Kombucha might not be the silver bullet you think it is

Jan. 20, 2018

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Kombucha — a fermented tea made of tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast — has been consumed for thousands of years.

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Its supposed health benefits, like promoting gut health with probiotics, have made kombucha a popular drink in today's wellness-crazed world.

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It's important to note that the benefits of probiotics aren't necessarily proven, and are definitely oversold by marketers, so drink with skepticism.

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What’s more, the kombucha you can find on shelves today is not the same as the kind made in China more than 2,000 years ago.

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So before you go knocking back the stuff in an effort to better your health, there are a few things to check for with modern, store-bought kombucha.

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First, look at the sugar content. While kombucha is made with sugar, it doesn't require a lot of it.

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"If your kombucha has more than four grams of sugar in the bottle then I would avoid it," said Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center.

Check to see if the kombucha is unpasteurized, often noted as "raw." Pasteurization is often used to make food safer, but it destroys some organisms.

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"When you pasteurize it, you're going to lose a lot of the beneficial probiotics," Lipman said, suggesting consumers look for raw kombucha.

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In short, don't be fooled by products that bank on the word "kombucha" to make consumers think they're healthy.

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