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It’s a hot trend – kombucha for weight loss. More people are guzzling this fermented beverage to get an edge on losing body fat and getting leaner. But does kombucha live up to the weight loss hype or is it another fad that has little science to back it up? Before buying into the hype, let’s look at what science says about kombucha and weight loss.
What is Kombucha?
Before drinking a beverage, you need to know more about it has a long history behind it, being a favorite among the Chinese for many centuries, since 221 B.C. But you might wonder exactly what kombucha is.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with tea and sugar. It is created by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to green or black tea. Most of the bacteria and yeast are in the liquid, but a small amount floats to the top of the tea. The microorganisms, bacteria and yeast, are responsible for the fermentation process that gives kombucha its distinctive properties.
These microorganisms convert some of the sugars in the tea to lactic acid, creating a slightly acidic beverage with a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. Lactic acid is also present, and the combination of the two helps to preserve the tea and keep it from fermenting too quickly.
Once fermented, kombucha has a fizzy “texture” due to the gases formed during the fermentation process. It also contains a small amount of alcohol that the bacteria produce during the fermentation process.
Some people like its slightly sour but sweet taste and the carbonation that makes it a good substitute for carbonated beverages. Some sources claim that it boosts energy and that’s not surprising since the tea used to make kombucha contains caffeine.
But what about weight loss? Can you lose weight by drinking kombucha?
Kombucha for Weight Loss
It’s not a stretch to say that kombucha COULD help with weight loss. Tea, particularly green tea contains polyphenols, which some studies suggest could modestly help with weight loss by modestly boosting resting metabolic rate. In fact, studies show drinking green tea elevates resting metabolic rate between 3% and 8%.
This means you may burn a few more calories each day if you drink. Plus, green tea is a healthy beverage that may lower the risk of some health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, although this needs more research.
Kombucha, Probiotics, and Weight Loss
Another way drinking kombucha may slim your waistline is from the probiotics it contains. These are healthy gut bacteria that support intestinal health. Some studies suggest that maintaining a diverse gut microbiome may help with weight control.
For example, slimmer people tend to have greater gut microbiome diversity relative to those who are overweight or obese. Yet this doesn’t prove that probiotics cause weight loss, only that there’s an association. Still, the probiotics in kombucha help rebalance the gut microbiome and that may be favorable for health overall.
More Kombucha, Fewer Soft Drinks
The real benefits may come from substituting kombucha for other high-calorie beverages, such as soft drinks and smoothies. Most people drink far more calories than they think they do. While soft drinks are high in sugar and a 12-ounce can contains around 150 calories, kombucha tea has only around 30 calories per serving. So, if you replace soft drinks with kombucha, you could see a drop in body weight over time.
Can Kombucha Help You Lose Weight?
The answer to the kombucha and weight loss question is maybe. If drinking kombucha crowds other sugary beverages out of your diet, you could see your weight fall. But drinking kombucha probably won’t be enough to impact your body weight longer-term by itself. Smart choices, good nutrition, and moving your body more still count and there’s no substitute for the basics.
Enjoy kombucha as a healthier substitute for other sugary beverages but ignore the hype about it being a “miracle drink,” or a weight-loss beverage. Such claims rarely live up to the hype, which is not to say you can’t enjoy drinking kombucha and the probiotics it offers. If you enjoy it, drink it in moderation and drink fewer soft drinks!
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- “How Green Tea Can Help You Lose Weight – Healthline.” 15 Oct. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-tea-and-weight-loss.
- “Could probiotics treat obesity? – Medical News Today.” 24 Mar. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/could-probiotics-treat-obesity.