Because Paleo eating focuses on pre-historic food, it predates the creation of Kombucha (roughly 2-3,000 years ago in Ancient Asia).
However, it has been noted that many gut-promoting foods have still found their way into modern paleo diets despite evidently not being present millions of years ago in our ancestors’ diet.
As an example, raw broccoli has is still a relatively modern vegetable, yet is abundant in Paleo diets due to its high fibrous content and anti-carcinogenic properties.
The contention with Kombucha is the presence of sugar used in the fermentation process, which caveman clearly wouldn’t have access to several million – or even thousand – years ago.
Does it Matter?
Because Kombucha’s gut-promoting properties are widely recognised by the Paleo community, it’s become something of an “approved beverage” in many Paleo diets due to kombucha’s abundance of probiotics and healthy B Vitamins/Acids (as we discussed in depth in this article).
The point is, is that not all healthy food options were available during the Paleo era yet are still considered “raw foods” which would be permissible by Paleo standards.
However, since Kombucha’s SCOBY consumes sugar during the fermentation process, many have questioned whether this leaves the beverage as a “true Paleo-friendly food/drink”.
The real question is – does fermented food fit with the paleolithic diet? Foods that are usually fermented are fruits, vegetables, and meats, that makes it very hard to say that fermented food cannot fit into a paleo diet. But to take it a step further it’s not hard to imagine a hunter-gatherer putting food into a hole, shell, bladder, skin, or some other container and let it sit for a while. Hunter-gatherer’s would soon work out that food left to sit in a container for a few days developed a lovely taste, and lasted longer before putrefying.
Based on sugar’s inclusion, you would have to say no, it’s not Paleo-friendly in the sense that cavemen didn’t have access to sugar. However, does this mean that they wouldn’t reap the benefits had they possessed the knowledge on how to ferment tea and create a delicious ‘booch all that time ago? I’m sure we’d both be in agreement that they certainly would!
While Kombucha contains sugar – which is an essential part of the fermentation process – it’s found within minimal quantities in the end product which is negated by its overall health benefits and gut-promoting properties.
As Paleo followers are quick to acknowledge, this has been sufficient to find its way into a modified version of the diet. As to whether it still constitutes a true “Paleo diet”, we’ll leave that down to the individual consumer to decide. We know we wouldn’t be so quick to discard it based on its abundance of health benefits!