Is Kombucha Keto? Bottled Keto friendly drinks abound, and if you choose the right ones they can make your keto diet more enjoyable as well as successful.
Everyone knows that sugar laden sodas, sweet tea and sweet coffee is verboten on keto, but that doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself to water or black coffee.
There are plenty of sugar free sodas that can quench your thirst: Although most sweeteners aren’t that great for your health, a diet soda is way better than a regular one.
However, if you’re looking for a drink that isn’t just not bad for you but actually can do you some good, a kombucha drink might fit the bill.
What is Kombucha
Kombucha is a drink that can be prepared at home or store bought.
All Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea. By adding sugar, the tea is able to use yeast and bacteria to ferment ( known as a SCOBY culture)
Fortunately for keto dieters, this process will remove most of the sugar although some will always remain.
To produce Kombucha, sugar is dissolved in boiling water before tea leaves are left to soak in the mixture.
The tea leaves are then discarded and the SCOBY culture is added. This is then left to ferment naturally for a period of up to 10 to 14 days at room temperature.
Following this, a new “daughter” SCOBY will form on the surface of the tea. When fermentation is completed, the SCOBY is removed and stored along with a small amount of the newly fermented tea for the next batch.
Moreover, kombucha is claimed to have many health benefits including some probiotic properties (1) Other benefits are:
The exact sugar content in a fully fermented kombucha will vary from one manufacturer to another.
In some cases more sugar can be added to sweeten the tea.
However, some commercial kombucha teas may have undergone a further fermenting process where different fruits or flavorings are added to mask the natural rather vinegary taste.
Unfortunately for keto dieters, both of these methods will result in a higher sugar content in the finished kombucha and would not be recommended with the keto diet.
If you do choose to buy one of these drinks, you’ll need to carefully check the carb count on the label, which will vary from one brand to the next.
Keto friendly Kombucha
You’ll need to avoid any kombucha drinks that have ingredients you can’t pronounce let alone are familiar with. Consider looking out for the most natural product available.
As with other food choices, always go with a quality product.
To be safe, you’ll need to look out for unflavored kombucha, or one that has used a minimum of natural fruits for flavoring.
It’s sometimes possible to find a drink with just a few carbs, and you could adjust the rest of your daily intake to take account of the kombucha.
However, generally this approach isn’t recommended, and its rarely a healthy idea to take your carbs as a drink.
Making kombucha at home
The only way to be sure that you’re getting a kombucha that isn’t going to put you over your daily carb limit is to make it yourself at home.
This isn’t as difficult as it would at first seem, and you can be in control of all the ingredients.
You should try to frement the tea for longer than normal, with a 20 -30 day fermenting time producing a drink with a much reduced sugar content.
Take care when doing this, because if you overdo the brewing time, a kombucha with an ultra low or zero sugar count would be terrable to taste.
Another good tip is to slightly water down your kombucha, especially if you’re new to this drink. This will naturally lower the sugar content. If you don’t add too much water, you’ll probably scarcely notice the difference.
Finally, you could try adding some keto friendly sweeteners such as erythritol or monk fruit. Make sure you don’t try sweeteners for the fermenting process as only sugar will work for this.
You could also experiment by adding slightly less sugar at the very start of the fermenting process.
One of the most healthy ways of flavoring your kombucha would be to add the super supplement Turmeric. Turmeric is an anti inflammatory and has multiple health benefits.
Basic keto friendly Kombucha Recipe
There are countless recipes on the internet for making your own kombucha at home. Here is one of the easiest, and it will give about 1 gallon/ 3.8 liters of kombucha.
It’s super quick and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to prepare, followed by 20 minutes to cook.
1 gallon/3.8 liters of pure or chlorine free water.
6 tea bags
4 -6 teaspoons loose-leaf tea
1 cup/200g sugar
1 – 2 cups/250- 500ml starter liquid
Kombucha culture (SCOBY)
Optional keto flavorings
Boil the water and add the tea, brewing for about 10 -15 minutes, remove tea.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Once the liquid is just warm add the SCOBY and the starter liquid
Cover with a cloth and rubber band and place in a warm ( 80°F/ 27°C) ventilated area out of direct sunlight for about 21 days, or longer if you want to reduce the sugar content – taste every few days.
Set aside the SCOBY and 2 cups of starter liquid for your next batch.
Flavor with turmeric, ginger or cinnamon. Experiment and decide which you enjoy the most.
Storing your kombucha
Choose any glass container and ensure that the container is air tight. This will keep the kombucha better carbonated.
The flip top glass bottles are great for this purpose.
Normally, you should aim to use your kombucha within 14 days.
Ready made Kombucha and Kombucha kits
There are various Kombucha kits on the market. Amazon sells several such as these:
Alternately, some store bought options may hit the spot, but remember to check the carb count as this will vary from one brand to the other.
Which ever way you decide to go, kombucha can be keto friendly and has proven multiple health benefits.