or with the same ingredients, making it impossible to give a single answer to how much sugar is in kombucha. You can read labels to find out the sugar content of any product, but we’ll save you the time and tell you about our ingredients.
All of our kombucha flavors, 12 and counting, contain 6 grams or less of sugar per 7 fluid ounces. That’s just over a teaspoon per bottle. For comparison, a can of Coca-Cola Classic has 35 grams of sugar or about seven teaspoons. Juice, a beverage many believe to be a better option, has 24 grams of sugar in a single cup. That’s six teaspoons of sugar in 8 fluid ounces.
Coffee drinks can be sugar bombs, too. A popular caramel blended coffee drink has 66 grams of sugar in a standard 16-ounce cup, totally nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar!
The American Heart Association recommends consumers limit their sugar intake to only six teaspoons per day for women and nine teaspoons per day for men. Beyond adding unneeded calories to the diet, the American Diabetes Association says sugary drinks like sodas, punch and juices, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweet tea are associated with type 2 diabetes.
But Wait! There’s More.
Did you know some other kombucha manufacturers add additional sugar, juices, concentrates and/or artificial sweeteners to their kombucha after it’s fermented? These added ingredients are not to foster the fermentation process but to add sweetness and flavor to the brews.
When reading labels, be sure to look at the sugar content as well as the ingredients. Sugar can come in many forms, such as fructose, corn syrup, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose and sucrose. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, and isomalt. There are artificial sweeteners to contend with as well, such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.
So, yes, kombucha does contain sugar, but you can choose one that meets your daily sugar intake goals. Check the labels. Read ingredients. Taste the product. In the end, it’s up to you to determine what’s right for your body. At Brew Dr. Kombucha, we believe our brews deliver all of the flavor and benefits with just a smidge of the sugar required to make our brew the fermented love in a bottle that it is. Hope you enjoy!