Kombucha is extremely flexible, pairing well with nearly any meal or type of food. That flexibility means it’s also a great fit for those choosing a specific diet, either as a permanent lifestyle (paleo, vegan, traditional, etc.) or as a temporary means to lose weight and get healthy. Still, new diets come along all the time, and one of the more popular these days is the Ketogenic, aka “keto.” But is Kombucha keto friendly? Will Kombucha knock you out of ketosis?
*NOTE: The below tips are for making Kombucha with less sugar, which can be applied to any diet choice, not just keto, or if for any reason you have sugar sensitivity.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet prescribes a low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) nutrient balance to put the body into “ketosis.” In this state, the body uses fat stores as fuel rather than burning sugar (carbohydrates). The specific ratio of low carbs, moderate proteins and high fats triggers ketosis, which can be detected using blood, breath or urine testers that measure ketones. Once in ketosis, as the idea goes, the body’s roller coaster of crashes and cravings comes to an end.
Is the Keto Diet Safe?
As with anything relatively new, the keto diet has many advocates and detractors, both with compelling arguments. That said, low carb/high fat diets have been popular before (Atkins), and limiting added sugar intake in general is a good tenet to live by.
Diet is one of the most confusing issues we face, and modern science is finally coming to the conclusion that there will never be a one size fits all solution (for food or healthcare). So if you believe the keto diet may help you, consult with your healthcare provider first and then trust your gut!
KMAMMA SEZ…Whether it’s as simple as a candle or as radical as biodiesel, fat is a wonderful store of energy. Unleashing that power in the service of running the body sounds like a great idea, rather than relying on replenishing sugar levels constantly. But eating fat makes you fat, right? As it turns out, not so much. Instead, eating excess sugar and carbs turns out to be the cause. In fact, many of our most vital nutrients are “fat-soluble” which means they need to be consumed with fat in order for the body to assimilate them. So go ahead and drizzle that salad with oil and add a pat of butter to your veggies; not only does it taste good but it’s better for you!
- Healthy fats = lard (yes lard!), tallow, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, fish oil, flaxseed oil, nut oils
- AVOID = soybean oil, vegetable oil, canola oil
Is Kombucha Allowed on Keto Diet?
The main question about Kombucha and keto is the sugar content. Kombucha needs fermentable sugar to brew, it cannot be made without sugar of some kind. Also there is some residual sugar in Kombucha, depending on how long it brews, which makes the acids palatable.
Click Here for more about Kombucha & Sugar
As long as the amount of sugar in your Kombucha is not higher than the allowable limits in your diet, it’s a great beverage option. There are some keto friendly Kombucha brands that use a variety of techniques for brewing. However recipes are changing all the time, so it’s difficult to list them here. The good news is that all commercial Kombucha brands are required to list the sugar content on the bottle. So if you are buying it at the store, check the amounts and limit how much you drink to match your desired goals.
Homebrew Keto Friendly Kombucha Recipe
Making your own keto-friendly Kombucha at home allows you to use a few different techniques, either on their own or in combination, to create your ideal recipe.
Click Here for the Basic Kombucha Recipe Here
1. Brew Longer To Reduce Sugar
For a 1-gallon batch brew in the optimal temperature range (75-85F), most people find the most delicious flavor between 7-14 days. However, the longer we brew, the lower the sugar levels. Brewing for 21-30 days will produce a much lower sugar content, around half of a normal brew.
The issue is then one of taste. Many newbies find they prefer a “younger” Kombucha initially. More seasoned drinkers often gravitate towards “older” booch the longer they home brew. That said, we don’t want to reduce the sugar content to zero. The acids would taste terrible and make the beverage impossible to enjoy.
As always, tasting each day is the best way to determine when the brew is right for you.
For the best flavor with maximum acids, switch from batch brewing to Continuous Brew. Click Here to Learn More.
2. Mix With Unsweetened Tea Or Water (Flat Or Sparkling) To Dilute
Another technique which is also great for helping newbies enjoy the booch, is to dilute the Kombucha with water. Not only does it reduce the amount being consumed (ergo fewer carbs), it also shifts the acidity level making it more palatable.
Since most water is filtered, distilled or in some way treated, adding to Kombucha is an excellent way to make it more refreshing and easier for the body to enjoy. Iced tea is also a great mixer as the alkalinity balances the acidity of Kombucha.
3. Flavor With Herbs, Flowers, Stevia, Monk Fruit, Or Other Low And Non-Caloric Sweeteners
Avoid juice, syrups, or other flavorings with sugar. This may seem obvious but use flavors without sugar and your overall sugar levels will be lower. There are so many great flavoring options, and you can use essentially anything that you’d like to try!
4. Use Less Sugar To Start – As Little As ½ Cup (But Be Ready For Less Flavor)
While the standard recipe calls for 1 cup (200g) per gallon (about 4 liters), it is possible to start with less. Cutting that amount to ¾ or even ½ will will lower residual amounts after brewing. On the other side of the coin, it will also deplete the nutrients for the organisms which will impact the flavor making for a weaker brew and SCOBY.
Have you tried Kombucha on keto? Leave a comment below! 🙂
LoriFebruary 20, 2023 at 3:58 am
Thank you. If you are planning to brew longer and dilute with regular tea, do you need more flavorings for second fermentation? I have never made before. I am interested, but thought it kombucha was bit keto friendly,
JessApril 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm
Thank you so much for this info! I have been eating low carb for years – almost as long as I’ve been brewing KT. I’ve done carb cycling for years and recently began eating full keto: I was very concerned about how kombucha would fit into this new lifestyle. But I’m safe! I prefer my KT on the acidic side of the flavor range and typically brew around 21 days. Reducing my initial sugar is all it took to have a keto-friendly home brew. Thanks so much, Hannah! You’re the best!
KarenAugust 2, 2021 at 3:50 am
I’m trying to make a keto kombucha now using mostly inulin as the sugar. Plus 2 TBSPNs sugar. Any thought on whether this will work, or how to make it work?
Hannah CrumNovember 2, 2021 at 4:16 pm
if it isn’t fermentable, then it may not work – could always give it a try w a spare SCOBY from your hotel – let us know how it turns out!
Hannah CrumMay 30, 2023 at 12:30 pm
How did the experiment turn out Karen?
DebbieJune 12, 2021 at 9:08 am
Monk Fruit. I know artificial sweeteners don’t cut it- but what about MONK FRUIT?
I can not tolerate sugar …
Hannah CrumJune 27, 2021 at 1:30 pm
You can use it to sweeten, but it is not fermentable.
Stacy WhittingtonMay 20, 2023 at 5:37 pm
Monk fruit is good. I cannot stand any artificial sweetners (even the smell is awful to me), but Monk Fruit sweetener is good.
PamFebruary 23, 2020 at 2:39 am
I’ve been keto for four years and have been making my own booch for around five years. There was no way I was giving up my booch when I found keto. I don’t see keto as a “diet” I like to see it as a lifestyle. Never felt better. I brew every 10 to 20 days I use a cup of raw organic sugar, 3 black tea teabags and three green tea teabags and second brew in bottles with Ginger and 1/2 cup of organic apple juice per bottle. I leave on shelf for anywhere from five to Fifteen days then refrigerate. It is so, so good, like drinking ginger beer. When I’m sticking strict keto I am fine with being in Ketosis even with 12 Oz. Booch a day.
DianneDecember 24, 2022 at 4:21 am
Do you use fresh ginger? If so approx. how much? 1 or 2 slices or more? Thanks 😀
Hannah CrumJanuary 5, 2023 at 12:40 pm
We use either fresh or dried depending on what we have on hand. Here’s a post with several ginger recipes for you to try – let us know if you do and how you like it!
CandyFebruary 22, 2020 at 10:53 pm
Can you ship a scoby to Minnesota in the winter months?
Hannah CrumApril 10, 2022 at 1:23 pm
Yes! We ship our cultures year round!
BettsJanuary 17, 2020 at 8:18 am
can you use stevia or Erythritol in place of sugar when brewing?
Hannah CrumFebruary 13, 2020 at 2:36 pm
no as they are not fermentable. Learn which sugars are best for fermentation here.
Joyce SavannahNovember 13, 2019 at 8:38 am
I stopped brewing because my sugar levels would go up,so I am looking forward to brewing with less sugar.
RuthNovember 4, 2019 at 2:23 pm
I have Been doing Keto over two years, and have recently started brewing kombucha again. Had to take a break from brewing, due to family medical problems.
I do continuous brew and bottle once a week with second ferment 3-4 days on cupboard. I drink at least 16 oz. per day and have not noticed any problems, I stay in ketosis, no cravings and no hunger…Love it. It is a very healthy way to eat, do the research and find out.
Judy PaulyDecember 12, 2021 at 6:15 pm
I love my kombucha and I’m curious if the fruit in my second fermentation will
Blow my keto diet.????
Hannah CrumFebruary 26, 2022 at 6:41 pm
Every body is different. You’d probably need to use a glucose meter before and after to confirm if that’s the case.
GinaNovember 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm
Thank you so much for the info. I have been searching for an answer to this question and have been worried about this.
I have been letting my batches go longer, since the longer the more sugar the yeast will consume.
My question now is about Jun, is it the same with the honey? It is it better to stay with the regular sugar based kombucha?
I am addicted to Jun and Kombucha and could never give it up. Thanks For all you do!
Hannah CrumNovember 5, 2019 at 11:42 am
There isn’t any research on JUN so its hard to know for certain if a longer fermentation will yield more beneficial acids – the implied answer may be yes, however it does sour more quickly due to the fact that raw honey contains sucrose, fructose and glucose – meaning the organisms can access nutrients at the beginning of the process that typically they have to wait for in a sugar based process. Sugar is sucrose and the yeast excrete an enzyme that splits the disaccharide into the monosaccharide components (fructose and glucose). Once broken into smaller sugars, then all of the organisms have access to the food source that works for them best (ie gluconacetobacter need glucose). Hope that helps!
Paulette TrumNovember 3, 2019 at 5:10 pm
I do Keto cycling as much as possible and on the non keto days 2 or 3 times a week I try to stay low carb. I do a CB for about 10 days and then flavor the bottles with your ginger and a berry such as elderberry or blueberries. I learned that if you had lemon juice the bottles explode really easily! I let the bottles “age” for about a month on my basement floor where the temp is about 64 F so its not that sweet.
SuzanneNovember 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm
I don’t make kombucha at home because I have no room in my kitchen to keep it. Being on the keto diet, I take a couple of sips of a bottle of it. I make it last 5-10 days. That’s how I handle the sugar in kombucha on my eating plan.