Kombucha is one of my absolute favorite drinks! I was beyond excited when I discovered that Kombucha was allowed while following the Whole30 program. We’ve compiled a list of Whole30 Approved Kombucha Brands and Whole30 Compliant Kombucha Brands for you here. There are some guidelines and restrictions to drinking kombucha and we even explain how to brew your own (my preferred method) below.
WHAT IS KOMBUCHA?
Kombucha is a fermented tea, made with black or green tea, sugar, and a bacterial and yeast culture known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast).
HOW IS KOMBUCHA WHOLE30 COMPLIANT IF IT HAS SUGAR?
Not to worry, the SCOBY uses the sugar in the tea as food and will eat most of it up, making it compliant with the Whole30 program. Some brands add additional sugar after the fermentation process to sweeten the drink, so it is very important to read the labels when purchasing kombucha.
According to the most recent statement from Whole30, if you see sugar listed on the ingredients list, then that brand is not compliant with Whole30. ALL kombucha uses sugar in the initial fermentation process, so many brands list sugar as an ingredient. Where sugar becomes an issue and is NOT allowed while on a Whole30 program is when sugar or other sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup and stevia are added during the second fermentation process to sweeten the kombucha. Fruits and fruit juices are compliant, but not sugar.
From the Whole30 website – The Final Word
- If you make kombucha at home and don’t add sugar after the fermentation process, is that Whole30-compatible? Yes.
- If you buy store-bought kombucha and sugar is not in the ingredient list, is that Whole30-compatible? Yes.
- If you buy store-bought kombucha and sugar is not in the ingredient list, but you do see fruit juice, is that Whole30-compatible? Yes.
- If you see store-bought kombucha and see any form of sugar (including stevia) in the ingredients, is that compatible? No.
Official Whole30 Kombucha Rules
Again, according to the most recent statement from Whole30, if you see sugar listed as an ingredient on the label, then it is not compliant and not allowed while on the Whole30 program.
One way to know for sure that your kombucha is compliant with the Whole30 program is to make your own!
HOW DO I MAKE MY OWN KOMBUCHA?
Making your own kombucha at home is easy and allows you to customize your flavors, etc. I use this brewing kit from The Kombucha Shop I bought online. Grab your kombucha brewing kit on Amazon HERE. I love it because it comes with ALL of the instructions you need to brew your own kombucha.
Simply brew your tea and let it cool, then add the tea, sugar and filtered water to a large jug. Add the SCOBY, cover with a cloth and let it sit for 7 up to 30 days. A longer brewing time will result in less sugar and a more pronounced tangy flavor.
During your second fermentation, you are allowed to flavor the kombucha with fruits and or fruit juices. The natural sugars in the fruit are fine to add.
Some of my favorite homemade kombucha flavors are:
- Lemon Ginger
- Strawberry Basil
- Mango Pineapple
- Zingy Raspberry (Raspberry, Lemon & Ginger)
WHOLE30 APPROVED KOMBUCHA BRANDS:
Humm Kombucha is the only brand of kombucha approved by Whole30. It’s important to note that Humm has many lines of Kombucha, and only the bottles you see above labeled Whole30 Approved are indeed Whole30 Approved.
WHOLE30 COMPLIANT KOMBUCHA BRANDS:
What is the difference between approved and compliant brands of Kombucha? The simple answer is, relationships between the brands and Whole30. Many products are compliant with the rules the standards of the Whole30 program and are thus acceptable to eat while participating in a program. The difference between approved and compliant is that certain brands have partnered with Whole30 because they meet their standard and are therefore allowed to showcase the Whole30 logo on their products making the guess work much easier for the consumer! Any and all officially Whole30 Approved products have been carefully vetted by the Whole30 team. When you see the Whole30 logo, you know it’s allowed and don’t have to read the label.
Does GT’s Kombucha have added sugar?
Nope! It only uses sugar during the fermentation, making it a Whole30 Compliant kombucha brand.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF KOMBUCHA:
Not only do I love the flavor of kombucha, but I love the fact that there are added health benefits to drinking kombucha as well.
- Probiotics – because kombucha is fermented, it contains probiotics which help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in our digestive system.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help to prevent cell damage.
- B vitamins – kombucha contains a healthy dose of B vitamins which help with the creation of red blood cells.
Low Sugar Kombucha Brands Compatible for your Food Freedom (After your Whole30)
After you have completed your Whole30 days, and have moved onto the next phase of “food freedom,” Whole30 rules no longer apply. Even so, you may want to continue drinking Kombucha that’s not sweetened after that first fermentation.
The kombucha brands below do have sugar listed as an ingredient on their labels, however, we contacted them and have confirmed that the sugar listed on the label is the sugar used during the first fermentation and there are NO sweeteners added during the second fermentation (meaning almost all of the sugar during the first fermentation should be “used up” by the SCOBY to make the kombucha).
Low Sugar Kombucha Brands:
- Mortal Kombucha (Varies by flavor, but about 7g carbohydrates and 4g sugar per serving)
- *Their Black Magic Flavor does contain maple syrup which is added after the initial fermentation
- Brew Dr. Kombucha (Varies by flavor, but about 14g carbohydrates and 12g sugar per serving)
- Holy Kombucha (Varies by flavor, but about 13g carbohydrates and 8g sugar per serving)
- Plus Humm Kombucha (Varies by flavor, but about 6g carbohydrates and 5g sugar per serving) and
- GT’s Kombucha (Varies by flavor, but about 13g carbohydrates and 8g sugar per serving
- (Both of the last two are mentioned above and do not have sugar listed on the ingredient label).