The world has changed a lot since Jamie Oliver came into school and banished our turkey dinosaurs and showed us what chicken nuggets are really made of. We’re generally much more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, but when the post-lunch slump comes (particularly in the height of summer) it can become far too easy to reach for a fizzy drink, and it’s not just the newly introduced sugar tax that’s costing us. Come with us and explore the world of additives, E-numbers and
What is an additive?
Humans have been using additives for centuries. A hard day spent hunting or fishing by our ancestors would have become all the more tiresome had they had to go out and do it every day, so they developed smoking and preserving in saltwater to stop food from spoiling. Fast forward to the time of the spice trade, and we realised that we could make food taste better and last longer by using various spices which slow down the growth of the microbes that spoil food.
So far, so good, right? No one has a problem with a bit of pepper on their steak, especially if it’s going to keep gut-churning nasties at bay.
Fast forward to the 19th century, and we slowly became more ingenious at making food cheaper and easier to come by. Sugar, the most obvious additive, found its way everywhere (and has the added bonus of playing on our reward system, lighting up the brain and making us crave more). Now we use these additives to make our food a more tempting colour, give them a tempting fizz, make the texture more runny, oozy or fluffy, and balance out flavours where the natural ingredients can’t.
Eventually, we came to use so many different additives for different uses, the E number chart was created. While they have a negative association after studies showed many increased hyperactivity in children, some E numbers are completely natural. Vitamin C has it’s own E number (E300), and products claiming themselves to be completely free of E numbers often aren’t for this very reason - it’s the artificially added ones you want to look out for.
Why does it matter?
Gone are the days of additives as a purely innocent and legitimate way to make life a bit easier. Additives now can interfere with almost all systems in the body, leading to negative physical and mental implications.
One of the most well-known additives, phosphoric acid is added to cola drinks to balance out the sugar - in fact, one British pharmacist has suggested coke is so sweet, we’d naturally vomit as soon as it entered the body were it not for this tart-making trickster. The problem? Phosphoric acid is known to lower bone density and calcium in the body, can affect kidney function, tooth decay and even accelerated ageing. But it’s ok - Coca-Cola themselves will tell you that it’s ok to drink because phosphorous is what our bones and teeth are made of. Anyone got their PR guy’s number?
And that’s just one of the many artificial additives in just one of the many soft drinks we reach for as a nation on a daily basis. But of course, the coca-cola recipe is a closely guarded secret. We wonder why….?
But kombucha has caffeine and sugar too, right?
The first difference with the added sugar in KTea kombucha is that we use raw cane sugar, rather than processed white sugar. Refined sugar is broken down by the body far more quickly than unrefined sugars, giving an instant hit to the bloodstream and messing with insulin levels.
Another is that it’s slowly eaten by the bacteria in the SCOBY (remember him - we met our friendly symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast in this blog). There’s about 3 - 6 grams of added sugar per bottle of our kombucha - compare that to the 35g in a 330ml can of coke and your body is certainly going to thank you for not putting it through a sugary-rollercoaster ride.
Much the same can be said for the caffeine, which is naturally occurring in the tea leaves we use [link to flavour profiles blog]. It’s digested by the SCOBY, so the resulting levels are in fact lower than a cup of decaf coffee. The pep you feel after a swig of kombucha is more of a natural high, rather than a pupil-dilating, heart racing overload.
You can count the number of ingredients in our bottles on one hand, and, more importantly, pronounce them all.
Filtered water - tea leaves and botanicals - fair-trade raw cane sugar - SCOBY
Let KTea set your heart aflutter naturally, and leave the artificially heart-racing drinks behind.