After that, other supplement companies jumped onto the bandwagon and started producing their own versions. Kombucha Wonder Drink might just be the original commercial kombucha, but is it the best? We looked a little deeper into it, and this is what we found.
Too many people say kombucha can help with a vast range of conditions – from constipation to cancer, and maybe it really can help with some of them.
The problem is that both the Mayo Clinic and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics aren’t aware of any human trials that can provide any evidence to prove that kombucha can help with any of those conditions.
What they do know is that kombucha, whether it’s home-made or commercially produced, has an acidity level somewhere between that of Sprite and Pepsi, but what they don’t know yet is whether it alkalizes in the body once consumed.
There are reports, though, of kombucha causing metabolic acidosis, which is when there’s too much acid in the body.
That depends on who you ask. Mentalhealthdaily.com lists over thirty possible adverse reactions in alphabetical order, from acidosis and acne, through lead poisoning and lightheadedness, and all the way through to the end of the alphabet, as in vomiting, weight changes, and yeast infections.
We’ll be looking at these – and would you believe other? – potential side effects in more detail later on.
Last we saw, Wonder Drink was on sale in specialty grocery stores for around $3.99, but it was also being sold for a lot more than that on Amazon.
We’d love to love kombucha, we really would. After all, it’s been made and consumed (but judging from many taste-related user comments we’ve seen, not necessarily enjoyed) by millions of people for thousands of years. And we probably would feel some benefit from well-made home-brewed kombucha, thanks to the fermentation process which creates active cultures and gives it the probiotic qualities to improve gut health and nutrient absorption.
And better gut health in general and more nutrients being absorbed can lead to an improved metabolism, and because there’s so much less sugar in kombucha than in regular sodas, even a certain amount of weight loss. If you swap it for those sodas, of course.
But sadly, Wonder Drink’s product is a totally different matter: it’s comparatively higher in sugar, and any probiotic properties have long since been zapped away during the pasteurization process. Wonder Drink is basically a kombucha flavored drink, with no real health or weight loss benefits on offer so as far as health benefits and weight loss are concerned, therefore we do not recommend Kombucha Wonder Drink to our readers.
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Wonder Drink is available in eight different flavors, and is packaged in single-serving cans and double-serving resealable bottles. The base ingredient in most cases is Oolong tea, to which is added yeast and bacteria cultures to start the fermentation process.
For some flavors, Oolong tea is replaced by green tea or jasmine tea. To whichever tea is added flavorings which could be either juice concentrates, natural essences, fruit extracts, infusions or, “other natural flavors” – whatever they may be.
For weight loss purposes, drink it between ten and thirty minutes before a meal. And always remember there are two servings in every bottle.
At some point in the production process Wonder Drink is pasteurized, just like milk, to kill off harmful bacteria. Unfortunately it does exactly that to any helpful bacteria as well, which kind of negates the whole point of Wonder Drink – whether you want it for health maintenance or weight loss purposes.
Well, fortunately Wonder Drink doesn’t claim its products will do anything – at least not on their website, anyway. Not a single mention of weight loss anywhere.
Now, would that be because they don’t want to set themselves up for being caught out by weight loss product reviewers like ourselves?
Or could they – despite the taste-related complaints we’ve read – just be marketing Wonder Drink as what they think would be a refreshing alternative to full-sugar or even diet sodas?
Does it work? As a weight loss supplement? Much as we hate to go on about the good Dr Oz, we did discover a recommendation of his to “switch your daily soda for kombucha – you could lose up to seven pounds in one year”. Well, at least he didn’t promise a near instant weight loss, like he was known to do for certain other products in days gone by.
Then again, if it supports improved gut flora and better nutrient absorption, that’s going to give the metabolism the nudge it needs to start speeding up, and that’s always good for weight loss.
So the answer here is a definite “possibly”.
On the whole, the fermented tea in Wonder Drink is Oolong, but it can also – depending on flavor – be green or jasmine tea.
In general, then, the ingredients are as follows:
And as for the different flavorings:
Earlier on, we said we’d let you know what all the side effects listed alphabetically were on mentalhealthdaily.com, and here they are:
Acidosis, acne, allergic reactions, anxiety, bloating, blood sugar changes, brain fog, chills, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry Mouth, flatulence, gastrointestinal toxicity, gastrointestinal distress, gurgling stomach, flu-like symptoms, headaches, indigestion, jaundice, lead poisoning, lightheadedness, liver problems, loose stools, mood swings, muscle aches, nausea, skin rash, stomach aches, sweating, tiredness, vomiting, weight changes, and yeast infections.
Elsewhere we found a shorter but more detailed list of side effects, as follows:
Acidosis – too much acid in the body.
Liver damage – it’s all about the alcohol content, which can vary from brand to brand, and usually depends on the length of time kombucha’s left to ferment.
Lead poisoning – kombucha contains lead and too much of that can being on lead poisoning.
Acne – when new, good gut bacteria is introduced, the old, disease-causing bacteria dies, setting off a chain of health-related events which have an effect on the skin.
Allergic reaction – this could be caused by flavorings, contamination, or bad storage.
Bloating – this tends to happen when people drink too much kombucha at one time.
Diarrhea – it’s all about the caffeine, which can bring on that and other digestion problems.
Changes in blood sugar levels.
Weakening of the immune system – kombucha seems to be OK for those with normally-functioning immune systems, but not for those whose systems are already impaired.
And, of course, there’s the alcohol produced during the fermentation process.
It’s practically impossible to keep kombucha completely free of germs, so it’s not suitable for people with weakened immune systems, pregnant or breastfeeding women, diabetics (it can affect blood sugar levels) and even though there’s not as much caffeine in kombucha as there is in caffeinated drinks, it’s still possible to make people’s digestion problems worse.
We’ve mentioned the acidity aspect before, but not all the problems acidity can cause for teeth.
And we’ve also mentioned the potential for raising fluoride levels just that bit too high – always remembering that fluoride effects are cumulative.
But one thing nobody at Wonder Drink seems to have wanted to warn us about is the alcohol in their kombucha. OK, so it’s below the 0.5% limit and therefore legally classified as non-alcoholic, meaning it’s safe to drink kombucha and drive, but WebMD tells us that Antabuse and kombucha doesn’t mix at all. So ordering a kombucha instead of a beer when you’re taking Antabuse is a really bad idea says WebMD, purely because of the nasty reaction mixing the two can cause.
There aren’t as many reviews on Amazon, our go-to site for less biased reviews than those on retailer websites, as we’d expected. However, among those few reviews were one or two interesting statements, including:
We really liked the idea of the naturally carbonated tea and thought it might be interesting. Well interesting it was, if by “interesting” you mean “makes your mouth pucker with disapproval”. The more I tried to drink it the more I thought to myself that I had almost certainly encountered this flavor before. Then it hit me. I had come across this distinct flavor… during easter while decorating eggs. The flavor of the Essence of Lemon is nearly identical to the flavor of White Vinegar. To test it out I even went to the cupboard and poured a cap of white vinegar and swished it around in my mouth. Yep, thats it right there.
Then we found:
I know of no tradition in which kombucha is pasteurized. So calling this “Traditional Kombucha” is highly misleading. And how is “95% organic” a selling point, when there are plenty of 100% organic kombuchas to choose from? So if you’re drinking kombucha for your health, why not find a raw, 100% organic brew? This is essentially 95% organic soda.
And along those lines, there was also:
For me there is little reason to drink kombucha except for the probiotics (OK, flavor as well), but this product is pasteurized. There are no probiotics in this product. I drank it but it was essentially a waste of my money. I found a live culture and I now make raw kombucha at home.
From your local specialist grocery store? That’d be a first. And from Amazon? You’d have to check with the vendors there.
Amazon and other online sales portals and specialist grocery stores all over the country.
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Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.