Bubble Tea...health friend or foe?

Bubble tea always seems to attract the same initial reaction from those who have never experienced it. Here a typical dialogue between an experienced bubble tea drinker and a newbie.

Newbie: Uh, what exactly is a bubble tea? 
Expert: *Ahem* ..well it's a milk based or flavored, usually fruity, tea that contains tapioca balls--the "bubbles". 
Newbie: Okay well, what are tapioca balls?
Expert: They look like big, black, slimy fish eggs.
Newbie: Ew, no way are those going any where near my mouth. *Walks away*
The End.

I agree that tapioca balls are not overly attractive and, sadly, have no physical relation to the pudding. They are chewy and have no true flavor...are you drooling yet? The straws are extra wide in diameter to fit more balls per sip. If you want a laugh, witness a person's first bubble tea. The initial shock of someone sucking tea followed by these chewy, slimy tapioca pearls is priceless.

I am Team Bubble Tea. My friends and I get it all the time. With that being said--I don't wanna kill your bubbly high and turn into Healthy Helga (but I will), but I was curious on how healthy bubble tea really was. I mean, tea is calorie-free and how bad can fish eggs be? I was sad about my findings.

My bubble tea of choice? Pineapple or apple green tea with tapioca balls. I don't get a milk based tea, but if ordered the milk (or non-dairy creamer) is usually not low in fat or calories. Then if you choose a fun flavoring (pineapple!) they are way high sugar content. Now the most depressing part: the "bubbles" are pure starch, they are made from cassava roots (looked that one up). Maybe their starchiness was common knowledge but for some reason I thought these balls would be made of some magical, low-calorie ingredient.  Tapioca pearls can have over 200 calories per serving (yikes!), and the tea houses I've been to are not light on the balls. They are actually pretty generous with their balls, so beware. So what was once thought of as an innocent, fun loving tea (see picture above) can rack up to over 500 calories depending on size, flavoring, and ball count.

Sigh. So another disappointing experience where something so delicious isn't so healthy. To have your tea and drink it, too?, opt out of the tapioca pearls. If you really can't part from them (and who wants ball-less tea?), then resist adding a sugar flavoring and keep it plain and simple...or just decrease your size from a medium to a small. Too attached and can't make any modifications to your bubble tea order? Well, just like everything else that isn't technically good for you, it's okay in moderation. You may not get a full serving of fruit (sorry V8), but I don't see an issue with an occasional bubble tea, I actually support it. Go balls out (or in?). 



Eat Simply. Live Healthy. Copyright © 2011 -- Template created by O Pregador -- Powered by Blogger