Kombucha – great for gut health… but what about the sugar?

Fermented foods are beneficial for general health, and one of the great ways to keep your gut healthy is through drinking Kombucha. For those who are new to this, Kombucha is a fermented tea-based beverage. It is made using a starter mushroom called a “SCOBY” that activates and propels the tea-based drink (by eating sugar) to become a gut-healing beverage. As well as promoting gut health, Kombucha also does the following:
  • It detoxifies the body
  • It supports the nervous system
  • It’s anti-aging and supports the joints
  • It’s anti-microbial
  • It decreases sugar cravings
One of the concerns people often have with Kombucha is the sugar needed to make it. The sugar in Kombucha is essential as that is what the SCOBY feeds off, creating fermentation and a bunch of wonderful bacteria. We recommend using organic white sugar where possible. Through the fermentation process the sugar largely disappears and ideally you are left with 1 per cent sugar. In a 100ml serve that’s about ¼ of a teaspoon of sugar, or 1/8 teaspoon of fructose. Be aware that many pre made bottles of Kombucha have higher levels of sugar so try and find one that is less than 5g per 100ml. Also remember, 100ml is all you would need in a day to get a good dose of the benefits of Kombucha. If you are making your own you could do a taste test after around day 4 or 5 at which stage the brew will be still be slightly sweet but with a good hint of tartness. To get down to under 10g of sugar per litre (i.e. 1%) the brew should be left until around day 7 to 10 (based on an average temperature of 24 degrees). If fermented longer the sugar levels may be even lower but be prepared for a tart tasting brew. Although, there is a small amount of sugar left after the fermentation process if you stick to around 100ml a day then you will be consuming minimal amounts of sugar and it is definitely worth the amount of goodness you get!   Words by Janine Tait.