Is Kombucha SCD and GAPS Legal?

Published on Sun, 10/09/2016 - 18:25

Yes and no. Kombucha fermented at least 30-60 days and with a tart taste has breakdown the majority of sucrose and contains beneficial acids. SCD/GAPS patients struggle to breakdown unabsorbable sucrose into absorbable glucose and fructose. The array of acids in kombucha help cleanse the body and is a powerful antiseptic. All commercial brands of kombucha ferment less than 30 days and lack tart taste which signifies beneficial acids are present. We must homebrew SCD/GAPS compliant kombucha, it is cheap, easy and quick to do.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a sweet tea fermented by a culture of yeasts and bacteria. At the top of the brew forms a SCOBY(Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts) which consists of a thick white cellulose biofilm and yeast strains that hang down from the bottom and float throughout the tea. These yeasts and bacteria live in unison and benefit and thrive off each other.

Kombucha’s yeasts and bacteria work together to breakdown sucrose into glucose and fructose. Glucose is the prefered energy source and consumed first then fructose. When glucose and fructose are broken down healthy acids are left behind. When glucose and fructose become limited yeast and bacteria slow activities and recycle each other's acid byproducts.

Some kombucha brewers do a second ferment in an airtight container to produce carbonation. Carbonation is C02(Carbon Dioxide) which is a byproduct of bacteria and yeasts consuming sugars. In the first ferment CO2 floats away but in an airtight container it becomes trapped and pressure builds. Ethanol is also another byproduct of sugar consumption. Ethanol will be used as an energy source by yeasts and bacteria to produce acids. 

Fermentation times vary depending on a few variables: temperature, available oxygen and initial starter amount. This article provides tips and tricks for making SCD and GAPS legal kombucha and address frequently asked questions. However it will not go over kombucha brewing in full detail. There are many great kombucha brewing guides. The continuous brew method makes Kombucha really easy and inexpensive to make.

Are There Any SCD and GAPS Legal Kombucha Brands?

No but there are brands that use considerable less sugar. After 30 days on fermentation kombucha still retains about 20% of its original sucrose. Most commercial brands ferment shorter than 30 days when it should be between 30-90 days timeframe. I have only tasted one micro-brewery brand that had a tart vinegary taste and it was $5 a pint...

Kombucha ferments the double-sugar sucrose into its mono-sugars fructose and glucose. The digestive tract can only absorb mono-sugars. Healthy digestive tracts are able break down sucrose but SCD and GAPS patients cannot. The tart vinegary taste signifies glucose and fructose have started breaking down which signifies must sucrose has been consumed and beneficial acids are present. 

Here is a good article by the healthy home economist that reviews various kombucha brands:

None of the brands mentioned have that tart/sour taste which signifies consumption of most sugars into acids. High mountain kombucha and some GT kombucha flavors use a low amount of sugar. High sugar content can be from fruit juices which is absorbable by SCD and GAPS patients. 

SCD/GAPS patients are usually battling to restore gut flora balance. Kombucha with a tart taste will help restore balance because of its antiseptic properties. Sweet kombucha with lots of added sugar even if it’s fruit juice, which is digestible glucose and fructose, can feed harmful bacteria and inhibit gut flora restoration. 

Kombucha Continuous Brew System

SCD and GAPS legal kombucha is easy and cheap to make at home with a continuous brewing system. Use natural spring water because tap water is filled with chlorine and fluoride which will kill brew cultures. Organic black teas and sugars will contain more trace minerals than conventional brands. Check out this article on kombucha brewing vessels, do not brew in metal. Kombucha brews best at room temperature or warmer with good ventilation. 

Below are simple steps to follow:

  • Brew kombucha in two 2 gallon mason jars with plastic or stainless steel spigots
  • After the first fermentation drink from Jar A
  • When Jar A runs low, rebrew Jar A then drink from Jar B
  • When Jar B runs low, rebrew Jar B then drink from Jar A 
  • Repeat!

When is kombucha SCD/GAPS legal with all sucrose broken down? 

After 30-90 days of fermentation, kombucha is deemed SCD/GAPS legal safe for most of the sucrose is broken down. The tart taste is the easiest way to determine whether fermentation has started to break down glucose and fructose into beneficial acids. In kombucha fermentation sucrose breaks down into glucose and fructose then into beneficial acids. 

If kombucha still has a sweet taste this means it contains high amounts of glucose and fructose. Fermentation times vary depending upon temperature, available oxygen, sugar quality and initial starter amount. A hot summer time home garage a great environment for speedy kombucha ferments. 

If the taste is too tart to bear there a few options. Start drinking in small quantities, you will slowly grow accustomed to the taste. A second air-tight or bottled fermentation with a little added fruit or sugar will dramatically improve taste and texture. When sugars(sucrose, glucose and fructose) is broken down in the absence of oxygen carbonation builds up in the brew. 

Good second fermentation kombucha guides:

Frequently asked SCD and GAPS Legal Kombucha Questions

Is alcoholic and/or carbonated kombucha legal?
Is second ferment SCD and GAPS Legal?

Yes. Yeasts break down sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Bacteria break down sugar into acids and H20. Then bacteria consume ethanol to produce acids. Kombucha which undergoes a second ferment in an airtight container allows CO2 to build up. Sometimes the SCOBY traps CO2 in first ferment. There is only trace amounts of ethanol or alcohol in kombucha. 

Where do I purchase kombucha SCOBYs or starters?

Can I eat kombucha SCOBYs?

Yes, great probiotic. There are a variety of recipes available online.

Can I ferment kombucha for too long?

No. When kombucha bacteria and yeasts exhaust glucose and fructose they recycle each other’s beneficial acids indefinitely. Acids are a usable low and slow energy source. 

What is the best type of sugar to use in kombucha making?

This question is best answered by Kombucha Kamp Articles:

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