In recent years, bubble tea’s popularity has sky rocketed. Once a relatively obscure drink only found in Chinatown, now you can find a bubble tea store on practically every street corner in New York City. Bubble tea chains are springing up left and right and the beloved drink is more available than ever. Hold on to your hats, though: Bubble tea is not the fun and harmless drink that many people assume.
The main components of bubble tea are tea, milk, and tapioca pearls — as well as alarmingly high levels of sugar. Tapioca pearls — loved for their chewy, candy-like texture and often referred to by their Chinese name, boba — are as bad for your health as actual candy. Boiled and then saturated with sugar, those fun little balls can each add five to 14 calories to your drink, which means that just 1/4 cup of them can add over 100 extra calories to your already calorically-dense drink. Not only do boba add extra calories, they don’t actually contribute anything in the way of nutrition. Boba are basically all carbs — they lack any minerals or vitamins and contain no fiber.
One bubble tea can contain as much as 50 grams of sugar and close to 500 calories.
While one bubble tea here and there is unlikely to have severe effects on your health, it should absolutely not be consumed on a daily basis. So the next time you are hit with a bubble tea craving, try to resist. Your body will thank you!