As a healthy drink and good source of probiotics, you’re probably wondering if there’s a good relationship between kombucha and diabetes management. The fizzy nature of kombucha is promising for hopeful diabetics since it can resemble the taste of soda but in a healthier form.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that impairs the ability of the body to turn food into energy. Managing it takes a lot of precautions, starting from selecting ideal food options to checking the labels to check the sugar content.
Since kombucha is made of sweet tea, it’s only natural to doubt if it’s safe for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. In this post, discover if kombucha is a friend or a foe to diabetic patients and how it affects their health.
How does kombucha affect patients with diabetes?
Kombucha advocates claim that one of the health benefits of kombucha is improving the management of diabetes. Though there are no human trials done with kombucha to prove these health benefits, the results in animal testing provided promising results.
In an animal study conducted on diabetic rats, kombucha performed better than black tea in reducing blood sugar, delaying the absorption of LDL or bad cholesterol, and significantly increasing the HDL or good cholesterol of the rats. The improvement in the blood chemistry of the rats also provided some benefits to their liver-kidney functions.
How much sugar is there in kombucha?
Kombucha is made of sugar, green or black tea, and starter culture. In homebrewing, kombucha needs one cup of sugar mixed with the tea. The yeast in the culture of bacteria or SCOBY in kombucha feeds on the sugar and turns it into ethanol and carbon dioxide. It is the creature behind the alcohol content and fizziness of your booch.
Since kombucha is a product in the middle of the fermentation process, there will still be a bit of sugar in it, causing a perfect balance between the sweetness of the remaining sugar and the sourness from the acetic and lactic acid.
Sugar content of homebrewed kombucha vs. sugary drinks
The remaining sugar in an 8 oz. bottle of kombucha after the first fermentation is usually around 2g to 6g. The sugar level can even go down when the fermentation is extended for a few days. An 8oz. bottle of soda, on the other hand, contains 26g of sugar while fruit juices have 20g of sugar content.
So, if you’re wondering if kombucha is safe for diabetics, the answer is yes. It has 10% to 30% less sugar than other sugary beverages available on the market.
The two things that you only need to look out for are consuming your favorite booch in moderation and the sugar level on some flavored kombuchas. Most advocates consider kombucha diabetic-friendly not only because of its shy sweetness but also for its purported health benefits in managing Type 2 diabetes.
As of today, there is one ongoing study at the University of Missouri-Columbia dedicated to monitoring the impact of kombucha on the blood glucose of humans.
Note: If you are diabetic and doubtful about the effect of kombucha, consider consulting your doctor before trying out some kombucha brands.
Sugar content in store-bought kombucha
The sugar level in store-bought kombucha may vary depending on the fermentation process of the brand and the added sugar and flavors added. Most commercial kombucha producers add more sugar to the brew to enhance the flavor of their products.
We summed up 5 popular brands of kombucha and here’s what we found out:
- Remedy kombucha boasts a no sugar feature to their kombuchas, making its products the most diabetic-friendly in the market. They also offer the longest shelf-life
- Flavored options that made it to the list are Humm Ginger Juniper and Kevita Lime, Mint & Coconut flavor. If you’re looking for new flavors to challenge your palette, these non-conventional flavors from Humm and Kevita might surprise you.
- Holy Kombucha’s Moondance is also a fan favorite with its delectable flavor and fairly low sugar content.
Factors that affect the sugar content of kombucha
The sugar level control of homebrewed kombucha depends on how it is fermented. The fermentation process is usually affected by the following factors:
- Fermentation duration: The longer the fermentation, the lesser the sugar. The yeast will consume the sugar in kombucha until all that’s left is acetic and lactic acid.
- The health of the SCOBY: SCOBY is a starter culture that contains yeast and bacteria. It is the mushroom-like floaters that you usually find in kombucha brews. Though you can re-use them for your new batch of brews, old SCOBYS can become lethargic or less active than the newly formed ones. They can also die due to age and other external factors, resulting in sweet and improperly fermented kombucha tea.
- Temperature: There is a specific brewing temperature to maintain the ideal fermentation environment for kombucha. When the temperature is below 65 F, the bacteria in kombucha will work slower during the fermentation process. Their inactivity will not convert sugar into ethanol and the brew will remain sweeter than usual.
Kombucha recipe for diabetics
Add flavor to your usual kombucha brew with ingredients that help manage blood glucose levels. One of which is ginger. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties and components that help lower your blood sugar and manage diabetes. Here’s a simple recipe that you can try at home:
- 1 tbsp. Crushed ginger.
- 2 tbsp. Ginger juice.
- 1 Kombucha (finished the first fermentation).
- 1 small bottle for the second fermentation.
- Brew your kombucha for two weeks for the first fermentation.
- Transfer it to a small bottle for the second fermentation.
- Add the crushed or sliced ginger and its juice.
- Let it ferment for a few more days to make it fizzy and fun to drink.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do kombucha and metformin go well together?
Yes. Since kombucha is a probiotic, it does not affect the impact of metformin in diabetic patients. However, monitor your blood glucose level because it has the same effect as metformin in lowering blood sugar levels. One study on diabetic rats suggests that the snake fruit kombucha and metformin are at par when it comes to their anti-diabetic effects.
What is the best kombucha for diabetics?
The best kombucha for diabetics is homebrewed to help them control the sugar level of their brew. There are also some kombucha brands like Remedy which provide no sugar kombucha brews.
Does kombucha spike insulin?
Kombucha has the potential to increase insulin in diabetic patients, according to one animal study. It can help lower the blood sugar level and improve the absorption of HDL or good cholesterol while delaying the LDL or bad cholesterol. The probiotic content of kombucha also helps decrease intestinal damage that helps stop inflammation and insulin resistance.
Are there any kombucha dangers for diabetics?
If you are a diabetic, there are some risks that you have to consider when drinking kombucha. First, you have to consider the minimal sugar present in kombucha when taking your medications. You may also experience bloating due to the carbonation of the drink and GI problems due to its acid. You should also limit your intake to the recommended 12 oz. per day to be on the safe side.