Boba tea, also known as bubble tea, started in Taiwan around the 1980s, but only became popular outside of Taiwan during the 2000s. A boba tea emoji was even added just this year to all platforms. However, many people are beginning to express concerns about the effects of boba tea on health, especially for certain varieties with added brown sugar. This is because boba tea is known for having high amounts of sugar used to sweeten the milk tea: one cup of boba tea easily contains about 20 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than twice the recommended daily intake for adults and three times more sugar than a regular can of soft drinks.
With that said, doesn’t it mean boba tea is simply unhealthy? Yes, but also no. Boba tea can be healthy if the amount of sugar in the milk tea is reduced to moderate levels, as that is the main source of sugar. Additionally, the traditional tapioca balls can be swapped for alternatives with fewer carbs, such as crystal boba, which are white pearls made from konjac rather than tapioca, so there are no carbs and very little calories in them. Lastly, boba tea should be drunk moderately as a treat rather than as a regular drink, so when consumed in moderation, it should pose no health problems.