APIOPA campaign materials expose high sugar content in boba milk tea.
By Stephenie Overman
The Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA) has launched the “Rethink Your Asian Drink” campaign to warn about the health dangers of boba milk tea, also known as bubble tea.
“This campaign focuses on increasing knowledge of just what ingredients (especially sugar) are in boba and other Asian drinks commonly found in Asian market aisles,” according to the campaign’s website. “As pre-diabetes and diabetes rates skyrocket in API communities, we need to take a look at what’s part of the problem. Sugar intake problems are coming from more than mainstream sodas and drinks. This is an effort to learn more about what’s in our cultural drinks.”
A 12-ounce serving of boba can contain about 90 g of sugar, 7 g of fat and 490 calories, according to the campaign. Some flavored boba milk tea contain sugary syrups, which can contain an even higher amount of sugar than the plain version.
“You don’t want that much sugar in your body every single day. It has a lot of different impacts on your health,” APIOPA program manager Scott Chan told ABC7 Los Angeles.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars consumed to no more than half of an individual’s daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than about 24 g of sugar. For men, it’s about 37.5 g of sugar.
Healthy to a point; boba tea’s beneficial vitamin and mineral content is overshadowed by its high sugar ratio.
The main ingredients of boba tea are milk, tea, tapioca pearls and usually a large dose of added sugar, ABC7 noted. And “while the tapioca pearls in the drink contain vitamins, minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium that are all good for the body, the sugar content alone should make boba drinkers reconsider keeping the beverage in their diet.”
The “Rethink Your Asian Drink” campaign recommended asking that the drink be made with less sugar and finding healthier alternatives.
Sources: Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance’s Rethink Your Asian Drink Campaign; ABC7 Los Angeles; American Heart Association