Is Kombucha Good for Weight Loss? Experts Explain

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 04/06/2024

Some see kombucha as a buzzy beverage with a funny name, and others consider it a weight loss drink extraordinaire. Is kombucha good for weight loss? You’ll find answers here.

This “tea of immortality” that came from China more than 2,000 years ago is all the rage for gut health. But what’s in it? Can it help you lose weight? If so, why is kombucha good for weight loss, and is there a best time to drink kombucha for weight loss?

The jury’s out on whether kombucha on its own can support weight loss efforts. However, there might be a connection between kombucha and weight loss, namely through the health benefits this drink provides.

Though the popularity of this drink may leave you skeptical, there’s some evidence that kombucha has health benefits.

But does kombucha help you lose weight? We can’t be so sure.

Some health experts believe that the health benefits can help with weight management, while others feel there’s limited research to support kombucha for weight loss.

That’s not to say there aren’t other health benefits you can gain from drinking kombucha, thanks to its array of bioactive compounds like acetic acid (a byproduct of the fermentation process), B vitamins and polyphenols (antioxidant plant compounds).

While a single drink or food can’t directly cause weight loss, kombucha can be part of a healthy diet. Here’s how.

Good for Hydration

Made by brewing sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), kombucha may sound like a sugary drink you should stay away from when trying to lose weight.

But thanks to the fermentation process, most of the sugar is gone by the final brew. Kombucha might be good for staying hydrated — which happens to be important for weight loss.

Kombucha is fermented tea, and like most tea, the primary ingredient is water — in fact, nearly 95 percent of it is water.

The alcohol content of kombucha may have you wondering if it’s dehydrating. But research shows that the amount of alcohol is small enough to not have a significant effect on your fluid levels. That said, homemade kombucha tends to have a higher alcohol content than the store-bought variety.

Still, if you’re trying to stay hydrated or are cutting back on alcohol to help with weight loss, kombucha could be a good non-alcoholic (or at least low-alcohol) beverage choice.

Promotes Gut Health

Possibly the most talked about benefit of kombucha for weight loss is its effects on gut health.

Kombucha tea contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that may support digestion. The probiotics help your body process foods and absorb nutrients while helping restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

One study found that kombucha brewed from either green tea or black tea was associated with a more balanced gut microbiome, likely due to the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Your gut microbiome might play a role in whether you lose or gain weight, as reviews and meta-analyses have shown about particular gut bacteria.

There isn’t much scientific evidence connecting the effects of kombucha to weight loss. But the mildly fizzy beverage could improve digestion by introducing good kinds of bacteria to the gut.

Provides Immune Support

Kombucha might help with inflammation and immune support. How so? The tea infusion contains several antioxidants and nutrients — like B vitamins, polyphenols, enzymes and vitamins A, E, C and K.

While research has shown that antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E can improve immune system function, there’s not enough evidence that kombucha directly provides immune support.

Also, many factors can also change the antioxidant properties of kombucha, such as brewing conditions (like time and temperature), additives like fruit juices, fermentation conditions and the composition of microorganisms in the SCOBY.

Natural Energy Boost

Another benefit of kombucha? It may provide a natural energy boost.

The small amount of caffeine and B vitamins in kombucha might give you a little pep in your step. This could prove to be a healthier alternative to caffeinated soda, sugar-laden lattes or energy drinks, which are often high in sugar and preservatives.

Prescribed online

Weight loss treatment that puts you first

Now that you know the benefits of kombucha, you might be thinking of adding it to your balanced diet as a healthy snack. But what’s actually in kombucha?

Kombucha’s nutrition can vary, depending on the brand and whether it’s flavored with added sugars. And as noted, homemade kombucha can be quite different from store-bought brews.

According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), 100 grams of kombucha tea will provide roughly:

  • 16 calories

  • Four grams of carbohydrates

  • Four grams of sugar

  • Less than one gram of fat

  • Two milligrams of sodium

  • Four milligrams potassium

Again, not all kombucha products are the same. So you can expect differences in nutritional content and health benefits.

Is It Okay to Drink Kombucha Every Day?

It’s probably fine to drink a serving of kombucha (about four ounces) every day. Just be mindful of the alcohol content, and make sure to drink plenty of water as well.

When Should You Drink Kombucha?

Wondering when to drink kombucha for weight loss? You can drink it any time of day, with or without food.

Some people like to have it before or after meals to make the most of the potential digestive benefits. Since kombucha contains a little caffeine, you may not want to drink it too close to bedtime, though.

Can kombucha help you lose weight? More research is needed.

Compared to some juices and sodas, kombucha can be a low-sugar or more natural alternative with some health benefits. But there are alternatives to kombucha if you’re looking to stay hydrated and manage weight gain.

Of course, plain water will always reign supreme when it comes to hydration.

If you’re bored with regular water or want more flavor, add fruits or veggies to your glass of water. Or try coconut water for a nutty flavor and a dose of natural electrolytes that are key for rehydration, especially after working out.

If you find yourself Googling “how much kombucha should I drink a day for weight loss”, you might want to pause that search. While there are plenty of possible benefits of kombucha, weight loss may not be one of them — at least, based on the current research.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • Kombucha is a popular beverage that’s been consumed for centuries. It’s made by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).

  • Is kombucha good for weight loss? There’s very little research on kombucha for weight loss, although some experts believe its health benefits could help with losing body weight.

  • The probiotics in kombucha might promote a healthy gut and improve digestion.

  • The relatively low sugar content could make it a good alternative to sugary beverages for those reducing their calorie intake.

While more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of kombucha on weight loss, there are other ways to achieve certain health goals.

Talk to a healthcare provider about options for weight management, such as a balanced diet, exercise and weight loss medication.

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