Does Boba Milk Tea Have Nutritional Value?

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.

Boba milk tea, also called bubble tea, can have a log of added sugar. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages)

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 Tea Nutrition

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce serving contains 120 calories and 2 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.

However, it does contain 250 grams of bone-building calcium, which is 25 percent of the 1,000 milligram recommended dietary allowance, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

High in Sugar

One major drawback of boba milk tea is the 20 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 is a more nutritious source of sugar.

Drinking tea is associated with a lower risk of heart disease due to it's antioxidant properities, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, the small amount of tea that boba milk tea provides probably isn't worth the calories and sugar it also contains.

Make it Healthier

There are a few ways you can improve your boba tea nutrition. For example, skipping the flavored syrup or using sugar-free flavoring will reduce the total calories and sugar content. Fresh milk options are healthier than non-dairy creamers that are sometimes used in these drinks. Drinking boba tea without the tapioca pearls or without the milk will also reduce the calories in this treat.

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