Why I Stopped Drinking Kombucha

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Kombucha Tea-2

If you haven’t yet been swept up by the kombucha crazy train, you may be wondering what kombucha is.  Kombucha is a traditional fermented beverage and it has numerous health benefits.   I use it with clients to help them control sugar cravings as it has a faint hint of sweetness. It’s also great for digestion as it contains a wonderful array of beneficial bacteria that keep our intestinal environment healthy.

And for several years I’ve been drinking it regularly.

So then why did I stop drinking it?

Plain and simple.  I got sick of it.

Like really sick of it.

But like many phases in my life my kombucha phase had a great run.  I made it at home, gave away cultures (aka kombucha mushrooms) to friends and strangers and had seemingly endless conversations about it on various message board.

Initially, it was fun brewing it at home and watching the cultures grow and multiply.  But last fall I started noticing that after two weeks of brewing the next batch, I’d barely touched the previous batch in my fridge.

So eventually I had to listen to my taste buds and admit that it was time to move on.  I threw away the mushrooms and dumped my last overly fermented batch down the drain about three weeks ago.

Why I Really Stopped Drinking Kombucha

But I think there’s a deeper dynamic to why this happened.

Recent scientific research has shown a strong connection between our food cravings and the composition of our gut bacteria.

One of the theories of why people with yeast/candida overgrowth crave sugar so much is that it’s the yeast that are creating the cravings.

Yeast feed on sugar and if too much sugar becomes available, they can start to overgrow and squeeze out the other bacteria that keep our intestinal environment thriving and healthy.  This is akin to an overgrowth of algae in a pond.  When too much of a particular nutrient becomes available, algae can overgrow which in turns makes oxygen less available which can kill much of the marine life in the pond.

I believe the opposite dynamic can happen when we eat too much of one type of cultured food (or any food for that matter).   Our gut bacteria will literally make us get sick of it.  So we (or they) crave variety to keep our (or their) internal ecosystem healthy.

Remember, Science has identified at least 400 different strains of bacteria that live in our guts and they play dozens of roles in keeping us healthy. Different fermented foods present different strains of beneficial bacteria and those strains will vary depending on many factors.  For example, the bacteria from a fermented vegetable will vary depending on the type of vegetable and the soil and climate it was grown in.

We have about ten times more bacteria that live in our gut than we have cells in our body!

Eating a variety of fermented foods is a good way to ensure their health and yours.

There are tons of great resources for learning how to ferment foods on your own.  Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is my personal favorite.  And of course, Nourishing Traditions has a great section on cultured foods.

But when it comes to fermented beverages, like kombucha, there’s probably more than you realize.  So if you’re getting sick of kombucha, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of other options.  Here’s a great resource to help expand your possibilities and perhaps your palette too:

resource with recipes for lacto-fermented sodas


True Brews by Emma Christensen is a great guide for fermenting a variety of beverages at home.  Check it out!

And if you’re new to fermented foods, keep in mind they’re a bit of an acquired taste.  Don’t give up on them if you find their taste overly sour at first.  Stick with it, and I bet that in a relatively short time, you’ll not only be eating them regularly, you’ll want to eat them regularly.

Or perhaps I should say they will want you to eat them regularly.

Photo credit: Kombucha Tea-2 by zeeweez, on Flickr



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  1. Thanks for this!
    I feel truly that I can eat anything as long as I have no FEAR of it. AND knowing people who live on prana alone, I am less tied to food fadism, and more awake to listening to my body. This is helpful info, though, from a professional….eater? And nutritionist.
    I am a yoga teacher – like your approach to this also.
    Blessings, Elizabeth Bunker

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. When you say you know people who live on prana alone, you mean just the breath, correct? Could you say more about this? Seems hard to believe but at the same time I’ve learned enough about life to know that so much is possible beyond what we think and know as “normal.” If I get around to it my next post will be about my own experiences with meditation and how food affects me when I’m in a place of awareness and when I’m not.

  2. Susan Roth says:

    Good post Craig!
    I always find myself craving different foods with the change of seasons, especially, mostly with what is seasonal. But my question is this-most of the societies that Weston A. Price studied who were healthy, not only didn’t eat a variety of foods,their diets were pretty limited to healthy, but a very small section of food. Do you think because we have so many choices, that our bodies have adapted to “needing” change in good microbes sources, or maybe that Kombucha is not a natural part of our diet and that we can’t tolerate on a regular basis? I find I like to have it a couple of times a week, to have with meals ( or in place of coffee, which has snuck back into my life, although in limited amounts). Have you found that some of your clients can’t tolerate it all?
    I stopped making the continous brew, make a batch that I get four bottles out of for the week, which seems to be just about right, plus I ususally share at least one bottle with a friend. On a final note, you posted this just as I was thinking about the place of Kombucha in the probiotic food plan. Thanks for a good perspective! Happy Spring.

    • Hi Susan,

      Actually I think traditional diets were incredibly varied, probably more so than we think and certainly more than what most people eat today. I read somewhere once that the average American eats only about 20-25 different things whereas the average native diet consisted of hundreds of different foods including variations on specific foods. For example, in Korea there are hundreds of varieties of kimchi with different vegetables and spices depending on the season. So even though you might say that a specific culture only used one or two different fermented foods (or any food for that matter) in their diet, upon closer inspection you’ll see great variations depending on many factors. So yes, I think we all need variety and I think eating foods in season is the key.

      Regarding kombucha, I have found that many clients don’t like the taste of it initially but none that say it gives them any sort of reaction to where they can’t tolerate it. And most eventually start to like it and even crave it.

  3. maybe you can help? when i was fermenting veges in australia i was using a probiotic drink as a starter. I was wondering if using the fermented kombucha tea would work the same way? on of our brews is very vinegary! or what else i could use as a starter? Thanks mr Fear!

    • Hi Noah, I’m not aware of kombucha being used as a starter culture for fermenting veggies. Maybe you could be the first to try it! But I know whey is a very reliable starter culture. Water or milk kefir grains can be used too. And juice from the previous batch of veggies can also be used.


  4. Vicki Cash says:


    I notice that on commercial kombucha products, the sugar content is listed as 12 gms/serving. Are you saying that this doesn’t act like regular sugar in someone who is diabetic? i am diabetic and have tried kombucha once – it was delicious, but I’m afraid it might stimulate insulin production for me.

    I even have trouble with things like stevia – it makes me terribly hungry. I know I am very sensitive. Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated.


    • Hi Vicki,

      If it says 12gms of sugar/serving, that’s definitely regular sugar. They either added it or they didn’t let it ferment long enough (I’m guessing the former). True kombucha shouldn’t have any added sugar.


      • Is there an easy way to test the sugar content in my brewed Kombucha? I’ve been struggling with gaining weight the past several months and it could be due to several things but it has also coincided with my beginning brewing and drinking kombucha. I really love the drink – the flavor, and tanginess. I don’t drink soda – only water and some coffee in the morning – so it’s a enjoyable beverage to have with my lunch and/or dinner.

        But I’m concerned it’s still too high in sugar and causing weight gain and sugar cravings? I let it brew at least 7 days and when it’s mostly vinegar?


        • Hi Mary, sorry for the slow response. I don’t know if there’s a way to test kombucha for sugar content. Over time the sugar content should diminish so I wouldn’t think it’s the culprit for the weight gain. The best way to find out though would be to remove it from you diet for a month or so and see if it makes a difference. But again, I highly doubt it.

        • Hi Mary, did you find more information about gaining weight associated with drinking Kombucha, it happen to me too.

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  8. I found myself not feeling well drinking Kombucha everyday. I made some simple changes. First I stopped putting a lid on it and refrigerating the kombucha. I felt when I did this I killed all the good bacteria. I lowered how much I drank and drank a smaller amout. I also only drank it when I had food in my stomach. I just would like to share that with you

  9. I haven’t tried Kombucha, yet, but I have been eating kimchi this week as part of a diet to heal my gut and issues with candida. I’m finding that I love the taste of kimchi, but so,etching about it makes me want to throw up. It’s really strange, because I take a bite and think “yum!” and then I feel like I want to vomit. It lasts only a few seconds, but it’s after every bite. Any idea what that is? Is it just an adjustment to fermented foods?

  10. does anyone know if kimchi goes bad in the fridge? IF so, after how long, after its been opened of course !
    and I know kombuha is perishable, so is it safe to drink if I left it out of fridge overnight but in a cool basement?

  11. Great post Craig. I think people do need to also read that they might eventually get fed up with drinking Kombucha. Like someone said in a comment above its not part of our daily diets so its not essential. But when we have other foods that don’t satisfy our needs any more we will stop eating them, I know I do and kombucha is just like that. The crazy faze of having kombucha will fade out of our lives and its not the end of the world. I think it also fazes out because we have to go to the time and effort to make it.
    How long were you drinking it for, until you stopped?

    • Hi Adam, probably a few years. I still drink it here and there but haven’t had the desire to make it at home since I wrote this post (which was about 4 years ago). I much prefer eating my probiotics these days in the form of kimchi, kraut and pickles.


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