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April 12, 2019

No, drinking kombucha doesn't 'speed up' your metabolism, experts agree

The gut-friendly drink has many perceived benefits, but not all of them are backed by science

Wellness Kombucha
kombucha metabolism connection Klara Avsenik/Unsplash

Gut-healthy kombucha has many health benefits, but boosting metabolism is one that isn't backed by science.

Kombucha, like bulletproof coffee, is a cult-followed wellness necessity that has become super popular in recent years. Despite being a delicious beverage — it comes in pretty much every flavor you could imagine, and some that you couldn’t — kombucha is beloved for its ability to improve overall gut health.

Kombucha, as a reminder, is a fermented black or green tea blended with a colony of bacteria and yeast that turns into a fizzy, sweet-ish beverage that packs a probiotic punch to help the gut. According to Medical News Today, healthy probiotic bacteria is believed to improve digestion and immune function. 

Because drinking kombucha likely aids in digestion, it must help improve metabolism —the process by which your body turns food into energy — too, right?

RELATED READ: Weavers Way co-op has CBD-infused kombucha on tap

That notion might lean more toward myth than fact, Dr. Michael Ormsbee, associate director of sports sciences and medicine at Florida State University, explains to POPSUGAR:

 “I’ve never seen any research showing this. However, when we eat anything, our metabolism increases in order to process the food. This is called the thermic effect of food (how much energy it takes for your body to burn food) or TEF .... Technically, no matter what you eat, you'll get a small increase in metabolism temporarily.” 

That said, there’s no need to kick your kombucha habit completely, after all some people swear by its benefits and others just enjoy it as a health-infused beverage (that’s a great alternative to soda). And that’s completely OK.

In fact, the probiotic-rich beverage was a “best” on Huffington Post’s “The Best And Worst Health Fad Foods, According To Nutritionists” list.

"Since most of the sugar added at the start of brewing is consumed by the SCOBY, kombucha is a relatively low-calorie, low-sugar beverage in its natural state,” Megan Meyer, Ph.D. and director of science communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation, told HuffPost. “However, many options add in fruit juice and additional sugars that can bring its calorie content up, so it’s important to keep that in mind when choosing this beverage.”

Myer adds that the probiotic content in kombucha tends to vary, so that’s something to keep your eye on. For help, check out this list of the healthiest kombucha brands

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