Does Kombucha help you lose weight?

Is diet drink Kombucha just a trend?

Kombucha and Weight Loss Ingredients

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?

Preamble: Limits of our analytical thinking

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

  • What is Kombucha?
  • What benefits does it have?
  • Different opinions
  • Does it aid in weight loss?
  • How can I make my own Kombucha?
  • Where can I get supplies

What is Kombucha?

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.

SCOBY for making Kombucha for loosing weight

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.

Benefits of Kombucha

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.

  • Kombucha has strong detoxifying features
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Aids digestion
  • Natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory
  • Antiviral
  • Helpful for people suffering from arteriosclerosis and hypertonia
  • Supports the nervous system
  • Enhances the absorption of iron

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.

Different opinions

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:

  • Contains minimal alcohol
  • Contamination possible in unhygienic environments
  • Can mold

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 and Weight Loss

Kombucha is neither an appetite suppressant nor a meal replacement.

But the features of Kombucha make it a weight loss "weapon":

  • Strong detoxifying effect supports the liver that consequently has more capacity for working on fat.
  • Poor digestion is a common reason for weight gain. Kombucha helps with that.
  • Balances intestinal flora.
  • Regulates appetite (also helpful for underweight people!), reduces cravings.
  • Speeds up metabolism.

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.

Making your own Kombucha

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:

  • 1 SCOBY (will reproduce itself)
  • Sugar (preferably organic, raw sugar)
  • Black or green tea (or both, organic.... I use black tea only)
  • Glass container for fermentation
  • Bottles to store the drink (I advise to use glass bottles)
  • Kitchen linen/cheesecloth or paper towel
  • A rubber ring
  • Optional: Strainer

How to ferment your own tea:

  1. Wash your hands for at least 2 minutes without soap. You can use a bit of vinegar, just no soap, especially not antibacterial soap.
  2. Clean fermentation glass/container with hot water to remove any chemical residue and clean a pot that can hold a gallon of water.
    Do not use dishwashing detergent or any other chemicals. Your SCOBY is very sensitive to chemicals.
  3. Pour a gallon of (filtered if you can or else unfiltered) water into the pot and let the water cook for 3-5 minutes. Many people skip that step and just pour boiling water over their tea. As far as I know, with the same excellent results.
  4. Add black or green tea or both (6-8 bags per gallon). Loose leaves are often of higher quality, but tea bags will work just fine.
    Either way, use boiling water. Steep for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Dissolve sugar (1 cup per gallon).
  6. Let the sweetened tea cool down and pour over your SCOBY.
    Never use hot tea!
  7. Fixate paper towel, cheesecloth or kitchen linen with a rubber ring on opening. The SCOBY should be able to breathe and be protected from fruit flies.
  8. Wait 6-12 days. At a room temperature of over 20 degrees celsius, the fermentation process will be quicker while at a colder place it might take over 6 days. You will soon get a feeling for the right time. If you want to be sure you can use test stripes (you will find in the store below).
  9. Leave at least 10% of the fermented tea drink with your SCOBY (20-30% of the liquid will result in the faster fermentation of the next batch).
  10. Enjoy the remaining 90% and ...


  1. Clean your SCOBY with water. Remove discolored spaces if you like.
  2. Put your SCOBY in the liquid you left over (the more of the finished Kombucha you add, the faster the fermentation process starts) with the lighter side (freshly grown) up.
  3. Wash the SCOBY every time with water; wash the jar every few weeks.

General notes:

  • Store the finished product in the refrigerator. Else it will continue to ferment fast.
  • Depending on your room temperature, the Kombucha will ferment faster (warm) or slower (cold).
  • SCOBY should NOT be stored in the refrigerator, only the finished product.
  • Your SCOBY can look weird in different ways. He might look bubbly or discolored. All of that is fine.
  • Your SCOBY might sink to the bottom or swim on top. Both is fine. If it sinks to the bottom, a new one will grow on top.
  • Do not drink before 6 days.
  • If your Kombucha tastes too vinegary, you did not use enough sugar (and your SCOBY was starving).
  • Should your Kombucha ever smell weird or not produce a new gelatine layer, pour the Kombucha away, add 2-3 tablespoons of (organic!) vinegar and restart.
  • Your SCOBY grows in light or dark spaces but should not stand directly in the sun.
  • Treat him well and your SCOBY can last a lifetime.
  • If you are going on vacation for a few weeks: No problem. Just leave your SCOBY at a cooler place and pour the "overripe" Kombucha away when you are back home and restart the culture.
  • If your SCOBY gets too thick and big, just remove the darker (older) side. Do that eventually, as the SCOBY will grow too big.
  • You will read different recommendations on how much you should drink. While you should start with a little to offer your body the time to get used to the fermented drink, you can basically drink as much as you want.

Kombucha supplies

As mentioned before, Kombucha is not only very uncomplicated to make but also very inexpensive.

Find everything you need to get started HERE

Final Verdict

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.

Order Kombucha

And if you are looking to lose weight, I recommend you reserve your spot in this free webinar HERE