Is Hard Kombucha Still Healthy?

Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic drink known for its many health benefits. Made from fermented green or black tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), kombucha can help improve immune function, digestion, and gut health (via Bustle). But is hard kombucha just as healthy? 

Although all kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol due to the fermentation process, it's not nearly enough to get you buzzed. Hard kombucha, on the other hand, contains around the same amount of alcohol as beer, which is roughly between 4.5% and 7%. So while hard kombucha may still contain some diminished probiotic effects, it's still an alcoholic beverage and ultimately should not be treated as a health drink like regular kombucha. 

"Hard kombucha cannot be categorized as a healthy choice because it is still considered alcohol, aka discretionary calories which do not supply the body with vital nutrients," Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the author of The Better Period Food Solution, told Health. "At this time, it's not guaranteed you'll be getting a significant amount of alive and helpful probiotics in hard kombucha."

Is hard kombucha healthier than other alcoholic drinks?

While hard kombucha may have fewer calories and grams of sugar than other alcoholic beverages, it's not really any healthier for you than wine or beer. Since hard kombucha contains alcohol, it can't be classified as a healthy alternative to any other alcoholic drink (via Health). Although it might be preferable to sugary cocktails and mixed drinks, a can or bottle of hard kombucha isn't any healthier than a typical glass of rosé. 

"In my opinion, hard kombuchas are a comparable alternative to beer, wine, or mixed drinks, especially if a client prefers the taste of kombucha to these drinks," Anna Brown, a registered dietician nutritionist and the founder of Nutrition Squeezed, told Health. "I would recommend it as an alcoholic option over a sugary mixed drink like a pina colada." Like any alcoholic beverage, hard kombucha should be consumed responsibly and in moderation. Consuming alcohol in excess can cause damage to your health.