Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

GLC1968

Kombucha vs Bacon

Recommended Posts

I have a question and this is something that has been bouncing around in my brain ever since learning about the Whole30 concept. I've tried to do a search, but I cannot find these two things discussed in conjunction anywhere on this forum.

I know that bacon cured with any type of sugar is expressly forbidden during a Whole30. But, as home makers of bacon know, the sugar is basically 'washed' off before it is complete. Packaged bacon lists zero grams of sugar per serving.

Kombucha is also made with sugar but from what I can find, it is OK on a Whole30. Why is that? Yes, the scooby eats the sugar, but unless you are happily drinking vinegar, there is still *some* traces left in the drink. And even though the store bought ones list zero grams of sugar, some form of it clearly went into making the drink, not unlike bacon.

How are these two things different?

(if someone tells me that Kombucha is NOT allowed on a Whole30, then my question is moot, of course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a great question, curious to see what mods/experts say.

When I am not Whole-ing and I buy the bacon (as opposed to when my husband buys it, he just gets whatever standard kind), I get the organic one that they have at Sprouts (the brand name currently escapes me), which just has a small amount of cane juice. Tasting one versus the other, the organic is far less sugary, it really seems like just a trace amount of sweetness. It seems to me that an individual who already knows that sugar is not a slippery slope should be able to eat this trace amount of cane juice (not refined sugar) on a W30 and not worry about it. Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've frequently seen that kombucha is allowed provided it has no sugar added after fermentation. As for your question, I haven't a clue, I'm hoping someone who actually knows will answer you as I'd like to read it myself :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nope. no bacon with sugar. Something that says "cane juice" in the ingredient list is not ok during a whole 30, even if it also says "0 grams of sugar". Now, for me, post whole-30, I might not freak out about it, but I understand the reasons why a line had to be drawn and I also know some people would exploit that "gray area" like crazy if there was any ambiguity in the plan at all.

Kombucha is quite a bit different in my opinion, mainly because it brings something to the table nutritionally. Including a range of probiotics from a variety of fermented foods is a net gain. Including bacon doesn't bring anything more (nutritionally, anyway) than you could get eating pork belly.

All that said, if you are uncomfortable with what might seem like a contradiction, simply omit Kombucha as well. Although more difficult to find commercially, options like Beet Kvass and Coconut water kiefer would be good, non-sugar containing subs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Packaged bacon lists zero grams of sugar per serving.

I just have to comment on this. Baked goods also say "0 grams of trans fats PER SERVING" but that is because there is a loophole that allows trace amounts to be reported as 0. Have one serving and you are still getting an unhealthy dose of trans fats, despite the presence of partially hydrogenated fats in the ingredient list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As KB said, the government has allowed food manufacturers to minimize percentages if it's below a certain amount. I think they can say zero carbs if it has a hair less than 4. So, you really have to look at the label and see what the ingredients are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the question in the sense that in the bacon making process the sugar may be used to cure the pork but that it gets washed off leaving a negligible amount if any in the final product...I have always had this "question" in my mind during the W30 but am able to source truly sugar-free bacon so I use that during W30 but I do go back to my Organic Sunday Bacon from time to time while not on strict W30 program...But I do see the point in raising the question for someone in the "know" about the bacon making process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand the question in the sense that in the bacon making process the sugar may be used to cure the pork but that it gets washed off leaving a negligible amount if any in the final product...I have always had this "question" in my mind during the W30 but am able to source truly sugar-free bacon so I use that during W30 but I do go back to my Organic Sunday Bacon from time to time while not on strict W30 program...But I do see the point in raising the question for someone in the "know" about the bacon making process.

I've made bacon 3 times now and every recipe calls for nitrates (maybe it's nitrites) and sugar. When you cure bacon, the sugar doesn't go away. What is there when you cure it is there when you eat it unless you washed it off which sounds like a horrible thing to do to pork belly. I (and the rest of us pork belly fiends :) ) just don't use sugar when we cure it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm really lucky. Here in the UK, although there's a lot of bacon cured with sugar, there's also a lot without, even in the supermarkets. The ironic thing is that all organic bacon that I've been able to find commercially does contain sugar :angry: However there's a local organic farmer who cures his bacon just with nitrites, no sugar and he supplies a shop the other side of the city from me. So I go occasionally, stock up and then, when I get home, freeze it in portion sizes, gives me a chance to play with my new toy - the vacuum sealer :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to clarify my question - I'm not asking if I can eat bacon during a Whole30. I also have no plans to drink Kombucha during my Whole30 because I know how much sugar goes into it as I've made it numerous times.

My question was about the thought process behind the difference in requirements. Honestly, I just don't get how Kombucha can be OK and I'd like someone to explain it to me. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to clarify my question - I'm not asking if I can eat bacon during a Whole30. I also have no plans to drink Kombucha during my Whole30 because I know how much sugar goes into it as I've made it numerous times.

My question was about the thought process behind the difference in requirements. Honestly, I just don't get how Kombucha can be OK and I'd like someone to explain it to me. Thanks!

I think Missmary did explain it in her post above. However, maybe one of the more sciency mods will give you an exact answer. Sorry, sometimes the threads take on a life of their own that have little to do with the opening post. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I have no problem with tangents! I just wanted to clarify that this wasn't a question about what I can and cannot have...but more just an explanation request.

I hear what Missmissy is suggesting, but honeslty, I don't buy it. I don't think it's because Kombucha has health benefits. I mean, it's great that it does...but I still can't come to terms with the fact that it does have sugar in it (again, unless you drink it in it's vinegar state) and yet it's OK. In fact, it also has trace amounts of alcohol in it too and yet pure vanilla extract in tiny amounts is also not allowed because of the alcohol. It just doesn't make sense to me intuitively, that's all.

Maybe I just have a beef with Kombucha? ;) (I really don't...I like it myself!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I have no problem with tangents! I just wanted to clarify that this wasn't a question about what I can and cannot have...but more just an explanation request.

I hear what Missmissy is suggesting, but honeslty, I don't buy it. I don't think it's because Kombucha has health benefits. I mean, it's great that it does...but I still can't come to terms with the fact that it does have sugar in it (again, unless you drink it in it's vinegar state) and yet it's OK. In fact, it also has trace amounts of alcohol in it too and yet pure vanilla extract in tiny amounts is also not allowed because of the alcohol. It just doesn't make sense to me intuitively, that's all.

Maybe I just have a beef with Kombucha? ;) (I really don't...I like it myself!)

LOL..I sort of hated it at first. Then I really liked it and it seemed like a special "adult" beverage. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I avoided responding to this question for a while, hoping someone else would offer a satisfying answer. Miss Mary was on the right track talking about the importance of drawing lines, and maybe what I can add will help. Or maybe it will frustrate you, I don't know.

No added sugar is a clear guideline. The sugar associated with most cures of bacon has been ruled out pretty much since the beginning of the Whole30. Bacon is popular in the paleo world, but bacon is a long way from being a great cut of meat, so there is no good reason to make exceptions for bacon.

The Hartwigs have made some exceptions for the Whole30 as in the case of green beans. Green beans are legumes and off-plan, but as the guidelines say, they are more pod than bean and in the spirit of encouraging you to eat your veggies, green beans are accepted as good food during a Whole30.

If I had been the first moderator to deal with the question of kombucha, it might not be okay during a Whole30. No sugar is a clear rule and I was about to declare kombucha good for AFTER your Whole30 when another moderator got to the question before me and said it was okay. Specifically, kombucha that lists 2 grams or less of sugar per bottle is okay because that amount of sugar is used up in the fermentation process. Or mostly used up. There are kombuchas that have a lot more sugar and much of that sugar survives fermentation. Those varieties are not okay during a Whole30.

I view kombucha as similar to green beans. A rigid application of the guidelines would rule it out, but there are good reasons to accept it as good food. I started drinking kombucha after it was "approved" on the forum and am now a big fan drinking a bottle every day. I just got a case of GT Dave's Gingerade yesterday.

A key thing here is that the Whole30 is not open to individual interpretation. Ultimately, the Hartwigs define the Whole30. Moderators make judgements along the way because people keep asking about things that have never been dealt with in this community before.

Occasionally, internal debate leads to changes. Once upon a time, neither clarified butter or ghee was approved during a Whole30. I was okay with that until Dallas and Melissa wrote an article about how good clarified butter and ghee was and how these products were almost pure butter fat with most of the milk solids removed. I wanted to know why they could not be consumed during a Whole30 if they were so good. I was a little cheeky with the Hartwigs and they argued me down initially. Later, they studied the subject further, did some experimentation, talked with a bunch of people and next thing you know about 3 to 6 months later, butter and ghee was accepted during a Whole30. (So if you love ghee, you're welcome. My being a pest prompted the change).

So there you have it. Bacon with sugar is not okay because the Whole9/Whole30 leaders said it was not okay and kombucha with up to 2 grams of sugar is okay because the Whole9/Whole30 leaders said it was okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for putting it into perspective, Tom.

I guess that I can say I sort of understand why it was given the OK, but I will have to continue to exclude it from my Whole30's. Personally, sugar is my demon, so it makes zero sense for me to take the chance.

I guess I was hoping that someone would come back and say that all bottlers of kombucha had to show there was zero sugar left in the liquid before bottling it or something! LOL! Wishful thinking, I guess!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, one more thing...

A local seller of home brewed kombucha told me that all commercial brands let the kombucha go to vinegar state (ie no sugar left), and THEN and more sugar for flavor. They do this for consistency in the product taste. That makes me think that the 2g on the label is actually in what you drink and not used up by the cultures. I'm not sure how true that is, but it might be worth investigating at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I was hoping that someone would come back and say that all bottlers of kombucha had to show there was zero sugar left in the liquid before bottling it or something! LOL! Wishful thinking, I guess!

Awww....you should really check out a bottle of GT Kombucha when you see one....they are really a warm and fuzzy kinda company. They always list "100% pure love!!!" in the ingredients on all of their kombucha. I think even if they didn't have to list it, they probably would.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm skeptical of sweeping generalizations like that. I'm quite sure "all" kombucha brands do not all do the same thing.

I do think forgoing kombucha during the whole 30 is a perfectly reasonable approach for you to take, regardless of the rules.

If you want to try brewing your own post-whole 30, you could experiement with longer fermentation periods keep that remaining sugar to an absolute minimum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Because I said so!" :P

LOL. Because M&D said so. ;) Can be frustrating to not understand the logic all of the time, but it is what it is.

Just like when my kids question my logic about rules, sometimes "because I said so" is the only answer they need to know to move on... :)

And BTW THANK YOU TOM for GHEE!!! And THANK YOU to the other moderator for my GT Gingerade Kombucha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow - quite a thread! Tom has pretty much nailed the perspective, but as I'm one of The Hartwigs, I'll try to clarify.

We make the rules as clear as we can, to make it easy for people to follow the program. The rules state, no added sugar, in any form. This means if sugar is listed in the ingredients - even if the label says "0 grams per serving" - it's out for the Whole30.

If you found bacon cured with sugar that did not list sugar in the ingredient list, it would be okay on the Whole30. If you find kombucha fermented with sugar, but doesn't list sugar in the ingredient list, that's also okay. It doesn't matter if there are >0 sugar grams listed on the nutrition label - lots of foods (like 100% unsweetened applesauce) will show >0 sugar grams on the nutrition label. That doesn't rule it out - only added sugar (any form of sugar in the ingredient list) rules it out. Again, this is due to our desire to have consistency in the rules.

If kombucha (or any other "allowed" or "healthy" food) isn't okay for you, from a psychological perspective or a physical perspective, we encourage you to leave that out of your personal Whole30. And yes, we know the program isn't perfectly consistent - and sometimes, the desire for consistency in the rules results in some silly things being excluded (or included). But we do the best we can to keep the program both maximally healthy, and maximally easy to implement. We do the best we can.

Thanks for the question, and the discussion.

Best,

Melissa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites