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What Is the Nutritional Value of Boba?

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What Is the Nutritional Value of Boba?
A close-up on the bottom of a glass of cold pink boba tea next to colorful straws on a tablecloth. Photo Credit Andrea Skjold/iStock/Getty Images

Neutral in flavor, bobas are the round black pearls sitting on the bottom of your cup of bubble tea, a cold and frothy milk-based tea from Taiwan. Made from tapioca, these chewy treats are a source of calories and carbohydrates but offer very little nutritional value. Knowing what they provide nutrition-wise may make you consider leaving these marble-sized balls at the bottom of your cup instead of sucking them up through your bubble straw.

Calories Add Up

With only 68 calories per serving, bobas may seem like a low-calorie option. But with a serving size of only 1 ounce, or 30 grams, bobas are a calorie-dense food with 2.3 calories per gram, which means they have a lot of calories compared to serving size and may not be that filling. Plus, when you put them in a calorie-containing drink like bubble tea, the calories add up. One bubble tea with milk has about 230 calories, and more than 300 calories when you add 2 to 3 ounces of bobas.

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All Carbs

All the calories in bobas come from carbohydrates. A 1-ounce serving contains 17 grams of carbohydrates and 0 gram of fat or protein. Carbohydrates are an important nutrient in your diet, providing your body with energy, and should make up most of the calories in your diet. For comparison, the 1-ounce serving of bobas has about the same amount of carbs as one slice of whole-wheat bread, 1/2 cup of oatmeal or a small piece of fruit. These foods contain health-promoting fiber, which bobas do not.

Source of Sodium

Bobas are considered a very low-sodium food, with 24 milligrams of sodium per 1-ounce serving. Most Americans get too much sodium in their diet, according to the American Heart Association. High intake of sodium increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Paying attention to the amount of sodium in your food and eating less may reduce your risk of heart and kidney disease. The AHA recommends you limit overall sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day.

Hardly Any Vitamins or Minerals

Bobas are not a significant source of any vitamin or mineral. However, a 1-ounce serving meets 1 percent of the daily value for calcium, or 10 milligrams. Teens, women and the elderly are at risk of not getting enough calcium in their diets, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Calcium is important for bone health and strength. Although bobas are not a significant source of calcium, adding them to your milk-based bubble tea may up your overall intake.

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author image Jill Corleone
Based in Hawaii, Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 10 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
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