You can’t walk a block in any major Australian city without running into a bubble tea bar. What started as a niche Chinatown beverage is now a nationwide beverage phenomenon — but there’s one ingredient in bubble tea you really should think about avoiding: the bubbles.
Bubbles, pearls or boba are made from tapioca starch extracted from the cassava root. Seasonings, sugar, flavour and additives can be added to give them different colour and texture.
Pearls are particularly bad for you, as the main ingredient, tapioca starch, is almost entirely carbohydrates — just ¼ of a cup of pearls can add a whopping 135 calories to your daily intake and 33 grams of carbs!
Not to mention that the slightly sweet flavour they have is from being stored soaking in syrup, which adds to the extra calories.
As a one-off treat, a bubble tea can be nice and refreshing (and a little bit sweet), but if you’re watching your waistline you’re probably better off getting a cup of regular tea or a coffee to avoid the extra calories.