PSA: Your kombucha may have as much alcohol in it as a light beer


Photo: Getty Images / Oksana Kiian

Gut health is in right now, and we get it. Your gut microbiome impacts your immune system, mood, and overall wellbeing.  Probiotics aren’t just what your dad takes to stay regular—they’re also the key part of your it-girl’s favorite drink: kombucha. But one thing people often don’t talk about with kombucha is that they can have a decent amount of alcohol in them.

Thankfully, registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, spilled the tea on kombucha in our newest episode of You vs. Food, Well+Good’s video series dissecting nutrition trends.

Basically, most kombucha naturally has some amount of alcohol in it because it’s fermented (in this case, tea fermented with a special bacteria-yeast cocktail called scoby). “The amount of alcohol in kombucha varies according to the fermentation process,” Beckerman says, “and may be between one and three percent alcohol.” That may not sound like much but she notes that some light beers are just four percent alcohol. (So it might not be the best choice for expectant moms.) Some kombuchas (like Kevita) are certified non-alcoholic, so not all hope is lost if you are not drinking any booze.

Aside from the alcohol content, Beckerman says that kombucha has lots of potential antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits. However, there is a catch: Most of these studies were done on animals, meaning those health perks have yet to be confirmed in humans. But that’s no reason in her book to stop sipping; the drink is a great lower-sugar swap for juice, and because it’s carbonated, it might just scratch your soda itch.

To get all the deets on the bubbly beverage, be sure to watch the above video. (And subscribe to our YouTube channel when you’re done.)

How can you tell if your gut is out of whack? Take a look at your poop and your skin

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