Boba milk tea, often called bubble tea or tapioca milk tea, can include any number of added ingredients, such as fruit or honey, but the starring ingredients are milk, tea and sago, which is tapioca pearls. While milk and tea are certainly nutritious, boba milk tea also typically contains a large dose of added sugar, which is a major consideration when deciding whether to add this beverage to your healthy eating plan.
Boba Milk Tea Basics
An 8-ounce serving of boba milk tea contains 158 calories and 5.3 grams of fat, though none of it is the saturated fat that can raise your cholesterol and lead to heart problems. Even though boba milk tea does contain milk, it contains less than 1 gram of protein per 8-ounce serving, along with some bone-building calcium.
One major drawback of boba milk tea is the 18 grams of sugar an 8-ounce serving of the drink usually contains. While a tiny portion of that is naturally occurring sugars present in milk and the tapioca pearls, some of it is added sugar. All added sugar does is increase the number of empty calories in your diet, and taking in more calories than you burn can cause you to gain weight. When you're overweight, you're at a higher risk for heart disease. Flavored boba milk tea, which often contains sugary syrups, can be even higher in added sugar than the plain version of the drink.
Tapioca Pearl Nutrition
The tapioca pearls in boba milk tea contribute key vitamins and minerals to the drink. The pearls contain iron, an essential mineral that plays a role in making red blood cells that, in turn, carry oxygen throughout your body. Tapioca pearls contribute trace amounts of magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, as well.
Should I Drink Boba Milk Tea?
Like any sugar-sweetened beverage, boba milk tea shouldn't be a regular part of your diet. Because boba milk tea doesn't supply huge doses of vitamins and minerals, it's not your best beverage choice. When you do have a boba milk tea, opt for one that's not flavored with syrup. Some recipes for boba milk tea include fresh fruit, which makes it more nutritious. Drinking tea is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, but the small amount of tea that boba milk tea contains isn't worth the calories and sugar it also contains.
- Tea Time in Alberta; Mary Oakwell
- Coheso: Lollicup Boba Milk Tea
- American Heart Association: Knowing Your Fats
- American Heart Association: Added Sugars
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Tapioca, Pearl, Dry
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron