5 Side Effects of Too Much Kombucha (2024)

Some people may experience negative impacts of drinking too much kombucha due to its high calorie, sugar, and caffeine content. Side effects can include digestive issues, among others.

Kombucha is a popular fermented tea drink with many impressive health benefits.

For example, it’s a rich source of probiotics and antioxidants (1).

Plus, it has antimicrobial qualities and has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors and blood sugar levels (2, 3, 4).

But although kombucha is good for you, it’s possible to drink too much.

Here are 5 possible side effects of drinking too much kombucha.

5 Side Effects of Too Much Kombucha (1)Share on Pinterest

1. May Lead to Excess Calorie Consumption

There are many different kinds of kombucha available to consumers.

While some are low in calories, others can have up to 120 calories per bottle (5).

Sipping an occasional kombucha drink won’t hurt your waistline, but drinking kombucha daily may contribute to excess calorie consumption, which can lead to weight gain.

People who frequently drink beverages high in calories are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don’t (6).

This is because liquid calories are much easier to consume and less filling than calories from solid foods.

Plus, calorie-laden beverages often take the place of more filling, nutritious snacks that can help you feel fuller for longer.

For example, a healthy snack of a slice of Ezekiel toast topped with a hard-boiled egg and 1/4 of an avocado has the same calories as two 120-calorie kombucha drinks (7, 8, 9).

Summary Some
kombucha brands are high in calories. Consuming too many high-calorie drinks
can contribute to weight gain and may take the place of nutritious foods.

2. May Cause Bloating and Digestive Distress

Kombucha has been found to benefit digestive health due to its probiotics, or beneficial bacteria. However, consuming too much may cause side effects (10).

Because kombucha is carbonated, too much may lead to bloating.

Drinking carbonated beverages delivers carbon dioxide (CO2) into the digestive system, which may cause bloating and excess gas (11).

Additionally, kombucha contains compounds called FODMAPs, specific types of carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress in many people, particularly those with IBS (12).

Lastly, consuming too many kombucha drinks may lead to excessive sugar intake, which can cause water to be drawn into your intestines, causing diarrhea (13, 14).

For these reasons, some people may experience bloating, gas and diarrhea if they consume too much kombucha.

Summary Kombucha
is carbonated, can be high in sugar and contains FODMAPs, which may cause
digestive upset in some people.

3. May Contain Excess Amounts of Added Sugar

Many kombucha drinks are sweetened with fruit juice or cane sugar to make the product more appealing to customers.

While this may make kombucha taste delicious, it increases the sugar content of the beverage.

When consumed in excess, added sugars — especially from sugar-sweetened beverages — can negatively impact your health in a number of ways.

For example, sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver and heart disease (15, 16, 17, 18).

Depending on the brand, just one serving of kombucha can contain as much as 28 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 7 teaspoons (19).

Though some brands of kombucha are high in sugar, other kombucha products make better choices.

When shopping for kombucha, look for drinks that contain less than 4 grams of sugar per serving to keep your added sugar intake to a minimum.

Summary Certain
kinds of kombucha are high in sugar, which is not good for your overall health.
Purchasing low-sugar kombucha products whenever possible is the healthiest
option.

4. Dangerous for Certain People

While kombucha is safe for most people, it can cause severe side effects in some.

Because kombucha is unpasteurized and contains a mix of different types of bacteria and yeasts, it can promote the growth of opportunistic bacteria that can lead to infections in certain people.

For instance, those who have weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, kidney disease or HIV, can develop serious complications from drinking kombucha (20).

Although rare, there have been reported cases of severe allergic reactions, acidosis and liver complications due to potentially contaminated kombucha consumption (21).

Since kombucha is unpasteurized and contains small amounts of caffeine and alcohol, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid it as well (22).

Summary Those
with compromised immune systems and pregnant or breastfeeding women should
avoid drinking kombucha.

5. Could Lead to Excess Caffeine Consumption

Kombucha is usually made with black or green tea, both of which contain caffeine.

Although kombucha contains far less caffeine than traditional brewed tea, it’s possible to consume too much caffeine if you’re overdoing it on kombucha.

For example, GT’s Kombucha contains anywhere between 8 to 14 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce (240-ml) serving (23).

While that’s a small amount compared to the 47 mg of caffeine found in one cup of brewed black tea, drinking too much kombucha can impact those sensitive to this stimulant (24).

People sensitive to the effects of caffeine may feel anxious or jittery if consuming too much kombucha (25).

Plus, drinking kombucha close to bedtime may cause sleep disruptions.

Summary Kombucha
contains caffeine, which may cause unwanted side effects in certain people.

How Much Kombucha Tea Should You Drink per Day?

Though kombucha is safe for most people, it’s best to limit your intake for several reasons.

It can be high in calories and sugar, so overindulging isn’t the best choice for your health.

To reap the benefits of kombucha without consuming too many calories, limit your intake to one to two 8-ounce (240-ml) servings per day.

It’s important to note that most kombucha bottles contain two servings — 16 ounces or about 480 ml.

Choose high-quality, low-calorie, low-sugar products stored in dark glass containers. This packaging protects the probiotics from light damage.

Pick a kombucha that delivers no more than 50 calories per serving to keep liquid calorie intake in check.

Summary Limiting
your kombucha intake to one or two servings per day is best. Focus on products
that are high in quality and low in calories and sugar.

Safety Tips for Home-Brewing Kombucha

When brewing kombucha at home, it’s important to follow safety protocol.

Brewing kombucha incorrectly could result in a contaminated final product that could pose serious health risks.

For example, chemicals from ceramic or lead-containing vessels could contaminate your kombucha, which is why this drink should only be stored and prepared in glass containers.

Always brew kombucha using sterile equipment in sanitary conditions and follow directions when using a kombucha-brewing kit.

Learning how to properly prepare and ferment kombucha before making your first batch is the best way to avoid potential safety risks.

Summary When
home-brewing kombucha, proper preparation and fermentation techniques are key
to ensuring a safe product.

The Bottom Line

Kombucha has been linked to a wide array of benefits, leading some people to overconsume this beverage.

Drinking too much kombucha can lead to excess sugar and calorie intake and side effects like digestive distress.

It’s also unpasteurized and contains small amounts of caffeine and alcohol. This makes it off limits for some, including people with weakened immune systems, those sensitive to caffeine and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Limit consumption to one to two servings per day to reap the health benefits of kombucha without going overboard.

5 Side Effects of Too Much Kombucha (2024)

FAQs

What happens if I drink too much kombucha? ›

It is important to start with drinking small quantities to see how your body reacts to the beverage. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that four ounces of kombucha can be safely consumed one to three times a day. Overconsumption can lead to headache, nausea, gastrointestinal distress, or ketoacidosis.

Are 2 bottles of kombucha a day too much? ›

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that drinking approximately 4 ounces (oz) of kombucha per day “may not cause adverse effects in healthy persons.” Note that most kombucha bottles sold at the store are more than 4 oz. Check recommended serving sizes before chugging down a whole container.

Can I drink 32 ounces of kombucha a day? ›

However, we advise against consuming more than 32 fluid ounces daily since kombucha acts as a potent detoxifier. Overindulgence could result in unwanted detoxification symptoms.

What happens if you drink kombucha everyday? ›

Ailments included liver problems, lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactic acid in the body), allergic reactions, and nausea. For this reason, the CDC recommends drinking only 4 ounces of kombucha daily. Overconsumption can lead to side effects, including headache, nausea, and upset stomach.

Why do I feel weird after drinking kombucha? ›

People sensitive to the effects of caffeine may feel anxious or jittery if consuming too much kombucha ( 25 ). Plus, drinking kombucha close to bedtime may cause sleep disruptions. contains caffeine, which may cause unwanted side effects in certain people.

What are the downsides of kombucha? ›

Kombucha tea has caused stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions in some people. Kombucha tea is often made (brewed) in homes under unclean conditions. This makes it likely that bad bacteria can grow. Also, when the tea is made with ceramic pots that have lead in them, lead poisoning happens.

Does kombucha help with belly fat? ›

Does kombucha help you lose belly fat? While kombucha can be a part of a healthy weight-loss journey, there's no magic solution for losing belly fat. Kombucha may support overall weight management by supporting digestion and gut health, but it's not a stand-alone solution for targeting belly fat.

Who shouldn't drink kombucha? ›

Kombucha is a fermented probiotic tea that may be beneficial to the body. There are some risks to consider, especially when drinking kombucha in excessive amounts. Some people may want to avoid kombucha, such as those with compromised immune systems and people sensitive to caffeine.

Does kombucha actually help your gut? ›

The fermentation process, which has been around for thousands of years, helps preserve foods and make them last longer. Kombucha and other fermented foods are full of antioxidants and probiotics, or live bacteria, that boost the health of intestinal cells, improve immune function and aid in food digestion.

Does kombucha detox your liver? ›

May Promote Liver Health

The main function of the liver is to help detoxify the body from harmful substances. Because of the powerful antioxidants in kombucha, regular ingestion helps fight free radicals from damaging cells. Kombucha helps the liver by assisting this mighty organ in the detoxification of the body.

Is kombucha good for your kidneys? ›

Kombucha may help manage type 2 diabetes

It's characterized by high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A 2012 study in diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels. It also improved liver and kidney function.

Can I drink an entire bottle of kombucha? ›

Based on years of consuming kombucha and being in the home brewing community, we recommend not drinking more than 16 oz of kombucha per day – about the amount you would find in a bottle of store bought kombucha.

Does kombucha clean you out? ›

Kombucha should be a reliable dose of positivity that can reverberate all the way through your gut. Rather than rework your diet, it complements your digestive system by balancing the bacteria that break down food. A successful kombucha detox results in a renewed focus on your body's long-term needs.

What is the best time to drink kombucha? ›

Drinking kombucha on an empty stomach can also enhance its antioxidant effects. This is because the fermentation process creates natural antioxidants, and drinking kombucha on an empty stomach allows these antioxidants to be more easily absorbed by the body.

Does kombucha have a laxative effect? ›

Kombucha is a fermented, fizzy, slightly sweet form of black tea. Some praise the drink for having several possible health benefits, such as constipation relief and prevention. While it is unlikely to substitute medical laxatives, kombucha may help the frequency and consistency of stools.

How many cups of kombucha can I drink a day? ›

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends that kombucha be consumed in moderation, and one to three 4-oz cups per day is safe to consume. That means you shouldn't generally consume more than 12 ounces of kombucha a day.

Is it bad to drink a lot of hard kombucha? ›

However, “hard kombucha should not be considered a “health drink,”” says Bixler. “It is still a significant source of discretionary calories and alcohol, so it should be consumed in moderation.”

Can kombucha cause a yeast infection? ›

A diet rich in high-sugar beverages such as kombucha is a breeding ground for bacterial imbalances such as Candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth causes various health issues, including vagin*l infections, seasonal allergies, digestive issues, skin problems, and nail fungus.

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