Kombucha is currently one of the trendiest drinks in the market, but it has been around for more than 2,000 years. You may have heard a thing or two about its many benefits, and one that most people are interested in is its weight loss potential.
But is there any truth to this claim? If so, when is the best time to drink kombucha for weight loss? Here is what you need to know:
What Is Kombucha?
Kombucha is simply a fermented tea. Originating in Northeast China, it is made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast.
The bacteria and yeast called SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) are placed in the sweetened tea mixture and left to ferment at room temperature for 1-3 weeks and then bottled for 1-2 weeks.
The fermentation process produces acidic compounds, including acetic acid, that leaves the beverage with carbonation and a distinct taste similar to apple cider vinegar with a little bit of kick.
Drinks that are fermented are good for the microbiome and gut health.
Kombucha’s nutritional facts may vary depending on the brand and even the ones that are homemade brews. Once kombucha is brewed, its components include:
- Ethanol – kombucha’s alcohol content is minimal, with most brews containing around 0.5%.
- Carbon Dioxide/Carbonic Acid – the yeast produces carbon dioxide as they digest the sugars during the fermentation process, making it fizzy.
- Sugar – this is added to feed yeasts and bacteria.
- Vitamins – after the breakdown of sugars by yeast, it releases some vitamins, mainly B vitamins and C vitamins.
- Acetic Acid – this comes from the vinegar that is added to the brew to aid in the fermentation process. Some acetic acid is also produced during the fermentation process.
- Lactic Acid – is also produced during fermentation and contributes to the laxative effect you may experience after drinking kombucha.
- Lactase & Invertase – these are enzymes that break down sugars.
- Acids – contains several acids such as amino, gluconic, glucuronic, and others.
- Caffeine – a small amount from black tea or green tea.
- Cellulose – contains some bits of cellulose, which appear as little particles in the kombucha brew.
Health Benefits Of Kombucha
There aren’t a lot of studies about the numerous health claims of drinking kombucha. However, like all other fermented foods, kombucha is a great source of healthy probiotics. The fermentation makes probiotics which are live microorganisms that are important for your gut’s health. The potential benefits of kombucha are:
- Healthy Gut – as a source of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) and acid, it plays a significant role in the digestion of food1. This helps to keep your gut healthy and happy.
- Mental Health – because it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory bodies, it helps to reduce depression and anxiety2,3.
- Reduced Heart Diseases Risks – kombucha significantly decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it decreases the level of cholesterol4.
- Reduces Type 2 Diabetes – it notably decreases glycosylated haemoglobin and increases plasma insulin5. A study on type 2 diabetes mice suggested kombucha may be introduced as a new functional drink for prevention and treatment6.
How Does It Help In Losing Weight?
If you are thinking about drinking kombucha and assume it will magically make you lose weight, it doesn’t. It is not to be treated as a miracle weight loss drink.
Consider kombucha as an aid to lose weight indirectly. It may be helpful for weight loss for its:
- Low-calorie Content – a cup of kombucha only contains about 30 calories. Consuming kombucha is an ideal replacement for carbonated drinks or calorically-dense fruit juices.
- Energy Boosting – the organic acids in kombucha make iron more easily accessible to your body. This increases both your oxygen flow and your blood hemoglobin levels. An energy boost is a great way not to feel lethargic and helps encourage you to exercise.
- Curbing Appetite – the most abundant organic acid found in kombucha is acetic acid. It is known to impact insulin sensitivity and help reduce blood sugars positively. Though many factors impact your weight loss process, glucose and blood-sugar regulation contribute to your body’s ability to utilize fat as fuel rather than storing it.
When Is The Best Time To Drink Kombucha For Weight Loss?
It is recommended to drink kombucha 10-15 minutes before your meal to stimulate weight loss. Sour and acidic foods usually curb your appetite, while the carbonation in kombucha helps to fill your belly and sends signals to your body that it is more full.
However, drinking kombucha alone will not result in weight loss. It can only be a helpful tool in your overall weight loss process. Nothing can replace a healthy lifestyle and a diet that is well-balanced overall.
Other Times Of The Day To Drink Kombucha
Depending on your goal, you can drink kombucha any time you like. When to drink kombucha to get the most out of its content has more to do with your preferences and will also depend on your health.
DRINK KOMBUCHA IN THE MORNING
Not everyone is a morning person, and most people prefer drinking coffee to help kick-start their day. Drinking kombucha in the morning is a great alternative because it contains a small amount of caffeine. This means you can have that added boost without the dreaded caffeine crash.
It is also suggested that consuming kombucha on an empty stomach may help balance your gut bacteria to aid digestion throughout the day. However, if you drink kombucha on an empty stomach in the morning and aren’t yet accustomed to these probiotics, you may experience an upset stomach.
When you do finally get used to drinking kombucha, drinking it on an empty stomach is the best way to maximize the potency of the probiotics.
DRINKING KOMBUCHA AS A SNACK
Another great time to drink kombucha is as a snack in between meals. As a tasty treat, choosing to drink kombucha can help you avoid unhealthy choices like sugary drinks or snacks while satisfying your cravings and also helping to rebalance your gut.
PAIR KOMBUCHA WITH YOUR MEALS
Kombucha comes in so many different flavors and flavor combinations. It can make for a wonderful complement to any meal or an addition to various recipes. The carbonation of kombucha may also make you feel more full, which can be useful if your goal is weight loss.
DRINK KOMBUCHA IN THE EVENING OR AT NIGHT
If you are looking to drink alcohol or soda at night for some chill time, try to use kombucha as a substitute for these unhealthy beverages. You can drink kombucha with or after dinner as a bubbly treat, which can still be satisfying. Over time, you might just get used to drinking kombucha that you might eventually stop drinking sodas and alcohol altogether.
Be advised that if you want to consume kombucha at night, remember that it contains caffeine. Although it only contains a small amount, if you are caffeine sensitive, it’s best not to consume kombucha in the hours before bed as you may find it difficult to sleep.
Adverse Effects Of Drinking Kombucha
As with all products, even if manufacturers claim kombucha to be safe, it’s best to err on the side of caution. It has several side effects when consumed in large quantities. They include the following:
- Digestive Upset – you may experience digestive upset if you ingest too much kombucha. Symptoms such as gas, nausea, and vomiting may occur when it comes to a fermented drink or fermented food. It is recommended to be slow and steady for good gut health. Additionally, drinking heavy doses of kombucha won’t improve your gut health faster. Instead, drink a small glass daily to transform and grow your gut’s microbiome slowly.
- Excess Calorie Consumption – while kombucha is typically low in calories, some are 120 calories per bottle. If you are not careful to check its ingredients list, consuming kombucha daily may contribute to excess calorie consumption, which can lead to weight gain.
- Infection Risks – in certain situations, kombucha may not be right for people with sensitive immune systems. Since kombucha is unpasteurized and contains a mix of different types of bacteria and yeasts, the same environment during fermentation may allow some harmful microbes to grow or leave space for these microbes to contaminate. If you have a weak immune system or a chronic condition affecting your immune system, you may want to avoid kombucha.
The Bottom Line
Kombucha is a great drink to include in any weight loss journey and includes many potential health benefits. Despite its sour taste, it has continued to be widely popular and is a great supplement for unhealthy beverages.
Ultimately, the best time to drink kombucha is on an empty stomach as you begin a meal. As for the exact time, it is all based on your health goals, unique body composition, and how it makes you feel.
Lastly, it is essential to remember that while there have been studies on kombucha and its potential benefits, it isn’t recommended for everyone to consume. In addition, not all studies have been done on humans, and much more research has to be done to understand it’s benefits fully.
1 Buckles, S. (June 13, 2018). Mayo Clinic discovery is first step toward new bacteria-based constipation treatment. Retrieved from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-discovery-is-first-step-toward-new-bacteria-based-constipation-treatment/
2 Jakubczyk K, Kałduńska J, Kochman J, Janda K. Chemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of the Kombucha Beverage Derived from White, Green, Black and Red Tea. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 May 22;9(5):447. doi: 10.3390/antiox9050447. PMID: 32455926; PMCID: PMC7278673.
3 Bouayed J, Rammal H, Soulimani R. Oxidative stress and anxiety: relationship and cellular pathways. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2009 Apr-Jun;2(2):63-7. doi: 10.4161/oxim.2.2.7944. PMID: 20357926; PMCID: PMC2763246.
4 Jessica Martínez Leal, Lucía Valenzuela Suárez, Rasu Jayabalan, Joselina Huerta Oros & Anayansi Escalante-Aburto (2018) A review on health benefits of kombucha nutritional compounds and metabolites, CyTA – Journal of Food, 16:1, 390-399, DOI: 10.1080/19476337.2017.1410499
5 Thummala Srihari, Krishnamoorthy Karthikesan, Natarajan Ashokkumar, Uppala Satyanarayana. Antihyperglycaemic efficacy of kombucha in streptozotocin-induced rats. Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 5, Issue 4. 2013, Pages 1794-1802, ISSN 1756-4646, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2013.08.008
6 Xu S, Wang Y, Wang J, Geng W. Kombucha Reduces Hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes of Mice by Regulating Gut Microbiota and Its Metabolites. Foods. 2022 Mar 5;11(5):754. doi: 10.3390/foods11050754. PMID: 35267387; PMCID: PMC8909623.