Recently, I have been reading a lot about how Kombucha is the new weight loss wonder drink. New week - new weight loss wonder, right?
Let's investigate if Kombucha lives up to the hype.
Kombucha is being used in China for over 2000 years and for hundreds of years through Asia and Europe for its health benefits.
I drank and make my own Kombucha tea around 20 years ago. Now Kombucha is a trendy drink that is said to aid in weight loss. Is that true?
We have learned to think in categories of cause and effect. Risks and benefits. Therefore, we want to analyze and understand exactly how organic products work.
The advantage of industrially produced goods is that we know their chemical structures. We can investigate how the individual components act in the body and most of the time understand their biological action. Once we understand the biological action, we can conclude side effects and effects.
While synthetic remedies contain one or few active substances, natural components like Kombucha can contain up to 70 different substances. We cannot understand all the effects and interactions of the single components.
Just look at the market of synthetic vitamins, for example. That's a billion dollar business. Even though lots(!) of money went in researching how vitamins work, companies until this day could not provide a synthetic vitamin that delivers the same positive effects as i.e. an apple.
With organic substances, we have to accept that we will not fully understand how they work and have to trust our own observations and those of our elders.
That said, Russian scientists have done extensive research on the effects of Kombucha and I will share their findings with you.
We will look at
Kombucha is a functional food. Often referred to as "tea mushroom" it is really a "symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast" (SCOBY). Kombucha is being made by fermenting sweetened tea (green or black or a mix). The SCOBY spreads vegetatively through sprouting or partition (fission).
The SCOBY produces a gelatinous substance at the surface of the tea.
The color can range from pink to dark brown, depending on the tea you use and the environment (temperature, sugar). Also, every Scoby has its own character, and the Kombucha tastes slightly different.
The origin is probably China, where they used it for over 2000 years. In many European and Asian countries, Kombucha is seen as a medicine and power drink for hundreds of years.
Tea that has fermented to Kombucha tastes sweet-sour and vinegary. It contains bubbles. Also, it does contain a small amount of alcohol (similar to alcohol-free beer, app. 0.5%) so that it is not recommended for recovering alcoholics. Because it contains sugar, it is not suitable for diabetes patients.
The look of the SCOBY is irritating at first for most people. If your SCOBY had ears, it would be pretty painful for him. "Ugly pancake" is one of the nicer descriptions of people who see it for the first time.
Kombucha contains lots of bioactive substances: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, organic acids and trace elements. In Asia and Europe, Kombucha traditionally is used to harmonize the metabolism.
Russian scientists carried out extensive research (Litvinow, Zakmann, Danielova, Skarjan, Sukiasjan, Naumova, Barbancik, Konovalov, Ermoleva and others) and found evidence that the antibacterial features of Kombucha opens up a wide field of applications.
Opposite to other antibiotics, Kombucha does not come with side effects. Usnic acid is responsible for the antibacterial effect.The detoxifying effect is so strong that scientists found impressive amounts of exotoxins and pollutants (including heavy metals like mercury and lead) in the urine of test persons after they consumed Kombucha.
Kombucha is said to prevent and fight cancer. I will not dig into that because cancer is a life-threatening disease that has to be treated by experts. Recent studies suggest though that the active component in Kombucha is glucaric acid that is said to prevent cancer.In any way, it makes the liver work more efficient, as the glucaric acid is an inhibitor of bacterial enzymes that helps in eliminating glucuronic acid produced by the liver.
There are also some critical voices about Kombucha. One must not forget that a lot of the skepticism spread about Kombucha - like many other natural remedies - originates from sources that have their own agenda.A "warning article" (from a vendor of overpriced "wonder diet powder") I recently read made me write this article.
Vendors make billions of dollars with supplements, weight loss aids and wellness products. They have no interest in us switching to homemade remedies and solutions that cost pennies and takes business away from them. Those who are in favor of Kombucha mostly lack the funds to finance extensive scientific studies.
Let's just keep in mind that raw chicken can kill us and that contamination of food in unhygienic environments is a general problem - not a problem unique to Kombucha.
The common objections are:
Read the report of the BC Center of Disease Control HERE. In my personal view: If you conducted studies on any other food product from your kitchen, your findings would be that unsterile environments can cause contamination. Looking at the high number of food scandals and contaminants and harmful substances found in food of the big manufacturers, that does not seem to be a problem that only applies to "homemade" - or kombucha. Any product used wrong, produced wrong or produced in an unhygienic environment can lead to problems.
While mold could be an issue if your Kombucha is kept very cold or contaminated by dirty water etc - after over 20 years of experience I still have to see mold on my cultures. Should the rare case happen I figure throwing it out just like any other food that went bad will do the trick. I find these objections reassuring as it just shows that even when people try to find arguments against Kombucha they have a hard time coming up with more than arguments that apply to every chicken leg.
Put in perspective, I believe it is safe to say that Kombucha is unobjectionable and harmless.
For what it is worth: Kombucha has been safety checked by the FDA.
Kombucha is neither an appetite suppressant nor a meal replacement.
But the features of Kombucha make it a weight loss "weapon":
Kombucha is not the "new wonder diet" but America discovering an ancient remedy. None of this applies to store bought Kombucha!
When used for dieting, a glass of Kombucha like 30 minutes before dinner and lunch has shown the best results.
Objectively, Kombucha is great and effective for losing weight. This is backed up by lots of real success stories by people who use it.
Give it a try. You will notice the positive effects within 2 days.
Kombucha is very easy to make at home. It is also very inexpensive and low maintenance. I do not recommend the overpriced ready-made drinks from supermarkets. First of all, vendors had to change the recipe to remove/standardize the insignificant amount of alcohol. Second, "real" Kombucha continues to ferment. To make sure that vendors offer a consistent quality - even if the drink sits on the shelf for months - they had to further tweak the drink.
Basically, the Kombucha sold in stores is not "alive" anymore. That makes me doubt that the positive benefits are still provided. Also, Kombucha drinks sold in stores are often overly sweet. They are pasteurized. Pasteurization kills beneficial micro-organisms.
Personally, I did not notice any positive effects from ready-made Kombucha I bought from stores and consumed in restaurants.
Every article on how to make Kombucha will tell you a bit of a different recipe. They all work because your SCOBY does not demand much more than a warm place, a clean storage to ferment, sweetened tea and a bit of time.
The only thing I disagree with: Most recipes will advise that you let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes. That is too short. You should let it steep for at least 15 minutes as the SCOBY feeds on the ingredients dissolved from the tea leaves.
Do not use flavored tea.
If you worry about the exorbitant amount of sugar: Your SCOBY will "eat" most of it. The end product is only lightly sweet. When you add too little sugar your SCOBY will be hungry and your Kombucha will have a very vinegary taste. You can use regular white sugar, but you will have the best results with cane sugar, organic sugar. All you need to get started:
How to ferment your own tea:
As mentioned before, Kombucha is not only very uncomplicated to make but also very inexpensive.
Find everything you need to get started HERE
As mentioned before, I am drinking Kombucha for about 20 years now. My personal experience, and the experience of clients and friends, is only positive.
Used in the Asian culture for hundreds of years for its health benefits, we can make Kombucha at home easy and inexpensive.
The drink is very helpful for anyone who wants to aid their digestion and strengthen the immune system. Anti-inflammatory features enhanced metabolism and liver function help to lose weight and result in normalized appetite.
Therefore, Kombucha is a helpful diet drink.
Questions? Drop me an email.
And if you are looking to lose weight, I recommend you reserve your spot in this free webinar HERE