How Much Sugar is in Kombucha? All About the Kombucha Sugar Content

How Much Sugar is in Kombucha? All About the Kombucha Sugar Content

Kombucha’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years, with more and more options available in stores around the world. A lot of people have also tried brewing their own kombucha, with SCOBY recipes being shared far and wide.

One of the main reasons for kombucha’s rapid rise to fame is its purported health benefits. Kombucha is seen as a healthy beverage, with digestive benefits due to its probiotic content. But is kombucha really as healthy as many people have been led to believe?

Although kombucha is seen as a health food, it contains a not insignificant amount of sugar. Many people are surprised to learn of the kombucha sugar content, because it’s not something we associate with what’s usually quite a tart beverage.

So just how much sugar is in kombucha, and should we be concerned about it? In this article, we’ll explore the sugar in kombucha and help you decide for yourself whether a daily dose of kombucha is really bringing you the benefits you may have thought it was. 

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha, often referred to as the "tea of immortality," is a fermented beverage with a rich history dating back centuries. Originating in Northeast China around 220 BCE, this ancient elixir quickly spread across Asia and eventually found its way into Western cultures. 

Traditionally brewed from sweetened black or green tea, kombucha undergoes a fermentation process orchestrated by a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The SCOBY, resembling a rubbery pancake, floats atop the sweetened tea, initiating fermentation. 

During fermentation, the bacteria and yeast metabolize some of the sugars present in the tea, converting them into various organic acids, carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of alcohol. This fermentation process gives kombucha its signature tangy flavor and effervescence.

Kombucha contains probiotics and antioxidants from tea, which is why many people consider it a “health food.” But what about the kombucha sugar content? Is kombucha high in sugar? Let’s find out. 

How Much Sugar is in Kombucha?

So, just how much sugar is in kombucha? While kombucha undergoes fermentation, which reduces sugar levels, the final kombucha sugar content can vary widely depending on the brand, flavor, and brewing method. Let’s explore the kombucha sugar content more closely.

Breaking Down Kombucha Sugar Content by Brand and Flavor

There are lots of different brands and flavors of kombucha, which affects its sugar content. For example, the ginger-lemon flavor of Health-Ade kombucha, one of the most popular brands found in stores, contains 13 grams of added sugar in each 16-ounce bottle.

KeVita peach-pineapple kombucha contains 8 grams of added sugar in each 15-ounce bottle. Brew Dr., another popular brand, has 13 grams of added sugar in each 14-ounce Superberry bottle. In general, the kombucha we evaluated has between 8 and 16 grams of sugar per 16-ounce serving. 

Variability in Homemade Kombucha

Is kombucha high in sugar if you make it yourself? If you make your kombucha, you probably already know that some batches turn out sweeter than others. Even if you add the same amount of sugar initially, the amount that’s used during the fermentation process can vary from batch to batch.

If your SCOBY is old, it might not be fermenting as effectively, leaving you with more sugar at the end of fermentation. Or, if you cut fermentation short, you might also end up with a higher kombucha sugar content, as the SCOBY doesn’t have a chance to consume all the sugars.

In general, homemade kombucha ends up with about 8-12 grams of sugar per 16-ounce serving, but it can vary, and it’s very hard to accurately measure the final kombucha sugar content if you’re making your kombucha at home. 

Is Kombucha High Sugar Compared to Similar Drinks?

It’s important to keep the kombucha sugar content in context. So, is kombucha high in sugar when we compare it to the amount of sugar in soda? In general, the sugar in kombucha is significantly lower than most other drinks that come in a can or bottle. 

How much sugar is in a can of Coke compared to kombucha? One 12-ounce can of Coke contains 39 grams, significantly more than kombucha. The Vitamin Water sugar amount is also surprisingly high, with around 16 grams per 12-ounce serving - more than kombucha once again.

What about the boba sugar content? A typical full-sweetness boba tea contains around 26 grams of sugar per 12 ounces - sorry boba fans, not what you want to hear! Of course, you can always reduce the sweetness in your go-to boba order, but there’s still a lot of sugar in there.

How much sugar is in a chai tea? This one varies a lot depending on the brand, but typically you’ll find between 18 and 30 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce chai tea, again, much more than kombucha. 

The sugar in Mountain Dew (46 grams per 12 ounces) and ginger ale sugar content (32 grams per 12 ounces) is also higher than kombucha. Finally, how much sugar is in sweet tea? Up to 30 grams per 12 ounces - almost as much as a can of Coke!

So, how much sugar is in kombucha compared to other beverages? The sugar in kombucha is lower, but just because kombucha has less sugar than a can of Coke or Mountain Dew doesn’t make it a healthy choice, or a low sugar drink. Here’s why the sugar content of kombucha is a problem.

Why the Sugar in Kombucha is Concerning

According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day, and women should consume no more than 25 grams. We’ve already established that kombucha can have up to 16 grams of sugar per serving. 

This means that, for women, a single serving of kombucha gives you two-thirds of your entire added sugar intake for the day. And that’s the highest recommended amount - if you’re trying to live healthily, you likely want to shoot for lower than 25 grams of added sugar per day.

So, it’s clear to see that the sugar in kombucha is significant. But what are the issues with consuming this much sugar, and why is it something we need to be aware of in the first place? Let’s take a look. 

Health Implications of Sugar Consumption

Excessive sugar intake has been linked to so many different health issues and conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Sugary beverages, even those perceived as healthier alternatives, can simply cause us to consume far too many calories.

Sugar from drinks is absorbed very quickly into our bloodstream and can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar. These can disrupt our blood sugar regulation, especially in diabetics and pre-diabetics, and can cause serious heart and kidney problems. 

Do the Probiotics Offset the Sugar?

Kombucha contains probiotics, and there’s no denying that they are a beneficial part of your diet. Probiotics balance your digestive system, supporting gut health and immune function. But even beneficial probiotics don’t counteract high levels of added sugar.

While probiotics may support digestive health, they can’t mitigate the metabolic consequences of excessive sugar intake. So, while kombucha's probiotic content is beneficial, it should not overshadow concerns regarding the high levels of sugar each bottle contains.

Is There a Healthier Alternative to Kombucha That Still Tastes Great?

So, if the sugar in kombucha is something you’re concerned about, what other options are there? There are a few low-sugar and sugar-free kombucha drinks out there, but as you’ll soon see, these aren’t always the best solution. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect answer for you! 

Exploring Low-Sugar and Sugar-Free Kombucha

Low-sugar kombucha became popular in response to growing concerns about kombucha’s relatively high sugar content. Low-sugar or sugar-free kombucha is usually made in such a way that the SCOBY consumes all the sugar during the fermentation process, leaving nothing behind.

Unfortunately, low-sugar and sugar-free kombuchas usually contain artificial sweeteners. Although these don’t contribute to the caloric content of your kombucha, sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and erythritol bring some pretty serious health risks of their own. 

Alternatives to Kombucha

We’ve already talked about most of the other drinks out there, like sodas and sweet teas. These tend to have an even higher sugar content than kombucha, so they’re not a great choice if you’re watching your sugar intake. 

Diet sodas also rely on artificial sweeteners like stevia vs sucralose, which can bring everything from digestive discomfort to migraines. Many people look for aspartame free drinks because this sweetener is a possible carcinogen and has been linked to depression, heart disease, and developmental issues.

Introducing Oobli’s Low Sugar Sweet Tea

Luckily, there’s an answer out there that’s low in sugar, free of harmful artificial sweeteners, and certified delicious: Oobli’s low sugar iced tea! Our delicious sweet teas contain just 7 grams of sugar in each 16-ounce can - significantly less than most of the kombuchas out there! 

Wondering what our secret ingredient is? Nature’s own sweet proteins! These tiny molecules are around 4,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, so we only need a tiny amount to sweeten your favorite tea. That means almost no added calories, but lots of delicious, natural sweetness!

While you’re exploring our incredible selection of fruity flavors, make sure you check out our low sugar chocolate as well. Thanks to sweet proteins, it’s keto-friendly, high in fiber, and made without any weird stuff you can’t pronounce. And it tastes like the real deal! 

Final Thoughts on the Kombucha Sugar Content

So, how much sugar is in kombucha? Surprisingly, kombucha contains quite a lot more sugar than most people realize. Most kombucha brands talk about probiotics and gut health, but neglect to mention that their drinks are pretty high in sugar! 

At Oobli, we don’t think you should have to choose between your health and enjoying a tasty treat. And now, thanks to sweet proteins, you don’t have to! Our iced tea and chocolate bars are packed full of flavor, with none of the guilt! 

So, switch your high-sugar drinks for a tastier, healthier, low-sugar alternative. Try Oobli sweet iced tea today - you won’t regret it! 

Back to blog

You may like

Check out these other articles