Enjoying probiotics as a drink will not only help ease digestion problems, but it will help you to lose weight.
That’s because, in the long run, the probiotics in the drink will help boost the numbers of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which, in turn, decreases the potentially pathogenic bacteria from thriving at the same time.
For many people, the fizzy (second fermented) probiotic drinks completely replace all soda drinks, helping to transition people to a healthier lifestyle and sustainable weight. When my spouse drinks fizzy probiotic drinks like water kefir soda and fruit-flavored kombucha, he doesn’t even think twice about craving a diet soda, and it is immediate.
In fact, I changed nothing about my diet but enjoyed probiotic drinks like water kefir and kombucha each week and lost 10 pounds over a 6 month period. I didn’t even have a probiotic drink every day!
There are two main reasons probiotic drinks are effective for weight loss:
- There are trillions of live, beneficial bacteria in each 4-6 oz drink, which act as reinforcements to any of the other beneficial bacteria already present in your gut. Don’t think you have many good ones to add to when you start? Given time, they will strengthen whatever the numbers are present and help slow the growth of the sugar-loving bacteria as well.
- The process of fermentation of the drink as it produces the beneficial bacteria actually decreases the sugar content of the drink’s ingredients. This decrease in sugar is very significant because the fat-producing, potentially pathogenic bacteria thrive on sugar inside the gut.
When you drink a fermented drink, you aren’t feeding those bacteria but starving them instead. End result? They shrink back and leave room for the beneficial bacteria in the fermented drink and those present in the gut to get a little stronger and more present in the gut instead.
Need a quick and easy probiotic STAT?
Many health food stores now carry a variety of brands of brewed, live culture kombucha and milk kefir probiotic drinks that will definitely fill your gut with lots of good beneficial bacteria.
Some specialty stores are even starting to sell another fermented drink, water kefir, which is extremely easy and cheap to make at home and has a quick turn over time.
Find out which brands are good to drink in this post!
But, interestingly, now that kombucha and kefir are “the new craze” in health drinks, other ingredients have snuck into the bottles along with the good stuff. Because, let’s face it, no matter how much 100% juice you add to the fermented tea drink, it’s tart and everything tastes better with sugar…
Sugar + Drink = Candida Growth and Weight Gain
A well-established health site, The Healthy Home Economist, updated her 2012 post about kombucha drinks because of what she has found recently on many of the top selling ingredient lists: added sugar.
I agree with her statement, “If the flavored kombuchas are your thing, watch out! The amount of sugar in these bottles, which are typically 12-16 oz, is significant and can easily trigger a candida attack for those who are susceptible. Sticking with plain or better still, brewing kombucha yourself is the best bet for enjoying this delicious, healthful and bubbly beverage with all the benefits and none of the downside.”
While kombucha normally does not “trigger a candida attack” when brewed correctly, it is the added sugar after fermentation that is causing this to occur. Read about Candida and sugar in this post by Dr. Will Cole.
Instead, with probiotic drinks, the equation looks more like this:
Drink + Sugar + process of fermentation =
lactic acid + small amount of “digested” sugar + beneficial bacteria + good yeasts & fungi =
healthy gut + weight loss
Extra step, yes, with lots of benefits.
What I love about this new enterprise is trying all the different flavor combinations and then replicating them at home for much less cost as well as less added sugar. I recommend starting with one of the following three easy fermented drinks and adding different 100% fruit juice favorites or fresh cubes of ginger and/or fresh fruit.
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5 Skinny Probiotic Drinks
1. Water kefir
Water kefir is made specifically with “water kefir grains” that need to be purchased once before they quickly multiply, providing many opportunities to share with friends, mix into smoothies, or make larger batches of kefir soda.
Since the fermentation time is less, approximately 2-3 days, there are less beneficial bacteria in each drink.
Water kefir and weight loss:
- aids in digestion
- adds beneficial bacteria into the gut with 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts
- WK is more of a “light-weight” probiotic drink
2. Milk Kefir
The milk-based kefir is most commonly sold in grocery stores and specialty stores. Many brands of milk kefir are sold as smoothies or thick yogurt drinks. While these are readily available in the marketplace, similar to the kombucha market, is the need to be cautious of the sugar added to the bottled drink.
Oftentimes, this “flavor” amount is quite high in added sugar and therefore the benefits are minimized because the body is flooded with too much sugar, leading to a quick spike in blood sugar levels. Weight loss is all about available sugar in the blood and what the body does with the excess: stores it as fat.
If I’m in desperate need of protein and beneficial bacteria, I will choose a non-flavored (vanilla) milk kefir drink in a small size. Fortunately, milk kefir is very easy to make at home, with a day or two ferment on the counter at room temp or 3-4 days kept in the fridge, saving you a ton of money right from the start.
Milk kefir is probably the most versatile probiotic drink to make at home and have on hand for meals, snacks, and condiments and dips. Just mix a tablespoon in with any store bought milk product for added beneficial bacteria into your meal. You can further strain the milk kefir and make milk kefir cheese, which is excellent in sauces, condiments, and added into dressings.
Milk kefir and weight loss:
- wide range of uses for inclusion into meals and store bought condiments
- 30 to 50 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts and contains calcium and magnesium in high amounts
- the addition of the milk-based beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus is proven to target and decrease visceral fat in the abdomen while also suppressing the growth of unfriendly bacteria and keeping yeasts such as candida under control
- it contains animal protein and healthy fat for satiation
A third lesser known fermented drink is called rejuvelac. If you have whole grains (hard seeds that you would have to grind to make flour) on hand, use the grains to make this digestive aid that acts similar to carrot juice.
Rejuvelac is great in that it you don’t need to drink a lot of it and you can then go on to use the grains in other ways, like sprouting or baking. I like to sip it in the morning to help with detox.
Any whole grain can be soaked and sprouted for this drink, but many people prefer the taste profiles of rye, wheat berry, and quinoa (gluten-free), which are said to be tangy, nutty, or slightly cheesy in flavor.
Rejuvelac and weight loss:
- aids in digestion and decreases inflammation
- adds vitamins and enzymes to your body that help with digestion and cleansing of the intestinal tract
- the enzymes help the Lactobacillus to grow
- boosts the body’s morning detox when drunk in the morning before you eat breakfast
4. Beet Kvass
There is yet another skinny drink I should mention, but it not for the faint in taste buds. While it may sound strange and unappetizing to the majority of people, this traditional fermented veggie drink called beet kvass is an easy ferment that will truly boost weight loss since it is an effective digestive aid and hormone balancer.
You can also reuse the beets twice for making the drink and the ferment can be added to soups, salad dressing, or other recipes that call for a vinegar. Finish off the ferment by using the beets in a beet soup recipe. I’d recommend you read my post, Watered Down Beet Kvass, so that you are well-prepared for the experience.
Honestly, once I added a slice of ginger in with the beets and then literally left it to ferment in the cabinet for over a month, I absolutely started to love ADDING beet kvass to everything. I’d even go as far as to say it is actually my favorite probiotic drink ferment to have on hand.
I use beet kvass liquid brine and/or the slices of fermented beets in:
- salad dressings
- sipping bone broth
- any soup
- sourdough bread recipes
- raw, veggie slaws
- sauerkraut recipes
- brownies and cupcakes (when I actually bake)
- beef meals and gravy sauces
A photo posted by AVanDeWege (@resetyourweight) on
Beet kvass and weight loss:
- strong detoxifier
- adds enzymes and probiotics into gut
- helps balance hormones
- high in fiber
5. Water with a splash of any probiotic drink or ACV
I feel like I’m cheating on number 5, but it is a great way to slowly acquire a taste for a probiotic drink. And, you should drink around 1.5 to 2 quarts of water a day to help flush toxins out of your body, hydrate your cells and muscles, and rev up metabolism.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is found in grocery stores and makes any drink or water a quick probiotic drink. Bragg’s ACV is the most commonly known probiotic brand, and it stands up to its reputation for quality. Make lemonade and add a splash for probiotics and tartness. Use it in raw slaws and salad dressings. Add it to soups before serving as well. It is very versatile!
Better yet, freeze some probiotic drinks as ice cubes and toss them into your water glass! Anything you can do to increase your water intake is worthwhile and will definitely lead to weight loss. Bragg’s ACV in water first thing in the morning will help flush the night’s toxins out faster, or sip it all throughout the day and you will eventually see results from this powerful probiotic.
While I realize this is just a clear glass of water, for me it also represents a changed mind, a goal achieved, and a life lived more intentionally. While it’s easy to know what steps to take to be healthy/healthier, getting to the point in your life when you know small changes will have an impact as well as the big overhaul is worth acknowledging. “Chlorine kills the healthy bacteria with the bad” came second to actually drinking enough water daily without conscious thought. Now, I feel I’ve progressed enough that the small step to filtered water is “worth it” (crazy rationalization, I know). (I do live in a big city with the horrible nickname of Dirty Water). Dream big and name all your stars:) #healthyliving #dreams #goals #guthealth #beneficialbacteria #water #liveclean #everychoicematters #youcandoit #weightlossgoals #weightloss
A photo posted by AVanDeWege (@resetyourweight) on
Probiotic Drinks and Alcohol
“One concern that is a commonly asked question with fermented beverages is with regard to alcohol content in the brews. While little to no alcohol is produced in the first ferment phase, most of the “alcohol smell” is actually yeast. [ii]
In the second fermentation phase where you add additional sugar to the first ferment product, the majority of tested kefir sodas remain less alcoholic than a piece of overripe fruit. The more carbonated the second ferment capped in the bottle, the higher the alcohol content, which will average between 0.5% to 0.75%, depending on brew time.”
“For a frame of reference, the alcohol content of an overripe fruit-like a banana, is 0.9% to 1%.”[iii]
Which Fermented Drink Is Best for Fast Weight Loss?
If your gut is new to fermented foods or drinks, you must start introducing any one of these choices slowly as it will detoxify your gut through the introduction of beneficial bacteria.
Depending on the condition of your gut, there will be a “battle of the bacteria” between the good and bad that will upset your digestion for a bit. For this reason, I strongly recommend introducing any fermented drink slowly into your daily choices.
With that said, I would definitely go for a homemade milk kefir for quicker weight loss as it has the highest concentration on Lactobacillus acidophilus, which will visibly decrease visceral tummy fat.
In fact, the beneficial bacteria strains in milk kefir actually repopulate the digestive tract, whereas the cultures added to yogurt work more behind the scenes to positively alter gene expression and reduce inflammation.
Kombucha is my second recommendation for weight loss as it also has a much higher concentration of minerals, amino acids, probiotics, and the like. Kombucha is also a strong detoxifier, so go slow; only 4 oz. each day is all you need!
I’ll follow with rejuvelac and beet kvass. While water kefir soda is always in my fridge and sitting on my counter in a second ferment, it really is the light-weight when it comes to probiotic, fermented drinks. (And, it’s kinda touchy, needing a lot of attention…)
Which Probiotic Drink is the Easiest to Make?
In regard to ease of fermenting, beet kvass and milk kefir are very easy to do as well as being a quick ferment; I should put the disclaimer that in colder weather, most ferments are slower than their norm. (If you live in a perpetually colder climate, I suggest a heating pad under your ferments!)
Water kefir and rejuvelac are great ferments as well, however, they are higher maintenance. Kombucha does best with a “continuous brew” method that ferments much longer-at least 18 days, for a greater amount and variety of beneficial bacteria.
Thirsting To Make Your Own Probiotic Drink?
Download my Kombucha Tea, Brewing and Care Guide filled with great visuals, nutritional information, and steps.
A trusted online store for starter cultures like milk and water kefir grains and even kombucha SCOBYs is Cultures for Health.
Make your own kombucha SCOBY from one purchased bottle of 100% pure GT probiotic drink and follow this DIY over at a favorite site of mine, The Kitchn. Another very straightforward post is at the Food Renegade.
I’ve detailed my experience with rejuvelac with directions in a post called, Drink Your Grains?
My post Fizzy (Water Kefir) Soda will help you set up your water kefir grains.
Last, but not least, is my least drinking favorite beet kvass. From my post, (Watering Down) Beet Kvass, are these three recipe links. Like it a little saltier? Try the Wellness Mama‘s recipe. A great basic recipe is at The Kitchn. Want to add other flavors for a more rounded drink? Read this guest post on Homemade Mommy, How to Make Beet Kvass that Actually Tastes Good.
Have you tried any of these fermented drinks and noticed changes in your weight? Please share as a comment!